What is the most essential nutrient do we need in order for us to
actively participates in chemical reactions; lubricates and cushions joints, eyes, spinal
cord; aids in body-temperature maintenance and serves as the solvent for many small
If you guessed water, you're 100 percent correct! Many of us think
water is just to quench thirst, but in reality it is the most important nutrient in our
You know those summer days when the sweat just pours off, even when
you're only lounging in the shade -- not to speak of mowing the lawn, playing tennis or
chasing after the kids. In the summer, when our bodies lose additional fluid due to
increased sweat, it becomes more important than ever to make sure to drink the right type
and amount of fluid to stay healthy.
Amount of Fluid Needed Each Day
If you are one of the many people who find it hard to drink the recommended six to eight
glasses of water a day, don't lose hope. Most fruits and vegetables contain up to 95
percent water, and many meats and cheeses contain at least 50 percent. A key point is NOT
to wait until you're thirsty. If you're thirsty, it means your body has already lost more
water than it should have, and it's urging you to fill up the tank.
An easy way to check your fluid status is to look at the color of
your urine. It should be a very pale yellow. If it's a dark yellow, it means that you're
not drinking enough.
Type of Fluid Needed
Water -- First and foremost, our bodies need water. Juice and milk have a high
percentage of water, but they also contain calories. If you're watching your weight, drink
water. Avoid caffeinated beverages such as most sodas and regular coffee, as caffeine
actually causes the body to lose water. The same goes for alcohol.
If you exercise during hot weather, you may prefer a sports drink.
Sports drinks contain electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which are lost in sweat.
The salt also makes us thirsty, causing us to drink even more. Juice and soda aren't
absorbed as easily during exercise, so save them for before or after your activity.
Note for Children
Kids dehydrate more readily than adults. They don't often notice that they are thirsty,
and they are usually very active. Encourage them to drink water at least every hour while
they are outside. My boys love carrying a brightly colored sports bottle with them and
have reached the point where they actually ask for it if I forget.
Drinking plain water to quench thirst is an excellent habit for our
children to learn. Active children can also choose sports drinks, juice or milk. The key
is to keep them drinking.