Water as a Nutrient
Water in one of the most important components in your body. Our bodies are made up of mostly water. Just look at these facts: The brain contains 74 percent water, blood contains 83 percent water, lean muscle has 75 percent and bone has 22 percent water.
Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. According to Dr. Jeffrey Utz, Neuroscience, pediatrics, Allegheny University, babies have the most, being born at about 78%. By one year of age, that amount drops to about 65%. In adult men, about 60% of their bodies are water, while, in adult women, about 55% of their bodies are made of water.
Water serves a number of essential functions to keep your body going. It is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell, and acts first as a building material. It regulates our internal body temperature by perspiration and respiration. The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream. It assists in flushing waste mainly through urination. Water acts as a shock-absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus. Lastly, water forms saliva and lubricates your joints. Every part of your body needs water to function properly, and drinking enough water is incredibly important.
Daily water intake must be balanced with losses to maintain total body water. Losing body water can adversely affect your functioning and health. Once you start feeling thirsty, you’ve probably lost about 1 percent of your body water and are dehydrated. With a 2 percent water loss, you could experience serious fatigue and cardiovascular impairments. But how much water should you really be drinking? The old standard was to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. But, the amount of water your body needs is determined by your level of activity and lifestyle.
Here are some tips to help you properly hydrate your body
- Drink Enough
Your body requires approximately half your bodyweight in ounces of water to function properly. But, the amount of water your body needs is determined by your activity and lifestyle.
To determine your baseline range for water requirement, use the following formula:
Low end of activity range = Body weight (lbs) x 0.5 = (ounces of fluid/day)
High end of activity range = Body weight (lbs) x 1.0 = (ounces of fluid/day)
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, your approximate water requirement will be between 75 and 150 ounces each day.
- Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
Begin the day with a large glass of water each morning before you have your morning coffee. The six to eight hours of recommended nightly sleep is a long period to go without any water consumption and your body is dehydrated. Drinking water, preferably warm lemon water with unrefined sea salt gets your metabolism going and increases your level of alertness.
- Drink Regularly
Drink little by little throughout the day. It is preferable to sip water throughout the day rather than to drink two glasses all at once. A general guideline is to drink about eight ounces of water every hour. Your thirst is a indicator that your are dehydrated. Make sure to take a sip or two whenever you feel thirsty. Even if you’re not feeling totally parched, mild thirst is still a sign of impending dehydration.
There is a limit of how much water your kidneys can process, so make sure you don’t drink more than 1 liter per hour. Drinking too much water also leads to overhydration or Hyponatremia. This occurs when the amount of salt and other electrolytes in your body become too diluted. If your electrolytes drop too low too quickly, it can be fatal. Death by overhydration is rare, but it can happen.
Symptoms of overhydration in its early stages include; nausea and vomiting, headache, changes in mental state such as confusion or disorientation. If untreated, overhydration can lead to dangerously low levels of sodium in your blood. This can cause more severe symptoms, such as; muscle weakness, spasms, or cramps, seizures, unconsciousness, and coma
- Level Up your Plain Water
Plain water can be boring and many people fail to consume enough water because if this. Jazzing up your water can be an incredible way to make it more hydrating. One of the simplest ways to do this is to add fresh lemon juice and unrefined sea salt to your water. This mineralizes the water and the lemon juice makes the water cells more bioavailable. You can also try coconut water, fruit and vegetable infusions, raw green juice or smoothies. They provide electrolytes which you naturally lose through sweat and urine, especially when you are engaged in physical activity.
- Turn to Fruit
Many fruits are a great source of both electrolytes and fluids, though the dose of electrolytes can differ from fruit to fruit. Bananas and dates are known for having high levels of the electrolyte potassium, making them a great option for refueling during an intense workout (for example, a long run). To stay hydrated while keeping up electrolytes, it’s important to drink water while munching on fruit. Fruit contains some water that helps reach your water daily requirement.
- Ditch stimulants
Drink water, not cola drinks or coffee. Although studies have shown that drinking caffeinated drinks do not cause dehydration and can be counted in your fluid intake. They still have a diuretic effect. Moreover, the high phosphorus and sugar content in cola drinks can lead to conditions like osteoporosis and diabetes. If you are drinking caffeine to get an energy boost, then first just try clean, mineralized water. You may be surprised how much more energy you have by hydrating better.
- Drink More as you Exercise
When you exercise, you need to drink more water to compensate for fluid loss. Be fully hydrated before you exercise, Consider drinking 16 to 20 fluid ounces four hours before your workout. During exercise, drink according to your thirst sensation, no more or no less. After exercise drink 16 to 24 oz of fluid for every pound lost.