Sports & Health

Hydration is just as important as nourishing your body with healthy food

Feeling thirsty? You might want to reach for some water.

“We never know the worth of water until the well is dry” – French Proverb.

Water — it’s an all-encompassing word for such a crucial element to our bodies.

From the time babies are weaned from breast milk or formula, we are encouraged to tempt the palates of our little ones with water.

Without it, or without enough of it, many complications can occur including: lack of energy, injury (heat cramps or heat stroke), seizures, lethargy, hypovolemic shock, brain swelling, kidney or other organ failure and even death.

Yes, the consequences of dehydration can be very severe and should not be taken lightly when analyzing your intake for the day realizing that it might not have been much at all.

As we navigate through the beauty of our four seasons, we sometimes place emphasis on hydrating more in these hot summer months. The need for more water may be more pronounced as we notice sweating of our skin and generally have higher activity levels.

What most people don’t know is that water is also expelled from a healthy pair of lungs as we breathe in and out 24/7. Yes,  your body loses water every time you breathe. You lose about one cup of water each day, just from breathing. Water helps your kidneys rid of unwanted materials which might be in your body. When it comes to your lungs, there is a thin lining of mucus inside of them. When you get enough water over the course of the day, this lining stays thin, which helps your lungs be more effective at doing their job.

Water helps to create saliva which is required to digest starches effectively in the mouth before being swallowed. It regulates body temperature by providing a layer of sweat whether heavy or light which acts as a safety blanket to keep us cooled down when the body heats up. Inadequate water intake can negatively impact our focus, short-term memory and alertness.

It helps to lubricate and cushion our joints, spinal cord and tissues. This allows us to be more physically active and reduces overall body aches caused by conditions like arthritis or similar.

Our bodies use water to sweat, urinate and ease healthy bowel movements. We need water in our systems to have healthy stools and avoid constipation. Drinking enough water helps our kidneys to work more efficiently, by preventing kidney stones — a very painful condition that can sometimes be prevented by effective intake. Staying hydrated also positively affects our strength, power, and endurance.

When it comes to metabolic rate (my specialty), hydrating with water helps to boost it which has a positive impact on our energy levels. Drinking 500 mL of water can boost the metabolic rate by 30 per cent in both men and women. Negative effects of overexertion in the heat, without staying hydrated, can result in serious medical consequences, where extreme dehydration can, in fact, lead to mortality.

It’s obvious that water is indeed a crucial element of your body’s requirements. Furthermore, aside from the internal factors which water is so beneficial for, it has some pretty incredible external benefits too. Collagen relies on water to do its job of structuring your skin. In fact, water is about 60 per cent of collagen’s total weight. Experiments that remove water from collagen have shown that it dramatically impacts the tensile force of the protein, which has serious implications for skin health.

With water’s reputation to flush stress hormones, detox the body and rebalance estrogen production, all of these have an impact on cellulite. Water retention itself is one of the biggest contributors to cellulite problems. Ironically, drinking more water reduces the amount of water stored under your skin. That’s because when you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day, your body trusts that it will keep receiving a fresh supply, which makes it less likely to store excess supplies of water.

The question now is what kind of water should you be drinking? Structured, reverse osmosis, distilled and tap waters are the most common choices. These are for you to embark upon in learning which is most ideal for you and your family. Note that there has been considerable research done towards the purity of bottled waters which have failed miserably. To top it off, these bottles are made from of a type of plastic called polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PET. Although PET is not manufactured from BPA, there is still much cause for concern as the tendency to leave them exposed to heat in automobiles is frequent, thereby affecting the very structure of the water contained in the plastic bottle.

I personally love my stainless steel water bottle. Glass is ideal, but can be unsafe as well if it slips from your hands.

Aside from the structured water which has many health benefits and can be researched further if you’re interested, the takeaway is that water is accessible and necessary. Better to have the not so great water in a pinch rather than none at all. That’s why a minute in the morning of preparing your bottle for your commute is advantageous. Hydration is just as important as nourishing your body with whole clean foods. Pair them together and you have a powerhouse body ready to work for you!


Photo: Hydrating with water helps to boost your metabolic rate which has a positive impact on your energy levels.

*Story written by Shana Daniel, RHN



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