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Student Blog

Hydration: A Vital Part of Daily Life


What comes to mind when you think of the word hydration? Typically, you could think of items such as water or carbonated beverages. Hydration is fuel for the body in the same way that food is. Many of the body's functions require water intake to support daily life. It is vital to be aware of proper fluid intake.


Yet, there is not a single guide for every person. We are all different, which can cause information to slightly or majorly change from person to person. Still, the goal is to inform you about the changes your body goes through with or without proper water intake. Through this blog, you may learn something new about hydration. 


Water Metabolism

How does water enter and exit the body:

Naturally, water enters the body through the process of drinking water. Still, for the body to use the digested water, it must travel throughout the body to help the life cycle. When drinking water, the stomach is the first stop on the pathway. After reaching the stomach, the water heads into the small and large intestine to be absorbed. Finally, the excess fluid is absorbed by the bloodstream and filtered by the kidneys.[1]. Still, this only covers how water enters the body; we should be aware of how it exits. 


There are a few ways the body can get rid of the water you intake. To list a few, sweating, urine, and water vapors from the lungs are examples of how the body can get rid of water in the body in preparation for more water.[2]




Benefits and downsides of proper and improper water intake:

Of course, there are benefits to drinking water that people may not know about. The Mayo Clinic[3]and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[4]agree on the following list.

  • Removes the waste from the body through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
  • Keeps body temperature in check.
  • Protects sensitive tissues.
  • Lubricates and cushions joints.

However, with improper water intake, different functions of the body can suffer. As a result, dehydration could be a likely result, which can take a heavy toll on the body. Dehydration is when the body does not gain the required water intake to sustain bodily functions. Below are some symptoms that can happen when you are dehydrated[5]. While the list may be short, there can be many more health risks related to dehydration.  

  • Headaches.
  • Dizziness.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Decrease of urination.
  • Change in urine color (Dark yellow/amber).
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Dry mouth.

Water and water alternatives:

Water alternatives:

How many times can you recount in recent days that you have had an "alternative" to water? Items such as sugar-free flavored water, soda, and tea are some of the first to come to mind. Yet, there may still be more hidden from the eye when those items compare to bottled water or even water from the faucet of your home. With how easy it is to get your hands on many of these items, it becomes imperative that we need to be aware of our intake. In this context, intake refers to the contents within drinks that can be water alternatives. While advertised as such, they may not always contain what is best for your body.


Ideally, these are some of the items you would like to use in moderation[6]:

  • Sweetened Nut Based Milk
    • An issue people may overlook when it comes to nut-based milk is the difference between sweetened and unsweetened. With Sweetened nut-based milk, you have to deal with more sugar. Compared to animal or soy-based milk, it can hamper the nutrients, creating a less-than-healthy choice for a nut-based milk alternative.
  • Sports Drinks
    • An average person does not require sports drinks, and water is the right choice. It is due to the number of different things like sugars, sodium, potassium, and chloride. Sports drinks help replenish lost nutrients the body uses during intense physical activities. While being inactive, sports drinks can be attributed to an increase in calorie intake and may lead to nausea.
  • Fruit Juice
    • While fruit juice can be good, additives such as sugar and calories can overpower the natural nutrients, leading to health issues such as metabolic syndrome, liver injury, and obesity. Often, it is better to juice fruits at home, than buying juice from stores.

  • Coffee
    • Coffee alone is not the primary issue. It's what is included in coffee that can cause problems with one's health. The different variations of drinks like Frappuccino's can boast large amounts of sugar. The added sugars can lead to issues such as a sugar crash that may lead to fatigue throughout the day and increased caloric intake.



Still, be aware everything above is practical in moderation but should not be used to replace water. While it may not be water, it can be a healthy alternative to water. Most of which can support some of the vital health systems within the body. Still, water is the best method to keep the body at the most optimal state of hydration.  


Recommendations and Tips for water intake:

Recommendations for water intake:

Due to the differences in our lives, the needed water intake can change from person to person. Many factors can increase or decrease the overall need for water. For example, for those who live in climates hotter or colder, it can impact the overall need for water. Physical activities are another example of factors that may cause the body to require more water. Harvard School of Public Health outlines the recommended amount of water[7] people should drink per their age group. 


Tips to stay hydrated:

With that in mind, here are a few ways to work on proper fuel intake in your daily life. There can be a few ways to help build a cycle of hydration that can benefit the body. It can be a simple matter of adding another step to your morning or nightly routine. However, it will take some time to build these habits and discipline to reinforce them.


Here are a few tips and tricks from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln[8] and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[4] to get more water into your system. 

  • Drink water first thing in the morning.
  • Buy items that motivate you to drink water throughout the day(Water bottles with quotes for the day).
  • Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day.
  • Use alarms at points of the day as a reminder to drink water.
  • Pay attention to sensations such as thirst. 
  • Incorporate water into each of the meals of the day.
  • Set intake goals for the day.
  • Try adding a slice/s of lime or lemon to water to add taste.




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