Leave to media and modern medicine to complicate something as simple as drinking water.
Getting enough fluids is always in the news this time of year…as it should be. It is true that mild dehydration can sneak up on you, especially in hot humid weather. It is true that you need to hydrate when you are active. The elderly and small children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of inadequate hydration and heat injury. And it is also true that everybody else really does need to drink enough fluids to be healthy.
NO that ice cold beer doesn’t totally count (alcohol is diuretic so you get rid of it as fast as it can do anything for you) and NO it is not an excuse to suck down sugary sodas and YES some caffeine is OK, though too much might be counter productive like the alcohol…so take it easy with the iced double-shot espresso, will you?
But why make a fuss about the obvious? A nice cool drink is pretty darn nice and refreshing in this weather, anyway, so no problem, right?
Oh no…we can’t make it THAT easy for you. Now there has to be a big discussion about how MUCH to drink per day. Some experts, like Mayoclinic.com say from 8 (minimum) to 9 (for women) to 13 (for men) 8 oz cups of non-dairy, non-caffeine fluid per day. Others (lifehacker.com) use a more customized rule of thumb, your weight in pounds divided by 2 = the number of oz per day you should drink.
Either way, I’ll be darned if I’m counting ounces and stressing over something as simple as this. Life is too short for obsessiveness. There has to be an easier way to be healthy than western-style number crunching.
First, what real life American adult uses 8 oz cups? That’s about the size of the kid’s cups at your local Pieces O’Flair restaurant. Most of us have 10 to 16 oz beverages with our meals anyway. Have a pint of something with meals and you are already 48 oz to the good. NO – I already told you no soda! Got the mid-afternoon blahs? Instead of an energy shot or a sugared snack have a big mug of green tea. . It’s a little filling, has antioxidants and gives you a little lift to get you through the afternoon. Ta-Dah! – 56 oz. If you are an 112 pound female, you’re done. If it’s hot weather, you’re active, or bigger than a supermodel, you might want so squeek in more water between meals. Or walk around the gym sipping from your stylish squeeze bottle.
Pint of something with meals…check. Substitute fluids for snacks (or at least have fluids WITH your snacks) … check. Gym-chic water bottle…check. Easy. There you have a minimum intake foundation. From there listen to own smart self to customize the rest.
Drink if you are thirsty. Beyond that, the best solution is probably the oldest (and arguably grossest) adage in the hydration business: Drink until you pee clear.
Unless you drink some ridiculous radio-contest large amount of water all in one go, or you have kidney disease, your kidneys will adjust your fluid amounts for you. Automatically. You don’t have to think about a single, solitary ounce. If you are on the dry side, your kidneys hold on to whatever water you already have on board resulting in urine that is more concentrated and darker. Long story short, running low on water does not make kidneys happy. Dark urine on an ongoing basis is bad juju.
If you drink plenty, your kidneys will happily send you to the restroom with the extra. Extra that comes out as nice, healthy clear to very pale pee-pee. (Say THAT five times fast).
See? Drinking water really is as easy as you thought it was.