Does hydration have to come from water?

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Aug. 01, 2019

The most common advice for dehydration is to drink plenty of water.

Water is essential for all living things. Every cell, tissue, and organ depends on water for survival.

The human body is comprised of 60 percent water. It can only survive without water for about three days. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), a scientific agency of the federal government, a man requires a minimum of 3.2 quarts of water per day on average to survive. A woman needs about 2.3 quarts per day. The amount of fluid needed may vary, depending on exercise, temperatures, and a person’s overall health.

The quest to fulfill daily water requirements does not have to come from drinking water alone. According to the Harvard Medical School, all beverages containing water contribute toward a person’s daily water needs. Even caffeinated beverages and those containing alcohol, both known to have a dehydrating effect, can lead to a positive net contribution toward daily fluid consumption.

However, water is still the better choice for staying hydrated, the Harvard Medical School states. Sugary drinks can lead to weight gain, inflammation, and an increased risk for developing diabetes. Too much caffeine can cause anxiety, insomnia, and high blood pressure. And, alcohol intake should be limited to one drink per day for women, and one to two drinks per day for men.

Adding fresh fruit to water, such as lemons, limes, or strawberries, provides flavoring and added health benefits to plain water. Flavored and/or nutrient-added water drinks may contain vitamins, sodium, potassium, and amino acids.

Other sources of water

According to the Mayor Clinic, approximately 20 percent of a person’s daily fluid intake comes from food. Fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are almost 100 percent water by weight. Carrots and broccoli are nearly 90 percent water. Additionally, beverages such as milk, juice, and herbal teas are composed mostly of water.

To prevent dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It is calorie-free, inexpensive, and readily available.

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