Most of us think about drinking more water when the weather turns hot or after doing physical activity. But no matter the weather or daily activities, keeping up with your fluid intake is important, especially when you have diabetes. Read on to learn why!
You’ve probably heard at some point that the human body is about 60% water. That seems a little strange, since we think of the body as consisting of bones, muscles, tissues, and blood. But a deeper dive into the inner workings of the body reveals some surprising facts, according to the Journal of Biological Chemistry:
Water is so essential to life that we can’t live more than a few days without it.
Why so much water, you might ask? Well, here’s what it does for us, other than quenching thirst:
Water even makes you a healthier eater, according to a study published in 2016 in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. How so? The people in this study (more than 18,300) who drank one percent more water a day ate fewer calories, and consumer less sodium, sugar, and saturated fat. And fewer calories can mean weight loss. In fact, drinking water before a meal has been shown to help with weight loss.
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When it comes to diabetes, water helps in a few important ways:
If you have prediabetes or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, think about reaching for another glass of water. According to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2011, more than 3,000 healthy men and women without diabetes were tracked for almost a decade. After nine years, 800 developed type 2 diabetes. But those who drank between 17 and 34 ounces of water daily had a 30% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who drank the least amount.
Determining water or fluid needs is a little bit tricky because there are a number of factors that through a curveball into the mix. Exercise level, climate, health conditions, and pregnancy are reasons why you may need more (or less) water than others. But, to give you a reasonable ballpark of what you need, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine defines an adequate daily fluid intake as:
It’s always best to check with your healthcare provider about your own fluid needs. You may need less fluid if you have, say, congestive heart failure or kidney disease. You might need more fluids at certain times, too, such as if you are ill or have a fever.
Water is mostly tasteless, as well as colorless and free of calories and carbs; as long as it’s clean and free of contaminants, it’s pretty much your best bet when it comes to diabetes. But a lot of people find water to be boring (it has no taste!) or simply dislike it. How else, then, can you stay hydrated? Fortunately, there are a decent number of options.
Make it taste better by infusing it with slices of citrus fruits or cucumbers, or berries, pineapples, watermelon, or peaches, for example. You can even infuse with herbs — try basil, mint, lemon thyme, or dill.
Sparkling or seltzer water may be more appealing to you, and you can buy flavored seltzer water that has zero calories. Consider carbonating your own water with a SodaStream.
If caffeine is a concern, go the decaf route. Also, many herbal teas are caffeine-free.
Juice is loaded with calories and carbs, but a small amount (i.e., 1/8th of a cup) adds only about 4 grams of carb and can make your water tasty.
Cucumbers, lettuce, celery, radishes, tomatoes, and bell peppers are about 95% water. Watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, and blackberries are fruits that are high in water, and fairly low in carbs, too.
Want to learn more about staying hydrated? See “Best Beverages for Staying Hydrated,” “Water Facts: Getting to Know H20,” and “What’s to Drink?”
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