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July 15, 2014

Extension Update: Stay hydrated this summer

Live Oak —

By Cathy Rogers

Family and Consumer Sciences Agent II

UF/IFAS Extension Suwannee County

Water-It does a body good! In the middle of summer, with temps in the 80s and 90s, it is more important to stayed hydrated than at other times of the year. Water does more than cool the body - it IS the body! Did you know the human body is composed mostly (55-75 percent) of water? Water is a part of every organ in our body. It is inside and outside of all cells. Over half of the blood is plasma and 95 percent of plasma is water.

Water IS the most important nutrient.  It has no calories to give you energy but it makes you feel more energetic since your body will perform more efficiently with it. Without water none of the other nutrients can do their jobs. 

It is a medical fact that hydrated and well-nourished people are more resistant to illness and recover faster.  Drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day will reduce the risk of developing some types of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It also helps to keep us youthful!

Your body works very hard to maintain the proper level of water at all times.  Within a 24-hour period of time, almost the EXACT amount of water that is gained by the body in foods and drinks is the amount that will be lost by perspiration, urination, and respiration.   That’s why it is so important to drink water before, during and after you exercise especially on a particularly warm day. If you are properly hydrated, exercise will feel easier and more fun!

Dehydration is fairly common in older and younger people.  Both groups are less sensitive to the sense of thirst.  Even a 2 percent loss of body water can result in a 10 percent drop in physical and mental performance.  At that point you may not even be thirsty yet!  By the time you feel thirsty you have already lost enough water to reduce your concentration by 13 percent or more.  Swimming also reduces the thirst response. Mild dehydration is a risk factor for dental disease due to decreased saliva which neutralizes the acid created by the bacteria that cause decay.

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