Water is essential to life

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waterfall

Waterfall on the road to Chandy’s Windy Woods in Munnar, India.

When you are being treated for breast cancer, one challenge you may face is finding a way to stay hydrated at a time when plain water may not taste good to you.*

Water is essential to life

As adults our bodies are approximately 60% water. It is a major part of nearly everything in our body and we cannot survive for long if we are not getting enough water every day.

Water regulates our body temperature so we don’t get overheated. It helps metabolize and transport nutrients we get from our food throughout the bloodstream. It also flushes waste out of our system, primarily through urination.

Water lubricates our joints and helps protect them. It is a main component of saliva which keeps our mouth moist. Saliva, along with chewing, starts the process of breaking down the starches in our diet.

Most adult women need between 8-10 glasses under normal circumstances. The recommended adequate intake (AI) of water is about 9 cups per day for women and 13-15 cups per day for men.

*Be sure to check with your doctor first, to make sure there are no  restrictions on your fluid intake. 

Do you need another reason to eat fruit and veggies?

Many fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water and it has been estimated that many contain 70-90% water by weight. For example, the water content of raw baby carrots or cooked frozen carrots is 90%, a peeled apple is 63% and an unpeeled apple is 81%, by weight.

How do fruits and vegetable help?  In addition to all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients they provide, they also help you stay hydrated due to their high water content.

Here are some other beverage ideas to try

Homemade flavored waters such as water with lemon, water with oranges and mint (skip the mint if you have acid reflux), “green water” (water with parsley, cucumbers and other greens), basil and strawberry cooler, cranberry juice with seltzer, apple juice and seltzer.

Other choices to try include hot tea, decaffeinated hot tea, iced tea, decaffeinated iced tea, ginger tea, cardamom tea, herbal tea, green tea, decaffeinated green tea, low sodium broth, homemade soup, lowfat milk, whole milk (if you need to gain weight), almond milk, rice milk, cashew milk, and coconut water (can have a laxative effect).

If none of those beverages help, drink sodas, diet sodas, fruit juices such as apple juice. While these are not the healthiest choices due to their high sugar content and other artificial ingredients, you need to stay hydrated. These choices are better than allowing yourself to become dehydrated because you “don’t want to eat anything unhealthy.”

Caffeine can be a diuretic and often contributes to acid reflux and heartburn

You may have also noticed that I have not put coffee on the list of beverage ideas. That is because coffee often contributes to acid reflux and heartburn. Coffee may also have a diuretic effect (due to the caffeine, how much coffee you drink, and other factors in your diet).  As a result, drinking a lot of coffee will most likely be counterproductive to your efforts to stay hydrated.

 

Try to avoid these drinks

good choices for hydration

use caution these are "sometimes" drinks

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Barbara Spalding RDN Culinary Dietitian

Hi, I am

Barbara Spalding MS, RDN, Culinary Dietitian

As a dietitian and world traveler, I love bold flavors — in food and in life. 14 years ago, I fell down the rabbit hole into Breast Cancer Wonderland. Since then, I’ve learned to cook differently while savoring the pleasures of food and companionship. I’ve built a resilient new life and a bold new kitchen. Let me show you the flavors of the world.
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