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Gundersen's Wellness Wagon features Hydration Challenge

Hydration Challenge

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There's nothing better you can drink, for your body and health, than water! While it is best to consume at least half of your daily water intake as plain water, refer to the chart below for other options to meet your personal goal.

What Counts as Water?

What counts as water? Water, infusions, herbal teas, broth.

Hydration Tips:

Do you find yourself struggling to drink water throughout the day?

Use these tips to help you increase your water consumption and feel your best!

Routine - Get in the habit of drinking a tall glass of water when you wake up, before each meal and have a small glass of water before bed. Adding these into your daily routine will help you get in the habit of drinking water.

Time cue - Set a timer on your phone to remind you to drink water.

Gulp it down - Instead of grabbing a glass of water and only taking a few sips, take 5-10 gulps every time you reach for that glass. You will consume more water throughout the day than if you only drink a sip or two each time.

Track it - Use an application on your phone or a simple pen and paper method to track the amount of water you drink each day. Another fun way to track, carry rubber bands with you, each time you finish the bottle place a rubber band around the bottle.

Water bottle love - Buy a water bottle you like and carry it with you everywhere. Keep that water bottle within reach when you’re working, commuting or relaxing. You will find yourself sipping throughout the day and will reach your daily goal in no time.

Dilute it - If you are finding it difficult to drink plain water try diluting your cup of juice with a bit of water or only add half of a powdered flavor pack. This will cut back on your sugar/artificial sweetener and calorie consumption and help you drink more water. As time goes on, increase the amount of water and decrease the amount of add-ins. If you struggle drinking plain water, try getting yourself to the point where you can drink a glass of water with just a splash of flavor.

Tea - Herbal tea is another great way to stay hydrated. Try it hot or iced.

Natural Flavor - Adding sliced fruits, vegetables and herbs to your water is a great way to give it a bit of flavor without consuming extra sugar or sugar substitutes. Try adding a small handful of fresh raspberries and a bit of mint for a flavorful kick, or add cucumber slices to your water and enjoy a refreshing drink on a hot summer day.

Why test your well water?

Did you know that bacteria can get into private wells through surface contamination, septic systems, livestock waste, fertilization, or if your well is damaged, abandoned, improperly filled or installed incorrectly? Drinking water from a private well can be contaminated by microorganisms, radioactive elements, nitrates, nitrates, and heavy metals. These bacteria, at high enough levels, may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. That’s why it’s important to test your well annually.

Check out this guide from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to learn more about what you should test for.

Your local health department also has information on water testing and some departments have laboratories that can test your water. For more information, contact your local health department.

Health benefits of drinking water

Water is an essential component of our body and is vital to our health. Here are some of the numerous health benefits of drinking water.

Plain water:

  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Flushes waste from body
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • Improves brain function, concentration, memory, and alertness
  • Maintains clearer, younger-looking skin by improving the elasticity and moisture of our skin
  • Cushions joints & helps decrease joint and muscle pain
  • Aids the absorption of vitamins and minerals

Further, proper hydration can:

  • Aid in weight maintenance
  • Improve energy
  • Decrease cravings for sweet foods/beverages
  • Regulate hunger and fullness
  • Help identify hunger and fullness cues

Infused water recipes

While plain water is the best choice for hydrating your body, sometimes you need a little flavor. Try these delicious infused water recipes if you are looking for flavor, without added sweeteners.

Strawberry Mint Water
8 cups chilled water
2 cups strawberries
4 larger fresh mint leaves
Cut the strawberries into slices. Combine ingredients. Refrigerate 4-6 hours. Serve over ice.

Cucumber Lemon Lime Orange Water
8 cups chilled water
½ lime ½ lemon
½ orange
¼ large cucumber
Cut lime, lemon, orange, and cucumber into thin slices. Refrigerate 4-6 hours. Serve over ice.

SASS Recipe
8 cups chilled water
3 green tea bags
3 cinnamon sticks
¾ cup 100% Concord grape juice
4 fresh basil leaves
Zest of one orange
Zest the orange and break basil leaves into small pieces. Combine all ingredients. Allow green tea bags to steep for 3-5 minutes and then remove. Refrigerate 4-6 hours. Serve over ice.

Cucumber Lemon Basil Water
8 cups chilled water
1 large cucumber
2 lemons
4 leaves fresh basil
Cut the cucumber and lemon into thin slices. Break basil into smaller pieces. Combine ingredients. Refrigerate 4-6 hours. Serve over ice.

Drinking enough water

Water is very important, but we often forget to drink enough of it. It is needed for energy and good health.

How much water does your body use?
Your body uses about 2 to 3 quarts of water every day. If you are throwing up or having diarrhea your body loses even more water.
Your body needs to replace the liquids that are used throughout the day, even if you do not feel thirsty. When you lose too much water from your body, it is called dehydration.

How else do you get dehydrated?
In addition to being sick, spending time outside in very hot or cold weather can cause dehydration. In the summer, sweating causes water loss. In the winter, the cold sucks moisture out of your skin.

How much water should I drink?
It is important to drink water throughout the day. Most adults need 6 to 12 cups of water each day to stay healthy. The more you weigh the more water you should drink. Carrying a water bottle can help remind you to drink water. Throughout this challenge you are aiming for 64 oz. of water a day with half being plain water. If 64 oz. seems overwhelming to start with, increase your daily consumption until you reach your goal. 64 oz. is a general guideline, consult your healthcare provider if you have concerns.

Why water?
Your body takes in water and uses it right away. Non-water liquids such as coffee, sodas, drink mixes (Crystal light, Kool-Aid, etc.) and others have to be filtered by the liver and kidneys before the water in them can be taken in and used by the rest of your body. They are also often full of added calories, caffeine, sugar, or salt and can cause weight gain if you drink too much. Choose water instead of other drinks as often as you can. At least half of what you drink every day should be plain water.

How do I know if I’m drinking enough?
It is important to check your urine color throughout the day. If you are drinking enough water, it will be clear to lemonade colored (light). If you are not drinking enough water, it will be Mountain Dew™ to apple juice colored (dark).

Do not use the information on this page if you are on a clear liquid diet. Ask your doctor or nurse what to do if you are sick.

Do you need help to use this information?
Your doctor or nurse can arrange for you to meet with a registered dietitian, who can help you set and achieve your goals. Ask about this during your next office visit.

When to test your well water

Water is an essential component of our body and is vital to our health. Here are some of the numerous health benefits of drinking water.

Did you know that arsenic is a naturally occurring element and can increase the risk of developing skin, bladder, lung, and prostate cancers? It’s important to test your private well water for arsenic at least once, and if arsenic has been detected then yearly after that.

High levels of nitrates in drinking water should be avoided by all, but especially infants and women who are or may become pregnant? Drinking water high in nitrates can cause “blue baby syndrome” which can be fatal if not treated promptly. Test your private well annually for nitrites, especially if there are infants or pregnant women drinking the water.

If your drinking water does not come from a public water system, or you get your drinking water from a household well, you alone are responsible for assuring that it is safe. Your local health department can provide information about testing and may be able test your water.

Did you know that, according to the CDC, the top six causes of outbreaks in individual (private) wells are:

1. Hepatitis A
2. Giardia
3. Campylobacter, E. coli (tie)
4. Shigella
5. Cryptosporidium, Salmonella (tie)
6. Arsenic, Gasoline, Nitrate, Phenol, Selenium (tie)

For more information, visit the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/diseases.html

Did you know that your local health department has information on water testing and some departments have laboratories that can test your water? For more information, contact your local health department.

Foods can contain a lot of water too! 

According to the Institute of Medicine, we get about 20% of our water intake from the foods we eat. Nearly all foods contain some water, but fresh fruits and vegetables generally contain the most. Many fruits and vegetable are more than 80% water.

Aim for making half of your plate fruits and vegetables at each meal, and not only will you boost hydration, but you will also be nourishing your body with the needed vitamins and minerals.

It is still important to drink plenty of water especially in the summertime, but you can also quench your thirst with many fruits and vegetables.

  • Cucumbers - perfect in salads or sliced and served with hummus
  • Celery - topped with nut butter, hummus or your favorite light dip
  • Radishes - great on salads or summer coleslaws
  • Tomatoes - perfect on their own or with fresh mozzarella and basil
  • Green peppers - great as a snack or try topped with a light dip or cottage cheese
  • Cauliflower - try replacing the croutons in your salad with this crunchy alternative
  • Spinach - great as a salad green or sandwich/wrap topper
  • Strawberries - delicious in a smoothie or as a yogurt topping
  • Watermelon- try adding it to water to give plain water an exciting new twist
  • Broccoli- perfect in a summer salad 
  • Baby carrots - great dipped in hummus or nut butter
  • Grapefruit - refreshing in a salad or on its own
  • Cantaloupe - try with cottage cheese, plain or with some light fruit dip
Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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