The Basics of Hydration: What, When and How Much

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Photo by Johnny McClung via
Photo by Johnny McClung via

One of the most basic ways to care for our health is to stay well hydrated. It is easy to remember to drink when we are sweating in the heat and humidity, but good hydration is just as important when we spend the day sitting at a computer.

Here are a few of the MANY reasons to keep up with hydration:

(Harvard School of Public Health)

To regulate body temperature

To keep joints lubricated

To prevent infections

To carry nutrients to the cells throughout the body

To keep organs functioning properly

To improve sleep quality and mood

To help with “cognition” (the ability to think, learn, problem – solve and remember)

WHAT to Drink

Water is the beverage of choice when it comes to healthy hydration. Sugary drinks such as juice, soda, sports beverages, fruit punch, sweet tea, lemonade and chocolate milk are liquid treats. It is fine to enjoy a sugary drink now and then but for daily hydration, we need water.

The sugar free flavor packets for water are NOT a good idea for two reasons:

  1. They contain acids that are harmful to the enamel of teeth.

  2. Certain artificial sweeteners may harm the so - called “good bacteria” in our gut. Current research aims to figure out just what this means to our overall health.

WHEN to Drink

NOW is the time to drink. Thirst is the result of going too long without drinking. Keep water close by at all times for convenient sipping throughout the day. Mealtime is another great opportunity to hydrate with water.

During this time of virtual learning, keeping water close by presents a potential challenge, since spilled water is NOT ok when it comes to computer key boards. Make certain that your child has a spill – proof reusable water bottle or a cup with a lid.

HOW MUCH to Drink

An easy self- test for hydration is to look at the urine. Clear or very pale yellow urine means we are drinking enough water, but a darker yellow color is a good reminder to drink MORE water.

Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements

Written by Jenny Favret, MS, RD, LDN

Nutritionist, Duke Pediatrics Healthy Lifestyles Program

Check out Jenny's bio here!

12 views0 comments