Why is it important to drink water? Is it true that we need eight glasses of water a day? Actually, our bodies do need water in order to function properly. Water helps transport nutrients, regulates our temperature, and aids in digestion, to name a few. Water helps maintain a balance of fluids. Our bodies are about 60 percent water so we need to drink water to replace water that is lost each day.
Drinking water can help us maintain a healthy weight. Often we are really thirsty when we might think we are hungry. Water can alleviate thirst without adding unwanted and unnecessary extra calories. Water is the best choice for quenching thirst and should be our first choice. Drinking sugar sweetened fruit drinks, fruit juices, soft drinks and even sports drinks often make you thirstier! Try water next time you are really thirsty and experience the difference cool, refreshing water can make.
Water helps energize muscles and is very important when exercising or being active outdoors. Particularly in the warmer months of summer we need to be aware of our need to drink water and to provide it to children. Families spend more time outside during the warm summer months and may be more physically active. Don’t forget to bring along water for everyone. Water bottles are becoming more common and even young children enjoy having their own personal water bottles. This is a healthy choice and an economical one as personal water bottles can be refilled as needed and carried easily.
Offering children water helps them develop a taste for water and is a healthy choice. Food and drink preferences develop early so offering water to children is a great way to promote and establish healthy habits. Drinking water helps kidney function and in general contributes to our health.
What are some easy ways to encourage children to drink water? One important way is to be a role model and drink water yourself. In addition to drinking water at mealtimes, provide water bottles for everyone when on an outing, on trips, or in the car. Water is easy to transport and having it readily available makes it convenient for children to make a healthy choice. For special meals or festive occasions and events, provide fruit or vegetable infused water. Lemon, lime, strawberries, cucumbers, and mint are just a few natural ingredients that can be added to water for a nice touch to make water more appealing.
For more ideas, plan to attend a Healthy Futures workshop on Saturday, July 8. Allison Nelson from Mecklenburg County Public Health will be a guest speaker and will share information on I Heart Water, a new county wide initiative. We will also discuss menu planning and will preview the new workshop “Healthy Futures Starting at Home.” Click here to see more! Hope to see you there!