Water for life – Nutrients don’t only come in the form of food, water is the most important and often most forgotten nutrient. Our body depends on water to survive. You can last for some time without food, but only days without water. It is essential for good health – every cell, tissue and organ needs water to work properly. The body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate your joints.
Different tissues and organs in the body contain different amounts of water. For example, body fat contains approximately 10 percent water, while muscle is approximately 75 percent water. Our brains and our lungs also have a high percentage of water!
How you lose water? – Aside from the obvious, your body loses water through sweat, and even when you breathe.
- When the weather is hot or if you are physically active, you lose water even faster.
- Serious dehydration can occur when you are sick to your stomach.
- Drinking alcohol causes dehydration.
- Salty foods increase fluid loss in your body because water is needed to eliminate all the extra sodium naturally present in salt.
- Sugary drinks can seem refreshing, however, they create an acidic environment that can decrease your body’s water storage capacity.
So what happens if you don’t stay hydrated?
Being slightly dehydrated may lead to fatigue, thirst, dry mouth, headache, and/or light-headedness. These are body’s warning signs that there isn’t enough water in our system. Unfortunately, by the time we have a headache or feel fatigued, our body is already slightyly dehydrated.
More serious signs of dehydration include darker colour (or no) urine, confusion and no tears when crying.
As summer temperatures hit, here are some important tips to stay hydrated. Don’t wait until the symptoms occur. By then, your cells are already asking for help!
- Water is the easy answer. Six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
- There are ways to get hydrated that may feel easier than just drinking plain water:
- Non-caffeinated beverages such as herbal teas, milk and juice
- Fruits and vegetables. Those with the highest water content (over 90%) include: cucumber, celery, radishes, zucchini, watermelon, cabbage, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, tomatoes and lettuce
- Soup, especially broth
Ways to Enjoy the Glass of Water – Don’t wait until you notice symptoms of dehydration to take action. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water.
Drink extra water when you’ve eaten foods such as soy sauce, popcorn, sausages and fried foods – these have a high content of salt.
If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule: when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
Also, when drinking alcohol, drink at least one glass of water for each drink consumed – your body (and head) will thank you.