HYDRATION Drinking water is so important for good health. When we were children we learnt that each molecule of water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. However we may not have learnt how much water we need in order for us to be a healthy human being. Why We Need to Drink Water? Our body is estimated to be about 60-70% water. Blood is mostly water, and your muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water. Our body needs water to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all our organs. Water also transports oxygen to cells, removes waste, and protects joints and organs. We lose water through urination, respiration, and by sweating. If you are very active, you lose more water than if you are sedentary. Diuretics such as caffeinated drinks and alcohol result in the need to drink more water because they trick your body into thinking you have more water than we need. Signs of Dehydration Symptoms of mild dehydration include chronic pains in joints and muscles, lower back pain, headaches and constipation. A strong odour to your urine, along with a yellow or amber colour indicates that you may not be getting enough water. Thirst is an also another obvious sign of dehydration and in fact, you need water long before you feel thirsty. How much water do you need to drink? A good estimate is to take your body weight in pounds (1kg = 2.2lbs) and divide that number in half. That gives you the number of ounces (1 Fluid ounce = 28ml) of water per day that you need to drink. For example, if you weigh 70kg/154lbs then you should drink at least 77 ounces/2156ml of water per day. If you exercise you should drink another eight ounce glass of water for every 20 minutes you are active. For example, if you complete 60 minutes of exercise per day then you should drink an additional 24 ounces/672ml of water per day. What else can affect your intake of water? If you drink alcohol and other caffeinated beverages, you should drink at least an equal amount of water. When you are travelling on an airplane, it is good to drink eight ounces/224ml of water for every hour you are on board the plane. If you in warmer climates, you should drink an additional 16 ounces/448 ml per day but this amount can vary dependent on weight and the dryness of the climate. Where should fluid intake come from? Twenty percent of our water need will come from the foods we eat, the rest of our water need should come from the beverages we drink. Herbal teas that aren’t diuretic are fine. Sports drinks contain electrolytes and may be beneficial. Juices are also a good source because they contain essential vitamins and nutrients.