Why is hydration important?
Did you know that regularly drinking water supports healthy digestion, improves brain function, helps prevent headaches, and increases energy? Hydration is one of the foundations to staying healthy, but can often be forgotten about. It is important to keep yourself properly hydrated even before signs of dehydration begin to appear.
Since every body is unique, everyone needs a different amount of water per day. The amount of water you need is based on many factors including your sex, height, weight and activity level.
The color of your urine can help you determine your hydration level. If your urine is very light yellow (like lemonade) and has little odor, you’re well hydrated. The darker and more aromatic your urine, the more dehydrated you are.
What can happen if you are dehydrated?
Dehydration occurs when your body does not have enough water to maintain its usual functions. This happens when your water intake is not enough to replace your water loss. Excessive sweating, intense breathing due to vigorous activities, and hot weather can cause dehydration. Other common causes include vomiting, diarrhea, and fevers.
Mild or moderate dehydration can lead to:
- a dry or sticky mouth or tongue
- dark-colored urine or decreased urination
- dizziness, nausea, headaches
- dry skin, including chapped lips
- sleepiness or tiredness
Severe dehydration can lead to:
- inability to sweat or produce tears
- extreme thirst
- little to no urine production
- rapid heartbeat or low blood pressure
Tasty Hydration Hacks
Carrying a reusable water bottle and refilling it often is an easy way to stay hydrated. However, drinking water is not the only way to stay hydrated. Here are five hacks to make staying hydrated fun and tasty:
- Freeze It
- Who doesn’t love ice pops? Blend or juice hydrating foods like watermelon, lemons, blueberries and raspberries. Fill a solo cup and freeze for about an hour. You can even add coconut water for an added boost of electrolytes and honey for a touch of sweetness.
- Infuse It
- A great alternative to sugary sweetened beverages is infused water. You can infuse your water with your favorite fruits and vegetables like strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers and even herbs like mint. This will make your water tastier and add nutrients and electrolytes. Slice your fruit, vegetable or herbs of choice, add it to a jug of water, let it sit overnight, and it’s ready to go!
- Brew It
- Brew yourself a cup tea. Good options include chamomile, peppermint or green tea. If hot tea and hot weather don’t sound good together, cool them in the fridge for a refreshing iced tea. There is no limit to the varieties you can drink, but keep in mind that some highly caffeinated teas are actually dehydrating. Mix them up so that you’re never bored with the taste!
- Blend It
- Make a smoothie with high water content fruits and vegetables including strawberries, oranges, peaches, pineapples, plums, raspberries, spinach, zucchini and watermelon. To increase your water consumption even more, try adding just water or coconut water instead of milk. Coconut contains electrolytes that work to restore our fluid balance.
- Eat it
- Satisfy your thirst by snacking on water-packed fruits and vegetables throughout the day. For breakfast, try fruit and oatmeal. When you make a bowl of oatmeal, the oats soak up the water or milk that you use to cook it, creating a hydrating breakfast option. For lunch or dinner, try adding a side salad made with spinach, cucumbers and tomatoes, which are all at least 90 percent water.
- Find a hydration station on-campus using the H2O Station Map
- CDC Water and Nutrition (https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html)
- Get the Facts: Drinking Water & Intake (https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/plain-water-the-healthier-choice.html)
- Harvard- The Nutrition Source (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/)
For more information about this campaign or if you’re interested in using the campaign materials, please contact Shantille Connolly at firstname.lastname@example.org.