By Teddy S. Manansala, RND, D/MENRM, MSc
High temperatures have been recorded across the country as the dry season continues amid COVID-19 pandemic. To keep everyone’s health and wellness in check, hydration cannot be ignored.
The Food and Nutrition Research Institute recommends six to eight glasses of water and other beverages per day. But this is just the minimum requirement.
The water requirement becomes higher when a person’s level of physical activity is increased, such as in the case of exercise or sports activities.
In addition, water and fluid intake must be increased with the continuing high heat index trend to prevent heat stroke and dehydration.
You don’t have to wait for that feeling of being thirsty before taking your fluids, because when you do, it means you are already dehydrated; it is the body’s signal to the brain that your cells are in need of water.
Take note that our body cells are composed of 70 percent water or more of its total mass. Within our cells, water functions in facilitating physiological and biochemical processes such as energy production, synthesis of hormones, waste elimination, blood pressure and heart rate regulation, body temperature or thermoregulation, and immune cells response, among many others.
Here are the 5 Cs to increase your water and fluid intake:
Choose fresh food high in moisture or water content. There are many locally available fresh produce from local farms and market such as watermelon, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, cucumber, celery, tomatoes, and coconut meat. They are also high sources of dietary fiber that helps flush out toxins from the body.
Create soupy dishes. In meal planning and preparation, always include at least an item with liquid or stock such as soup, stew, noodle dish, soupy vegetables, and seafood. You may include simmered, boiled, or braised meats. Make it even more nutritious by adding economical indigenous ingredients such as malunggay leaves, sili, camote tops, squash, amaranth, and fern.
Carry a reusable water tumbler with you. Having a personal water tumbler will aid you in keeping track of your daily water intake. In addition, drinking from a reusable tumbler helps lessen solid waste from single-use containers.
Chill with refreshing drinks. Tired of water? You can be creative with your beverages by making infused drinks and fruit shakes. Customize your infused drinks with citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, tangerine, lime, calamansi. Vegetables such as cucumbers and fresh herbs such as mint may be used. Meanwhile, fruit shakes can be a combination of seasonal fruits, low-fat milk or yogurt for increased good bacteria in the guts, and a bit of sugar.
Consume caffeinated drinks in moderation. Beverages with high caffeine content such as coffee and tea may be consumed in moderation. To make teas healthier, add a squeeze of lemon, lime, or calamansi. The vitamin C in the aforementioned fruits increases absorption rate of antioxidant catechins present in tea. Moreover, it’s better to use less or no sugar at all as both caffeine and simple sugars are dehydrating to the cells.
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