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Human body requires proper hydration

By JULENE REESE
USU Extension writer

The average human body contains between 45 percent and 75 percent water. Every cell, tissue and organ needs water to function properly.

Water also regulates body temperature, transports nutrients and oxygen to cells and carries away waste, explained Katie Kirkpatrick, Utah State University Extension consumer sciences agent.

Water is the primary ingredient of all bodily fluids, including blood, saliva, gastric juices and urine.

Typical daily water output is between eight and 10 cups, noted Kirkpatrick.

Approximately three-fourths of the output is lost in urine. The remainder is lost through sweat, feces and as tiny particles in exhaled air, continued the USU Extension consumer sciences agent.

Strenuous physical activity, especially on a hot humid day, will considerably increase the amount of water lost.

Lost water weight triggers the thirst sensation; however, many Americans still do not manage to intake sufficient amounts of water.

Failure to quench thirst increases the level of dehydration, thus leading to fatigue, headache, dizziness and weakness, warned Kirkpatrick.

Dehydration is also named as a contributor to memory loss and irritability.

It is important for people to learn strategies to maintain water balance and increase water intake.

The USU Extension consumer sciences agent encouraged Carbon County residents consider the following information.

•Individual water needs depend on many factors, including age, body size, lifestyle and overall health.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume at least 13 cups of fluid per day and women at least nine cups, pointed out Kirkpatrick. A typical glass holds between eight and 12 fluid ounces.

•While milk and water are the healthiest liquid options to hydrate the body, all beverages can count toward the Institute of Medicine's recommended daily intake.

Many foods contain water and can also be counted toward total fluid intake.

For example, fruits, vegetables, cooked meats, pasta, rice and beans all contain significant amounts of water.

However, accurately calculating actual water intake from food can be difficult.

Fortunately, the body provides ways to indicate levels of hydration, pointed out Kirkpatrick.

The easiest way to monitor hydration levels is to check urine.

Dark colored urine means people are not drinking enough water. Pale or colorless urine signals adequate hydration.

Water intake and output should be more carefully monitored in infants, young children, older adults, athletes, pregnant and breastfeeding women, individuals who are sick and people who undergo strenuous work or exercise, concluded the USU Extension consumer sciences agent.




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