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The Importance of Staying Hydrated

By Greg Zacarese

Our body needs water to survive. All of the cells, tissues, and organs in our bodies need water to function properly. We need water to maintain our body temperature, remove waste, and lubricate our joints. Because our body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it is important that we drink water every day to maintain hydration. Most people can stay hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses (8 oz. each) of water each day. The best way to tell if you are not getting enough water is to look at the color of your urine. A pale yellow indicates that the body is well hydrated. A dark yellow or amber color can indicate dehydration.

Water is the best drink for staying hydrated. Limit beverages such as sodas and fruit juices due to their high amounts of sugar. The American Diabetes Association states that “drinking one or two sugary drinks a day increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26 percent.” Their recommendation about sugary beverages is to avoid them completely if you have diabetes. Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea can be consumed in moderation; however caffeine may cause more frequent urination, eventually leading to dehydration.

Common signs of dehydration include:

  • little or no urine production
  • dark yellow/amber urine
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue
  • thirst
  • headache
  • confusion

Ways to prevent dehydration:

  • Always keep a bottle of water with you to drink during the day
  • If you enjoy drinking water with flavor, add lemon or fresh fruit
  • Drink water before and after a workout
  • If you ate recently and still feel hungry, try drinking water before eating again. Thirst is often confused with hunger.

For more information:

Greg Zacarese is a Dietetic Intern with the University of SODEXO with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program


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