Key Takeaways:

  • Staying hydrated doesn't just mean drinking water - foods with high water content and soups can also contribute to your fluid intake.
  • Feeling thirsty is not the only indicator of dehydration; it's important to drink before you feel thirsty to ensure your body has enough water.
  • The color of your urine is not a reliable indicator of hydration status, as it can be influenced by various factors other than dehydration.

he phrase “stay hydrated” has become commonplace in health advice targeted to older adults. But what exactly does this mean?

In an era of misinformation, it's hard to know what is true. In order to provide clarity on this important topic, we've debunked some common myths about hydration below:

Myth #1 - Drinking liquids is the only way to stay hydrated.

Although drinking water all day is a great habit, it's not the only way to give your body what it needs. In fact, about 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods with high water content.

These include cucumbers, celery, strawberries, grapefruit, spinach, and watermelon. Soups, broths, and stews are another practical (and tasty) way to boost your fluid intake, especially in the colder weather months. If you’re watching your sodium, be sure to choose low-sodium versions.

Myth #2 - If you don't feel thirsty then you aren't dehydrated.

This is a myth, as you can get dehydrated without feeling thirsty. Dehydration can develop quickly and happen to people who don't feel thirsty and think they're drinking enough.

You should be drinking when you feel thirsty, but don't wait until then to start drinking. In fact, it's better to drink before you feel thirsty because that way your body has the water it needs before things get serious.

Myth #3 - You can tell if you are dehydrated by the color of your urine.

Contrary to popular belief, urine color is not a reliable way to tell if you are dehydrated. We say this because the color of your urine can be affected by diet, medication, and other factors such as age and gender.

For example, if you have been drinking large amounts of coffee or tea (or taking an iron supplement), it may turn your pee brownish orange in color. If you eat lots of beets or spinach—which contain nitrates that help your body make red blood cells—your urine may appear pinker than normal for some time after eating them.

Myth #4 - You should drink 8 glasses of water a day.

Many factors affect how much water a person needs to drink each day, including age, activity level, and diet. The climate you live in also matters; those who live in hot, humid locations will typically need to consume more water.

In general, one should consume about three-quarters of their body weight each day as fluids. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim to drink 50 oz. of water.

Ask your healthcare provider to help you determine an appropriate daily fluid intake level.

Myth #5 - Coffee is dehydrating.

For a long time, it was believed that caffeine acted like a diuretic in our bodies and caused us to lose fluids. But recent studies have shown this idea of being false.

A study found that moderate consumption of caffeinated coffee (up to 4 cups a day) is not dehydrating. In fact, if you're a regular java drinker it can count toward your daily fluid intake.

We hope we have helped you to debunk some of these myths and educate yourself about hydration.

Hydration is an important part of your health, so take care of yourself by staying hydrated!

Learn more: 

Oct 26, 2022