Don't Forget Your Water

Edith Lovett

Pulaski County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

Do you realize we use water for drinking to satisfy our thirst, for cooking, cleaning, growing our food, washing our clothes, cleaning our homes ,making it our most precious resource for survival. Water is also used for entertainment and transporting people and goods. So we find out that water is really a necessity commodity.

It is also what each person needs in life to survive. Water in our bodies is essential for life. With this hot weather we have been experiencing, you also need to make sure you and your family are drinking enough liquids to satisfy their body. Since water in our bodies is continually being used or lost, it needs to be continually replaced and the best liquid for all is water Drinking water is a great, calorie free way to satisfy your thirst, but you don't have to rely on it to get all your fluid needs. The foods you eat provide about 20% of your daily water intake and the rest comes from water and other beverages like low fat milk, 100% fruit juice, tea and coffee. Water is a good liquid choice because it is calorie free, inexpensive, and readily available.

Water makes up 60% of the adult body weight and in infants and children, this percentage is even greater. Water plays a vital role in the functioning of your body. Every system in your body depends on water. Water regulates the body temperature and moistens tissues. It lubricates the joints and helps flush out waste. Water also carries nutrients to cells and protects organs.

The brain and heart are composed of about 73% water so you need to keep those liquids in your body to think straight. Our lungs are about 83% water so they need water too. Water is needed to form saliva for digestion, and for cell growth and reproduction. Water also flushes the body waste out of the body, mainly in urine.

Water is the major component of most body parts. It helps regulate body temperature through sweating and respiration. Water also converts food to components needed for survival, digestion, and the delivery of oxygen to all parts of the body. Water helps your muscles contract and relax, and keeps your muscle cells hydrated and less irritable.

When do you need more water? Heat, humidity and physical activity can increase your fluid needs. However if you are a runner and you are physically active more than 90 minutes chose a sports drink over water. It hydrates your body while replacing electrolytes that are lost through sweat.

Is tap water better for you than bottled water? Keep yourself hydrated and drink lots of water and liquids. Carry a reusable water bottle filled with tap water and ice when you are out in the heat for several minutes. Tap water contains essential nutrients that are often filtered out of bottle water. Municipal water supplies also have added fluoride that helps prevent dental cavities. The cost of buying bottled water can add up quickly. For the price of one bottle of water, you can get up to 1,000 gallons of tap water. Bottled water produces up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. So you can decide which type of water is best for you.

Get in the habit of hydration. Drink water when you wake up in the morning, at each meal, and in between meals. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. It may be to school, to work, in the car, at the gym, or in your back pack. Drink water before, during and after exercising.

Sometimes at night you may have muscle cramps. The cramps are usually caused by over use of the muscles or dehydration. Long periods of exercise or physical labor, particularly in hot weather, can often lead to muscle cramps. Too little calcium, magnesium or potassium in your diet may also cause leg cramps and mainly at night. You will find that eating almonds, bananas, kale, potatoes, and spinach and other green vegetables, provides foods that are good sources of calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Your body needs at least 8 cups or more of water each day. Drink your water throughout the day rather than all at once. Drink more water when you exercise and are working outside. Some of the daily water needs can come from food and beverages other than water. If you don't like plain water, top it with lemon, pineapple or an orange. Add those little envelopes of calorie free Kool-aide to change the taste. Remember we all need to drink water and other liquids. How much you need really depends on your size and your activities.

Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veterans status or physical or mental disability.

Watermelons, as their name suggests, are almost all water, 92% to be exact. This refreshing treat also contains plenty of beta -carotene, lycopene and vitamin C to help maintain your eyesight, keep your skin glowing and boost that immunity. One cup of watermelon contains 45 calories. Choose melons with a well- rounded shape and smooth surface. They should be heavy and firm. The underside should be a creamy yellow color. The flesh should be deep red with mature, dark seeds. Watermelon season for Kentucky is July through September.

Watermelon Salsa

2 cups chopped seedless watermelon

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup chopped cucumber

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped red pepper

½ teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon lime juice

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Combine watermelon, blueberries, cucumber, onion and pepper in a large bowl. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Toss to coat. Stir in lime juice and balsamic vinegar. Cover and chill one hour. This will yield 10, ½ cup servings.

Events At the Pulaski County Extension Office

The Pulaski County Extension Service will have a reception on Tuesday Afternoon, July 30, from 4:00 to 5:30 for the public to meet and greet their new 4-H Agent and SNAP-Ed Assistant. Jennifer Cole is the new 4-H Agent and Margie Hernandez is the new SNAP-Ed Assistant. Please take the time to come and meet our new employees and visit with us.

The Pulaski County Extension Homemakers will have their Cultural Arts Competition on Friday, August 2. All entries need to be brought to the Extension Office by Thursday, August 1, if possible. The Cultural Arts Competition is opened only to homemakers. The County winners then compete at the Area Competition, and Area winners compete at the State Competition.

The Pulaski County Extension Homemakers will have their County Annual Meeting on Monday Night, August 5, at the East Somerset Baptist Church. The church will be opened by 12:00 noon for clubs to decorate their tables. Registration, silent auction, viewing of Cultural Arts, and visiting with other homemakers will begin at 5:00, with the actual dinner at 6:00.