Coffee Drinking & Hydration

By Timothy S. Collins

Fluids are an important part of the diet. An acceptable way to maintain the body's fluid balance is to drink 6 to 8 cups (1.5 to 2 liters) of various liquids throughout the day. The daily normal average loss of water is about 2,500 ml. About 50% of this water loss is through urine. The rest is water loss through the skin and the lungs.

Drinking fluids throughout the day is important and this includes drinking coffee. Hydration levels vary according to age, seasons, level of physical activity, altitude and many other factors. De-hydration causes fatigue and lethargy, symptoms that should be cause for drinking fluids. Who has not heard the advice about drinking eight 8 ounce glasses of water each day?

In hotter weather, during and after exercise, or when experiencing body temperature changes, you should drink closer to 8 to 12 cups (2 to 3 liters) of liquids in one day.

Most drinks do a good job of hydrating although there are some that are better hydrators than others. For example,

  • Water is, by all means, the best beverage for hydrating the human body. Drink water as often as you can and you will feel the difference from good hydration.
  • Herbal teas such as Mint, Chamomile, Dandelion, Ginger, Hawthorn, Rosemary, and Sage can be a nice, occasional alternative to drinking only plain water. Herbal teas, green, black or red teas do not have a negative effect on hydration.
  • Fruit and vegetable juices are also good hydrators but it is important to watch the caloric content from the nutrients and sugars.
  • Caffeinated soft drinks, a favorite of many, have a diuretic effect. Their high sugar content is troublesome since the human body has a hard time metabolizing refined sugar. Generally speaking, not recommended as hydrators over water, teas and coffee.

The potential diuretic effect of caffeinated coffee increases with the level of coffee drinking consumption. In many ways, this is similar to the natural effect of drinking water. Diuretic effect simply translates into more frequent urination or the increase of the flow of urine which causes the body to get rid of excess water.

However, caffeine does not increase the amount of fluid passed, thus it does not lead to dehydration. Dehydration is when you lose more fluid than you take in. In other words, your body does not have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal function. After drinking brewed coffee, for example, the body retains most of the fluid which is what matters for good hydration.

Coffee drinking, in fact, has many health benefits supported by extensive and ongoing research performed all over the world. There is no evidence that caffeine consumption causes a fluid-electrolyte imbalance detrimental to personal health. Instead, there are many documented health benefits from coffee drinking. For example, motor control improves with moderate amounts of coffee. Coffee drinking offers some levels of protection against colon cancer, Type 2 diabetes and other diseases.

Interesting factoids:

  1. If you are at least 60 years old and drink fluids only when thirsty, you get only about 90% of the fluids your body needs. That means a 10% deficiency in body fluids which is not a good thing. This lack of fluids will translate, minimally, into dehydration symptoms such as fatigue and lethargy or something else.
  2. After 50 years of age, it is a good habit to drink fluids for hydration purposes specifically as a habit, even when you are not thirsty.

Coffee is part of the daily routine for most adults. Alternating water, coffee and another alternative beverage daily can promote good hydration habits. Taking in good hydrating fluids regularly will prevent dehydration and maintain good health.

Water is the # 1 choice for hydration. Coffee drinking is an excellent complement to personal daily hydration. As with anything, doing things in moderation is a good approach to a healthy and happy life.

So, for hydration purposes, go ahead and enjoy that cup of freshly brewed Sumatra Mandheling Grade # 1!



Timothy S. Collins
Article by Timothy S. Collins
Timothy ("Tim") S. Collins, the author, is called by those who know him "The Gourmet Coffee Guy." He is an expert in article writing who has done extensive research online and offline in his area of expertise, coffee marketing, as well as in other areas of personal and professional interest. Come visit the author's website: www.ourgourmetcoffee.com.

© Copyright - Timothy S. Collins. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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