The CDC has a new slogan - "Rethink Your Drink". Why, because the U.S.ranks number one in the consumption of soft drinks. Also, a recent survey revealed that 1 in 10 Americans don't even drink water anymore at all. That's what brings Dr. Tedd Mitchell into our homes this time. He is the President of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center but right now, he's making a house call. This is the president's prescription.
Adequate water is necessary in every living cell to regulate chemical reactions. Water helps the body break down and absorb nutrients from foods. It cushions tissues, lubricates joints and transports waste products to the kidneys, where they're eliminated in urine.
In some people, simply drinking more water ends constipation. Unfortunately, many of us don't get enough water. By the time you feel thirsty, you're already in water deficit. How much water we need is determined by how much we lose through urine, perspiration and respiration. Generally, people should drink at least 6 to 8 cups of water daily.
Your need increases if you sweat more, spend more time outdoors or exercise. Some studies show athletes can lose up to 8 pounds of sweat in an hour! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking just over 2 cups of water two hours before a prolonged bout of outdoor exercise.
Pay attention to your body. As you become dehydrated, your kidneys reabsorb as much water as possible, which concentrates the urine, darkening it. If you're adequately hydrated, the kidneys don't concentrate the urine as much, so it remains diluted and clear. When my patients ask me whether they need to drink more water, I just tell them to look at their urine. If it's diluted, their body is happy. If it is concentrated, their body wants more water.
Many people think tea, coffee and caffeinated colas are as good as water. Not so! Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it decreases the kidneys' capacity to concentrate urine. Consequently, they lead to dehydration, in spite of urine that appears diluted. So, if you drink caffeine, limit it to two servings a day. For the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, I'm Dr. Tedd Mitchell, and this is the President's Prescription.
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