Judy Scott Welden is a consumer advocate, nutritionist, and media spokesperson. She is passionate about bringing nutritious foods to Canadian families and we're happy to have her unique perspective in her upcoming series of posts at chickenfeeds.ca. Water is essential to the body, making up about 60% of an adult’s body weight (and an even higher percentage in children). Water plays an essential role moving nutrients through our body, helping to maintain normal blood pressure and serving as a lubricant and cushion around joints and in our eyes. Water is key to regulating body temperature through perspiration and also helps prevent constipation by helping move digested food through the intestinal tract. The amount of water our bodies need depends on age, gender, level of physical activity and even the weather. For optimal health it’s important to drink up, increasing your water consumption with your physical activity and on hot days. Don’t despair if water isn’t your favourite thirst quencher. Our daily water intake doesn’t just come from the water we drink. Other fluids such as milk, juice, coffee, tea and soups also contribute significantly to our daily total – and nearly all foods contain some water. Most fruits and vegetables are about 90% water and many meats and cheeses contain at least 50% water. Helpful hints:
- Aim for 6-8 cups of water every day and drink more when you’re active and especially during hot weather.
- Make water your constant companion – carry a bottle with you at work or school or whenever you leave the house.
- Start your meal with a broth-based soup, like chicken noodle. It not only contributes to hydration but as an added bonus may make you feel fuller, preventing overeating and weight gain. Homemade soups are your best bet as you can limit the amount of salt.
- Limit fruit juices. Although a good source of fluid and nutrients, even 100% fruit juice contains high amounts of natural sugars and it’s easy to drink a lot of extra calories.
- Listen to your thirst cues – but keep in mind if you’re feeling thirsty you’re already dehydrated. Try to increase your water intake so you don’t get to that stage.