As our sunburnt country heats up in, staying hydrated helps you stay sane. Water really does Matter. Squeeze lemon or lime into a natural spring or coconut water, a splash of chlorophyll or pulping some fresh berries and placing them into a cool filtered water is refreshing and restoring to the body.
Placing the pulp of berries into ice trays in the freezer with coriander or some finely chopped rosemary can add a bit of zing and cleanse to those over indulgent moments! Easy? It is really and sounds cool to me!
The Importance of Hydration – Water for Health
On the average, water makes up 60 to 70% of your body weight. The range difference is due to the fact that different cells contain different amounts of water. Muscle cells, for example, are 70-75% water whereas fat cells are only 10-15% water. Maintaining water in your body is a fundamental step in maintaining your health. It is commonly known that about two thirds of total body weight is water and that the brain is also largely water. Adequate water intake is therefore essential to our general well-being.
Water assists the movement of nutrients throughout the body; flushing and carrying away waste material from our metabolic processes. Lack of water can lead to fatigue and can cause constipation. Poor hydration can lead to dry and itchy skin, acne, nose bleeds, repeated urinary tract infections, dry coughs, sneezing, sinus pressure, headaches and fatigue, as a result of toxins building up in our bodies. Poor hydration weakens the body’s immune system and leads to chemical, nutritional and pH imbalances, which can eventually cause sickness. Lack of hydration is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue, and a mere 2% drop in body water can trigger short-term memory problems and difficulty focusing on reading a computer screen or a printed page.
Water plays a key part in temperature control through perspiration. Our bodies evaporate sweat to prevent overheating. The amount of water loss can vary hugely and can be several litres per day. Body temperature is critical and takes precedence over other functions. It is lost through respiration, sometimes more than by perspiration, as the air we breathe is warmed and humidified in our lungs. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air and in cold climates the body can lose a lot of water this way.
Water is needed for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. It helps to conduct electrical impulses around the body. Often when feeling unfocused, drowsy or mentally down the brain is dehydrated and a glass or two of water can restore alertness.
Our kidneys are intrinsic to water balance; they are equipped with millions of filtering units to remove impurities from our blood and return pure fluid back into the bloodstream. Without the aid of our kidneys it has been suggested we would need to drink 10,000 litres of water per day just to keep our fluid balance steady!
The amount of water used by the body varies widely with lifestyle, climate and physical activity playing a part on what is needed. On average we use about 2 to 2 ½ litres per day (obviously a larger man would use more than a smaller woman). About 1500 mL is lost in urine and faeces, 250 to 500 mL perspiration and 250 to 500 mL in respiration. We usually obtain about 1.25 Litres from our food and 250 mL from the metabolic processes. On an average without any special demands we need to make up about 1 Litre of water daily. This will increase with exercise, hot weather, stress, illness, missed meals etc.
Ideally water needs to be consumed gradually over a day from rising to retiring. If you drink it all at once much of the benefit may be lost as your kidneys will simply eliminate the excess without your body gaining much from it. Sipping fresh clear water over the day is the best way!
Thirst is not always a reliable indicator of your bodies need for water. It is not the earliest sign as we can be dehydrated long before we realise that we feel thirsty. Each body is unique, with difference needs and demands. Knowing when to replenish is something you need to understand with your body. Herbs and small amounts of juices can assist the utilisation.
Water at room temperature is considered the best, so keep a steady supply close to you throughout the day. Sip your way to more health, balance and well-being today!
The key message for you today? Have you had your 8? That is 8 glasses of 250 mL size is recommended daily.