Hydration 101.

Are you drinking enough water?  Is a question we often get asked, but;

Are you drinking clean water?   Is probably a better question, or even;

What are you eating and drinking that may be affecting your absorption of water?

As always the answers are complicated, so first let’s look at some background on the body and why we need water in the first place.

  • In lean adults, fluids make up 55% (women) – to 60% (men) of body mass.
  • Fluids are present in two main compartments – inside cells and outside cells (intracellular & extracellular fluid).
  • Most minerals solutes in the body fluids are electrolytes, inorganic compounds that break apart into ions when dissolved in water; examples of these are calcium, potassium and sodium.  Electrolytes are needed for absorption of water by the body. 
  • The body gains water from both liquids & foods; as well as making its own water via metabolic reactions.

We now know how important water is to bodily functions, so just what type and how much should we be drinking?

How much?

How much will vary from person to person, and takes into consideration your age, activity level and how often you ingest diuretics.

A quick way to gain your minimum daily water intake, is to take your body weight in kgs, and divide by 30; this will give you the number of litres of water you need to drink as a minimum each day.  For example, if I weigh 65kg, and divide by 30, my water intake will be 2.1L daily at a minimum.

What is effecting absorption?

Diuretics are substances that draw water from the cells and encourage the kidneys to eliminate water, leaving us in a state of dehydration.  The most common diuretics in the modern diet are:

  • coffee/ tea;
  • alcohol;
  • sugar, and;
  • pharmaceutical drugs.

If, like me, you enjoy a morning cup of joe, or an evening glass of vino, you need to up your intake to ensure proper hydration.  For every diuretic beverage you consume you need to drink another glass of water.

What kind?

In the Western World we are fortunate enough to have clean drinking water piped into the comfort of our homes.  But this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for our body.

Tap water contains a number of less-than-ideal contaminants, including:

  • Chlorine – which can kill the good bacteria in our intestinal tract.
  • Fluoride – added to the water to strengthen teeth, fluoride is currently banned in Sweden, Denmark and Holland, and abandoned in Germany.  It is a poison in concentrated form; and adverse effects include hypothyroidism, kidney disease, reduced fertility, cancer, and birth defects.
  • Traces of lead, radon, nitrates, pesticides, and disinfectants .

 

There are several types of pure water sources available.  Here are a few you may like to choose from:

  • Bottled water – if choosing bottled water, glass is better, as the BPA’s from plastic don’t leech into the water.  If choosing plastic, go for hard plastic over soft plastic.
  • Charcoal filters – have been treating water since biblical times; they remove chlorine, sediment, organic compounds, taste and odour from water.
  • Carbon block filters – remove metals, copper, chlorine, lead, and sediment; some filters claim to remove bacteria, while others (i.e Brita) do not remove bacteria.
  • Reverse osmosis – removes contaminants, but is neutral in relation to minerals; so you may need to supplement.
  • Distilled water – tends to be acidic, and distilled water can actually pull minerals from the body.

I personally use a Brita carbon block filter and find it cheap and convenient.  What water do you like to drink?  Leave you comments below.

Happy H2O drinking!

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