Hydration Nation

“According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.”

Shanghai is starting the sweaty season and that should remind us all to drink,not that people in Shanghai need a reason to drink..but I am going to be specific here and talk about hydration for health.

There are some “experts” who reckon most people are walking around mildly dehydrated and I am inclined to agree.  I counsel people weekly and I would say only about one out of three  are drinking enough fluid for their daily needs, not counting the extra drops you need with a daily workout or even just walking around on a steamy Shanghai summer day.

You should be well-hydrated all year but summertime heat is added stress that underlines the need for fluids. But is it just water you need and how much do we really need to drink to keep our body and our minds running cool?  Like most things in life…how much water we need depends on us. Are you an athlete, are you a grandma, are you a teen playing a sport or a toddler running around out doors? There have been all kinds of “rules” suggested like drinking 8 glasses of water a day or my favorite, have 1.5- 2.o liters per day, neither of these suggestions are bad, in fact these guidelines will cover most people but they not based on any scientific study.

The best guideline I have read recently and the one that makes the most biological sense is to drink enough so you have to go to the bathroom every 2-4 hours and check that your urine is a pale color. Urine color is the best indication of hydration, the paler the better!  Now aren’t you glad you read this!

If you are not a fan of water do not despair, you can hydrate yourself with almost any liquid from soup to sauce to juice and most foods, think juicy watermelon and oranges, lychees and pears. Don’t forget the wonderful hydration properties of cucumbers, they are not just for swollen eyes!  For kids, this summer get them in the kitchen making popsicles. Any of their favorite liquids will work.

So drink up Shanghai and have a cool summer!

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!