Stay hydrated!

water with lemon and ice

Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.

Water is essential for normal body functions, and the process of providing water to our bodies is called “hydration.” Water helps break down minerals and other nutrients to make them available for absorption, circulates oxygen in the blood throughout the body and helps moisten mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, and mouth.

It is especially important to maintain hydration when the body is stressed during chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments.

Other reasons to stay well hydrated:

  • Ease/prevent constipation
  • Aid in digestion
  • Lubricate joints and muscles
  • Rid the body of toxins
  • Help boost energy levels

Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than is being consumed. Events that could lead to dehydration include vomiting, diarrhea, fever and simply not consuming enough fluid throughout the day.

Symptoms that may indicate dehydration include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation

The American Cancer Society notes a complete list of warning signs for dehydration. So how much fluid do we need daily? The American Cancer Society suggests at least eight, 8-oz glasses of water daily.

Patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and radiation have increased fluid needs to help flush out chemicals and to maintain healthy cell regeneration. Ask your health care provider about your specific hydration needs.

You do not necessarily have to drink water to obtain needed fluids. There are a lot of foods that have a high water content such as yogurt, soup and ice pops. The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service provides this list of fruits and vegetables that are sources of water.

Coffee, tea and soda can be a source of hydration, but they all contain caffeine, which has a diuretic effect. Too much caffeine can lead to dehydration, so these liquids should be consumed in moderation.

Katie Saettel
Dietetic Intern
University of Kentucky