The easiest way to stay healthy: HYDRATE YOURSELF PROPERLY
Let’s talk about the most basic nutrient: WATER, something so simple yet so powerful.
I am constantly amazed how proper hydration helps me and my clients to feel better and to function better. Proper hydration is key to your overall health.
Water is a major compound in the human body. About 70% of what we have within our bodies is water. Water is essential for our life. We can’t live without. When we provide too little water we will function but function poorly. Water facilitates many important processes to keep our body and mind in shape. I start my day with a large glass of (warm) water with a bit of sea salt or Himalayan salt dissolved in it (you can add a pinch of salt in your glass of water or if you want to be more precise about a quarter teaspoon of salt per 1 liter water. Do not overdo salt however; your total daily salt intake on average should not exceed 2-3 grams) or with a glass of warm water with a freshly squeezed lemon juice. It sets a good hydration start for the rest of the day. Sea salt enhances hydration, helps to balance electrolyte levels, and offers many other benefits. Through the day I will have a smoothie, drink more water (with and without salt), will have 2-3 herbal teas, and on some days a soup or bone broth. I recommend drinking ambient temperature water or warm water.
Why do you need this basic nutrient?
Water is your:
- It serves as a solvent for ionic particles such as salts, glucose, amino acid. Thanks to water, various ions and molecules can move and reach various destinations within your body.
- Building block. Water molecules occupy every space not taken by other molecules, within our cells and outside our cells. Water also facilitates the folding of amino acids to proteins to form proteins of proper structure and integrity.
- Lubricant. Together with other molecules water lubricates surfaces and protects tissues functioning. Think of synovial fluid in joints, mucosal lining in GI tract, tears, or saliva.
- Medium for biochemical reactions. Water as a medium facilitates the biochemical reactions constantly happening in your body. Water as a reactant also actively participates in the hydrolysis of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Water is also a by-product of protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
- Transport medium. Water carries nutrients and waste products that need to move from one location to another location. Water helps nutrients reach cells and helps waste products on their way out of cells and out of the body. Water is the most basic nutrient of your blood and facilitates the functioning of the cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous and urinary systems.
- Thermo-regulator. Water – thanks to its capacity to absorb heat, to hold it, to help to release it (perspiration) and to resist temperature changes – supports body homeostasis by maintaining body temperature.
- Shock absorber. Water acts as a sort of gel assisting cells to maintain their shape and form and as a sort of cushion assisting tissues against the shock of movement. It provides the cushioning effect.
If you experience the symptoms listed below there is a high chance your body is not properly hydrated.
- Fatigue and weakness
- Dry skin
- Dry mucus membranes in the nose, mouth or throat
- Nosebleeds (especially in dry air)
- Dark and concentrated urine produced in small quantities
- Intestinal cramps
- Irrational behavior
- Low blood pressure
- Shallow, rapid breathing
- Weak, irregular pulse
How do you lose water?
Via Skin, kidneys, respiratory and digestive tract.
How much water do you need?
Your optimal water intake may be affected by physical activity, exercise, metabolism, diet, health status, humidity and ambient temperature. If you sport and sweat you obviously need to drink more water.
The average recommendation for adult females is about 2,5 liter daily, for adult males about 3-3,5 liter daily.
When do you need even more water?
If you lose more water, for example when you have a fever, you vomit, you have diarrhea, you have a respiratory discharge; you need to drink more water to compensate for the loss. Also get adequately more water if you follow a high protein diet, take diuretics, are on a plane, or live in a warm/hot climate.
What about water versus other beverages?
If you want to stay properly hydrated, pure water should be your first choice because of its highest osmotic power due to the least amount of solutes. It hydrates the body at the cellular level. Osmosis is reduced when you drink coffee, tea, sodas, or drinks containing sugar, protein, or artificial additives.
Some common conditions can be improved by water
Dehydrated body can’t function optimally. Point.
As mentioned above, water facilitates a lot of important processes in your body so if you have too little of it, these processes will be impaired, impaired at the cellular level. If you are chronically dehydrated, at some point you will start experiencing signs and symptoms (listed above) of your body craving water. Just listen to your body.
Take care of proper hydration in particular if you struggle with:
- Low stomach acid and peptic ulcers
- Low back pain
- Coronary heart disease
- Headaches (non-migraine, migraine, hangover)
- Edema of unknown origin
- Chronic fatigue
- Asthma and allergies
- “Water: the most basic nutrient and therapeutic agent” Herb Joiner-Bey. Natural Medicine text book, fourth edition. J. Pizzorno & M Murray. Elsevier 2013.
- “Thirst and hydration status in everyday life” Mindy Millard-Stafford et al. Nutrition Reviews. Volume 70, Issue suppl_2, 1 November 2012, Pages S147–S151.