Staying Hydrated

Did you know that the human body is made up of over 50 percent water? Each day we lose water through bodily functions and sweat which are then replaced by the fluids we take in through our diet. Dehydration becomes more of an issue during the summer months when we are sweating more than during the cooler times of the year. Cancer patients undergoing treatment are especially vulnerable to dehydration due to inadequate fluid intake and increased fluid losses.  See the tips below from SNCC’s Registered Dietitian Melanie Mitchell, to stay hydrated as we move into summer!

  • Be aware of dehydration symptoms which include dry mouth, thirst, headache, dark colored urine, constipation and dizziness upon standing.
  • Caffeine and alcohol increase fluid losses, therefore, limit caffeine to 2-3 cups daily and avoid alcohol.
  • Aim for 8-12 cups of caffeine-free fluid daily unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
  • Beyond water, there are many options for hydration that include decaffeinated tea or decaffeinated coffee, soup, broth, gelatin, ice chips, popsicles, sherbet, milk, smoothies, juice and nutritional drinks.
  • Flavoring water with fruit, herbs or a small amount of juice can provide a more appealing flavor. There are many water additives on the market (i.e. Crystal Light or other liquid or powder flavor enhancers) which can improve the flavor of water.
  • During cancer treatment water can have a metallic taste therefore avoid drinking from a metal cup and use water flavored with citrus such as lemon, orange or grapefruit to counter the metallic taste.
  • Contact your doctor if you are having trouble keeping fluids down, experiencing diarrhea or vomiting lasting more than 48 hours or are having symptoms of dehydration that you are unable to control.

If you are a patient and have questions about your diet, please ask your oncologist at your next appointment about receiving a complimentary nutritional session with Melanie Mitchell, SNCC Registered Dietitian.

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