24 May Hydration Tips: Not just because you’re thirsty
Water- Perhaps the most critical nutrient!
It is estimated that 60 percent of your body weight is water. Staying hydrated is the key to so many aspects of health. Most people take water for granted. We don’t usually think about staying hydrated until those warmer months and we are sweating buckets. Regretfully, warm weather or increased activity is not the only reasons to look at hydration. Your body is constantly losing water — through your breath as you exhale, through your skin as perspiration, and through urine. This water must be replaced to maintain good health. I believe that dehydration is the cause of many headaches. I always say that it wasn’t those two pain relieving tablets that made your headache go away; it was the 12 ounces of fluids you drank when you took them.
For years I have preached water, water, water only. No soda, Coffee, etc., but when it comes to hydration, we are able to get water from our foods and many other sources. (I still think water is the best way to re-hydrate!)
Staying hydrated is very important to our health and wellbeing. As little as a 1 to 2 percent decrease in fluids can lead to difficulty concentrating. Sweat is the way in which your body cools itself. If you dehydrate and stop perspiring, you are in danger of overheating. Water plays a huge role in the proper function of our digestive system. From the saliva in the mouth to the softening of your stool, water plays an important roll throughout the entire digestive tract. Cells utilize water to transport nutrients in and waste out. When it comes to hydration and your skin, water is the key to reduction of wrinkles and looking younger. Our skin is just like the plum; well hydrated it is smooth and supple. Dry it out and you have a wrinkled up prune. Simply put, water or staying hydrated cannot be overlooked year round.
In addition to hydrating, we also need to look at Electrolytes. Electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium and chloride, are nutrients that are important for maintaining the body’s fluid balance. Since electrolytes are lost through sweat it is important that you replace them regularly. Whether you chose sports drinks, juices or get them through fruits and veggies doesn’t matter-Just get them!
So how much water should you consume? The old 8 glasses a day was always confusing to me. What is a glass? Is it 8 ounces? 12? Can I drink it all at once? My philosophy is easy. The minimum amount of water consumed each day should be half your body weight in ounces of water. Example: 150 pound person would consume a minimum of 75 ounces of water per day. Why do I say minimum? A person who is more active, sweats a lot may require larger amounts due to the extra loss of fluids. Again, these are guidelines and can be modified to your specific needs or health.
Time Released Water
Yes, you read that right-Time Released Water. I live in the Sunshine State and keeping hydrated is sometimes a difficult task. My son plays on a club soccer team and often has 2 to 3 games in a day if there is a tournament. How can he (you) possibly stay hydrated in high heat, humidity and all of that activity? It is simple, eat fruit. My son now preaches my words-eat your water to his team mates and it works. I have found that the best fruits are in the melon family or apples and oranges. Melons by far are the best and can be eaten all day long. I find it important to try to not mix melon with other foods that are high in protein (for some reason it seems to not work as well). Also, try Chia! Since it can hold up to 30 times its weight in water it is also a great form of Time Released water. It too contains electrolytes and can have multiple benefits for keeping you from dehydrating.
Finally, don’t wait until you are dry or fatigued. Drinking fluids throughout the day is the best way to stay ahead. If you have to, force yourself to drink. The following are some other recommendations on how to avoid getting dehydrated this summer:
- Flavor your water if you need to
- Avoid salty foods (canned, processed, frozen)
- Eat more fruits and vegetables (naturally contain water)
- Drink before, during and after any physical activity
- Avoid beverages that are high in sugar, caffeine or alcohol (may contribute to dehydration)