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By: Margerry Yuhico

Hate lugging a frozen bottle to work, school, the gym, or the beach? Is it leaving annoying wet spots in your car, on you desk, making it look like someone had an accident on your gym clothes and bag? Stop the H-2-Overload!

According to a study from the Institute of Medicine people are already well hydrated. Women consume on average 91 ounces of water and men 125 ounces. That’s over the daily requirement of eight glasses. And 80% of that doesn’t come from just water, but from other foods and drinks.

Dr. Lawrence Appel of John Hopkins University and head of the expert research panel said that people can get water from fruits, vegetables, juice, milk, tea, coffee, and even soda! In general people are getting adequate amounts of water just by letting their thirst guide them during meals and social events.

But how can you tell you’re getting enough water?

That’s simple. If you’re thirsty, drink more! The same rule applies if your skin is shriveled, if you are prone to muscle cramps or chronically constipated.

And for anyone looking to lose a couple of pounds this summer, drinking more water helps curb runaway obesity. All good weight-loss programs recommend drinking a glass of water before every meal. It fills you up and improves digestion.
But too much of a good thing is bad. Drinking too much water without replacing salt lost through sweat can cause serious health problems including abnormal hearth rhythms.

Today more than three-fourths of the salt in our diets come from prepared and processed convenience foods, vending machine snacks and restaurant meals.

According to the panel, we’re consuming too much salt, three times the amount needed. On average, men drink 7.8 to 11.8 grams of salt each day and women drink 5.8 to 7.8 grams. Both not including salt added at the table.

So how much is healthy?

Just enough to replace what is lost in sweat according to the panel, 3.8 grams, about two-thirds of a teaspoon daily for adults 19-50. The upper limit is set at a little over a teaspoon, 5.8 grams. Over consumption leads to high-blood pressure causing strokes, heart attacks, and kidney disease. According to the panel, blood pressure rises in direct relationship to the amount of salt consumed.

There is already enough salt in foods and beverages to meet our body’s needs. Only people who labor and exercise for long periods in hot weather need more.

More bad news. We consume too little potassium-rich foods to counter salt’s effects. Acting as an electrolyte it maintains water balance and distribution, keeping your body from becoming too acidic.

Potassium deficiency can result in weakness, fatigue, confusion, heart irregularities and sometimes problems in muscular coordination. The recommended daily consumption is set at 4.7 grams for adults. But we only consume under half this amount.

The best sources of potassium on a per calorie basis, are: spinach, cantaloupe, almonds, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, bananas, oranges and orange juice, grapefruits and potatoes. Other good sources include: dried fruits, peanut butter, bran, meats, dried beans, peas, coffee, tea and cocoa. And if you can handle the sugar, sports drinks.

For more information on dehydration, sodium and foods high in potassium visit:

0 0 220 01 September, 2004 Health, Lifestyle, News September 1, 2004

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