Importance of Hydration
Many of us fondly remember those traditional fall images; school starting, turning leaves, and cooler weather. The reality is we are living in Florida, and during September, our temperatures remain an average of 89 degrees, and relative humidity between 87-99%.
Keeping hydrated is critical to good health, and drinking water every day is important. Drinking water can help prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, and cause your body to overheat. Often older adults do not consume enough water and may experience diminished thirst or are concerned about having to use the bathroom more frequently.
Water is necessary for nearly every body function, from lubricating joints to regulating body temperature and pumping blood to the muscles. You need more water when you are more physically active, feeling feverish, or in hot climates (did we mention we live in Florida!).
Our friend Emily Grant, Food System Specialist at the UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program, offers great suggestions for getting more water based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
- Carry a water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day.
- Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
- Choose water over sugary drinks.
- Choose water when eating out. You’ll save money and reduce calories.
- Serve water during meals.
- Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water. This can help improve the taste and help you drink more water than you usually do.
The USDA SNAP-Ed program offers these suggestions to help you drink more water:
Infuse Water on the Go — Making flavor-infused ice cubes ahead of time gives you a quick option for flavoring water at home or on the go. For fruit-infused ice cubes, start with an empty ice cube tray and fill halfway with water. Add some thinly sliced fruit and fill any remaining space with water. When frozen, these flavored cures will keep for several months. Be creative and combine flavors.
Flavored Water Ideas — Try any of the following fruits or herbs for flavoring water and adding some extra nutrition: Apples, basil, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cinnamon sticks, cucumber, Grapes, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime, Mango, Orange, Papaya, Peach, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, rosemary, sage, vanilla bean.
Here are some links to other nutrition resources:
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