Your mouth is dry. Your throat is parched. Maybe you lick your lips. Your body is telling you that you need to get some fluid in your system right away. If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already a little dehydrated.
“Thirst is a sign of mild dehydration,” says Jennifer Sundberg, a registered dietitian who works in public health at Alberta Health Services in Red Deer. “As a general rule, we need fluids before we’re thirsty.”
That’s because our bodies are made up of half to two-thirds water. And we are always using water. Just sitting on the couch and breathing uses some of the water sloshing around in our cells, tissues and organs.
To keep our bodies running well, adults need to take in 2.25 to 3 L (nine to 12 cups) of fluid every day. The bigger you are, the more you need.
What are the best liquids to drink?
- Unsweetened pop or sparkling water
- Unsweetened juice (no more than 125 ml per day)
- Low-fat milk
- Decaf tea and coffee, herbal teas
- Low-sodium broths.
Tips to stay hydrated:
- Drink a glass of water when you wake up
- Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day and sip often
- Drink a glass of water before each meal
- Drink water before, during and after being active.
Can you eat your way to hydration?
No, but most fruits and vegetables have high water content, as well as the fibre that your body needs every day. You could eat an orange, grapefruit or apple instead of having a glass of juice.
What about booze?
Drinking alcohol doesn’t count as part of the fluid you need to stay hydrated. If you do drink alcohol, Low Risk Drinking Guidelines suggest that you:
- Drink slowly and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks
- Have no more than two drinks in any three-hour period
- Go a day or two a week without alcohol
- Women have no more than 10 drinks a week with no more than two drinks a day, most days
- Men have no more than 15 drinks a week with no more than three drinks a day, most days.
Source: Alberta Health Services