Hydration vs. Dehydration
For years we’ve heard that 2/3 of our body weight is water. There are entire books written about just HOW important good quality water intake is to our health. It is estimated, however, that 75% of North Americans are living in “dehydrated” bodies.
- Every cell in our entire body requires adequate water to function optimally.
- Our blood needs water to make healthy new blood cells.
- Water supports our lymphatic system, which moves toxins & waste out of the body and, as well, supports immune system function.
- Adequate water consumption lubricates our joints and can reduce or eliminate joint pain.
- Water regulates our metabolism; a part of maintaining healthy body weight
- Water helps to create a healthy digestive system.
- Water offers nervous system support.
- Increasing our water consumption increases alertness & brain function.
THE MOST BASIC thing that we can do to IMPROVE OUR HEALTH?
I’m not suggesting that EVERYONE is dehydrated. Chances are, though, that people who are not making a concerted effort to drink pure water throughout the day, could drink more life-giving water and feel better!
Experts say, “by the time we are thirsty, we are, most likely dehydrated”. Many believe that they are ‘getting enough’ because they consume water in their coffee or other daily beverages. If you’re the gal with the bottomless coffee cup or if Coke is your constant companion – you actually need to UP your water intake.
Caffeinated coffee, tea, cocoa and soda pops cause the body to release more water than it takes in. The result? Drinking caffeinated beverages, over time, causes one to lose key nutrients and takes us down the road to dry skin, constipation and bladder problems. Most people can tolerate a cup or two a day of their favourite Java but should probably refrain from much more, at least as a daily habit.
I’ve long subscribed to the belief that alkalinity has a lot to do with good health. Years ago, I was introduced to the idea of 80:20 ratio; ingesting 80% alkaline producing foods to 20% acid forming foods, in the course of your day. This is not a new idea, but I wanted to mention it, as it’s important and has far-reaching implications in our overall healing ability and potential for maximum health.
What does this have to do with hydration? The alkaline producing foods are often also the hydrating foods (fruits, vegetables) and the acid forming foods (white flour, soft drinks, meats) can affect bone health, as well as the all important pH balance and can also be dehydrating, in nature. (A huge topic in itself for another day, but relevant info)
Subtle but a reality, nonetheless, one’s appearance, energy level, immune system as well as brain function – are all negatively impacted by dehydration.
Want to up your level of commitment?
1. Invest in a water filter system for your home.
2. Purchase a BPA-free water container and avoid the horrific environmental over-use of plastic water bottles.
3. Be conscious of your own water intake and make of point of noting the difference in “how you feel”.
After illness ~ SPECIAL care is needed:
Adults (and even more importantly, children) need to pay special attention to hydration issues
after a bout of the flu or after a visit from Montezuma (traveller’s diarrhea).
The delicate electrolyte balance can be upset after continuous vomiting or diarrhea of any sort. Extra water is needed, plus, when possible, electrolytes need to be replaced.
Here’s a quick ‘at home’ recipe for an electrolyte drink:
1.3 ml (1/8 teaspoon) baking soda
1.3 ml (1/8 teaspoon) sea salt
230 ml (8 ounces) water.
Add the soda and salt to the water. Stir. Drink.
Special note for ‘globe-trotters’
When traveling, perhaps more than ever, it’s important to be conscious of pure water intake. Dry atmosphere and lack of fresh air onboard an aircraft combine to increase dehydration.
One actually needs to drink more water than usual to keep hydrated. Opt for the best available water and lots of it. It’s easy enough to ask for a slice of lemon or lime from the roaming bar cart. On long flights especially, people do notice that they feel much better when they pace themselves; avoid alcohol and soft drinks. Eat as lightly as possible. Bring a healthy snack along. Go for the occasional amble down the aisle to stretch your legs. Avoid caffeine, too, until breakfast service when you can benefit from a quick wake-up ‘jolt’.
THE best reason, on-board, for staying hydrated?? AVOID “Jet Lag”; that disoriented, rather dazed feeling of varying degrees of exhaustion can be alleviated when we simply drink water!