If you were expecting some inspired words about Noah and the Flood, I am sorry that is not the topic for this time. Psalm 42:1 leads into my thoughts somewhat more directly: “As the deer pants for flowing streams . . . “

In the midst of summer, with heat and humidity creating “heat advisory” status, it is important to pay attention to the amount of water that we drink in any given day. Hydration is important because the body is comprised mostly of water. The proper balance between water and the chemistry of our blood (mainly sodium and potassium) determines how all systems of our bodies function. Adequate hydration is key in regulating body temperature, heart function, blood pressure, removing waste, proper function of nerves and muscles, and in maintaining a healthy metabolism.

If we wait until we feel thirsty before drinking a glass of water, we're already dehydrated.  Thirst is not the best indicator of hydration status. It is recommended that a person maintain the habit of being proactive in health maintenance or improvement by beginning each day with 16 ounces of water immediately upon arising. . . and then continuing to drink water throughout the day up to 64 ounces, ideally. The primary benefit is that water helps the body combat heat, aids digestion, aids the effectiveness of prescription drugs, jump-starts kidney and bowel function, and enhances heart, blood vessel, nerve, and muscle function. Think of it this way: Water is cheap medicine.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • loss of appetite

  • fatigue and confusion

  • flushed, reddened skin in the face

  • dizziness, light-headedness

  • dark-colored urine

  • dry cough

While water is the prime fluid to support body function, the chemistry of the blood is supported by other foods and beverages that provide sources of sodium and potassium.  Think of a tall glass of lemonade, made from fresh-squeezed lemons with a few lemon slices in the glass. Sports drinks, fruit juice, soft drinks also supply some sodium and potassium, but be mindful of the nutritional contents on the labels. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages are not recommended for optimal hydration because they actually pull more water out of the body than they add to it.

In addition to water and other beverages, foods that supply potassium that is key to the body's health, more so in hot weather, include bananas, cantaloupe, strawberries, potatoes, chard, spinach, and lentils. To make water-drinking more appealing, try adding sliced lemons and limes to a pitcher of water, or a few slices of cucumber, or perhaps whole strawberries and a mint leaf. TO YOUR HEALTH!