Drinking Water is Beneficial to your Health – To Your Health Article by Lori Stambaugh, RN BSN, Community Educator

The month of July brings warmer temperatures, outdoor gatherings, sports, and lots of outdoor play time by the pool or lake. With all the time spent outdoors in the squelching heat, it’s important to remember to take precautions to prevent dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion or even worse, heat stroke.

Drinking water, and plenty of it, is the best way to keep yourself properly hydrated. Your body needs water in order to function properly. Water works in your body to help regulate body temperature, moisten tissues and membranes, lubricate joints, carry nutrients and oxygen to cells and keep your kidneys and liver healthy by helping to flush out waste products.  Every day we lose water through breathing, perspiration, and urine and bowel movements, which is why it is important to take in water throughout the day, especially in hot conditions when you are experiencing an increase in perspiration.

While there aren’t specific recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for the amount of daily water intake needed for adults, Mayo Clinic experts recommend a daily minimum water intake of 11.5 cups for women and 15.5 cups for men.  The CDC does recommend drinking plain water versus sugary beverages to maintain hydration. Sugary drinks contain extra calories that provide little nutrition and can lead to unwanted weight gain, as well as tooth decay.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), most Americans consume nearly 20 teaspoons of added sugars each day, which is more than triple the recommended daily limit for women (6 teaspoons) and double for men (9 teaspoons).  The AHA reports that sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and energy/sports drinks are the number one source of added sugars in our diet. People who consume sugary drinks regularly, one to two cans a day or more, have a 26% greater risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. When choosing a drink, be sure to pay attention to the ingredients list on the label.  Anything that lists ingredients such as corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, sucrose, or syrup is a sugary drink. Those are the things you want to stay away from.  Reading food labels is especially important when choosing fruit juices. Look for labels that say 100% juice with no added sugars.

Water is of course, the best choice to stay hydrated. If you don’t like water, try adding a slice of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon to spice it up. You could also add a splash of 100% fruit juice to your water.  Keep a refillable jug or water bottle with you throughout the day to promote water consumption.  Many businesses, schools, and churches have water bottle refill stations where you can refill your bottles throughout the day. Be on the lookout for these throughout the community.

The Paris and Henry County Healthcare Foundation was selected to receive a two year Project Diabetes Grant through the Tennessee Department of Health. With money from this grant, the City of Paris has been able to purchase two water bottle refill stations to be placed in our local parks. One is slated to be installed at the new splash pad that is under construction. In the next year, more water bottle refill stations will placed in our local parks, courtesy of the Project Diabetes Grant.  For more information about water consumption, the water bottle refill stations or the Project Diabetes Grant, contact the Henry County Medical Center Findline at 731-644-3463.