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The Most Essential Nutrient: Water

The Most Essential Nutrient: Water

Nutrients don't come only in the form of food. Water is the most important nutrient, and very often most forgotten. You can last for some time without food, but not without water. Your body mass contains about 70 percent to 75 percent of water, with fat-containing much less, about 10 percent to 40 percent of water. Due to the increased muscle mass, men's and athletes' bodies contain more water than the ones with proportionately lower muscle and higher fat, for example, non-athletic women, people who are overweight and people who are older.

Water is very essential for important biochemical reactions, supplying nutrients and removing waste. It is necessary for maintaining blood circulation throughout your body. It also maintains the body temperature.

As you exercise, your metabolism and your internal body temperature increases. Water carries heat away from your internal organs before any damage occurs, which otherwise could lead to heat stroke or even death. The heat travels through the bloodstream to your skin which causes you to sweat and as the sweat evaporates, it allows you to cool off and maintain safe body temperature, ideal functioning, and health.

Daily water intake has to be balanced with losses to retain total body water. Losing body water can adversely affect your body’s functioning and health. When you start feeling thirsty, you've probably lost around 1 percent of your body water which will leave you dehydrated. If you have a 2 percent water loss, you could face serious fatigue and cardiovascular impairments. It's essential to keep in mind that individual liquid needs differ depending on your sweat rate, the environmental temperature, the clothing, humidity, and some other factors.

Summer is here, the sun is out, the grass is green, and you’re ready to take part in all those outdoor activities, beautiful hikes and perfect pool afternoons that you dreamed about all winter. But as the mercury rises, you need to pay attention to one important aspect of your health - your hydration

Things to do -

  • Drink enough water to prevent dehydration.
  • Keep a check on fluid loss by checking the color of your urine. It should be pale yellow and not dark yellow.
  • For short-duration and low to moderate intensity activity, water is a must to drink before, during and after exercise.
  • Any time you exercise in extreme heat or for a long time, supplement water with a sports drink that contains electrolytes and 6 percent to 8 percent carbohydrates. This prevents "hyponatremia" which dilutes your blood and can also lead to serious impairment.
  • Avoid exercising with a hangover.
  • Have enough fruits and vegetables in a day for optimum health. They all contain various levels of water and important nutrients essential to the body.
  • Another option is to replace fluid and sodium losses with watery foods that contain salt and potassium, such as soup and vegetable juices.
  • Drinking a predetermined number of ounces throughout the day (such as at meals, and before, during, and after a workout) will also keep you on track.
  • Chia Seeds - When you consume water-logged chia seeds before exercise or a day in the sun, they will progressively release the water as your body digests them, keeping your system hydrated

Water is truly the decoction of life. As you experience all the wonderful milestones of summer, remember to have plenty of water and eat a diet rich in hydrating whole fruits and vegetables to keep you going strong and healthy all summer. Your body and mind will thank you.

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