Extension and Ag Research News


Prairie Fare: Meet Your Water Needs

Some foods bring us comfort and stir vivid memories.

Prairie Fare: Meet Your Water Needs

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist NDSU Extension Service

I recently returned from a conference in California. When people hear you’re from North Dakota, they talk about cold weather and lots of snow.

When I told them it was more than 100 degrees back home, they hardly believed me. I think they were expecting us to have snow on the ground year-round. They probably thought I wore snow boots on the plane.

I’m not sure what the local reaction would be to snow in August. At this point in a dry, hot summer, moisture of any kind is much appreciated in most locations.

As I watered my thirsty flowers the other day, the effects of high heat and little moisture were pretty obvious. My decorative plants looked like overcooked side dishes. Birds were hovering around the birdbath looking for a drink of water.

Too little water affects plants, animals and people. While there’s no minimum recommendation for human water consumption, it is perhaps our most essential nutrient. Humans are made up of 60 percent to 75 percent water by weight, depending on age and gender.

Too little water can be devastating, especially to older adults and young children who become dehydrated more easily. People who work outdoors in hot weather and athletes also need to keep liquids handy to prevent dehydration. When we feel thirsty, it usually means we’re slightly dehydrated.

Water has many roles in the human body, ranging from lubricating joints for easy movement to helping regulate body temperature. On average, we lose a couple of quarts of water daily through urination and sweating, so replace those losses with the equivalent of six to eight 8-ounce cups of fluid daily.

Signs of dehydration include nausea, sunken eyes, muscle cramps, clammy skin and rapid heartbeat. Dehydration often requires prompt medical care.

What kind of water is best? It depends on your personal preferences. Municipal water or tap water is safe to drink, barring any contamination issues. However, many people prefer the taste of bottled water.

Bottled water has become a huge business. In fact, according to a market research company, bottled water is predicted to become the second most popular beverage, after soda pop, in the coming years.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water, also known as drinking water. FDA requires that bottled water be processed, bottled, held and transported under sanitary conditions. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the safety of tap or municipal water.

Special types of bottled water, such as mineral water, artesian and spring water, must meet the guidelines set by the FDA. For example, mineral water can’t contain added minerals. These minerals must be present in the water source naturally.

Are you thirsty yet? A glass of cold water certainly will tame your thirst. Most foods contain some moisture, too. Fruits and vegetables are the all-stars in moisture content, and their high moisture level keeps their calories low. Here’s a refreshing fruity drink to enjoy on a hot day.

Tropical Smoothie

1 c. orange juice 2 c. pineapple chunks packed in juice, drained 1 large banana, coarsely chopped 1/3 c. fat-free milk 2 Tbsp. sugar (as desired) 1 c. crushed ice

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 140 calories, no fat, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 2 g of fiber and 60 percent of the daily recommendation for vitamin C.

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, jgardenr@ndsuext.nodak.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.nodak.edu
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