Don’t Hate, Hydrate!

By Justinne Lou Go, RND

 

IT WAS one of the first things ever created in this world. It occupies majority of this planet. It is responsible for 60 per cent of our body weight. Wouldn’t you wonder why this essential element — water — is so perennial and yet many of us take it for granted?

We all know that water is a basic need; so basic such that we can forego the consumption of food for weeks and yet we cannot survive without water within just three to four days.

Wouldn’t you think that our bodies are more closely connected to the earth than we think? Just as people haphazardly leave the garbage around and these end up polluting our waters, if we do not care for our bodies by hydrating ourselves adequately, we will end up a wasteland full of toxins as well.

I know of a person who says she hates water (so, she only drinks juice or flavored water). And I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more like her. In fact, I used to be so “conservative” in drinking water that I would only drink 500 ml for a whole day (which is, fortunately, the minimum requirement for the kidney to still function efficiently but still not advisable). I just couldn’t seem to tolerate drinking so much water because I’d feel full or “bloated” or slightly dizzy if I drink “too much.” But, since I learned about the role of water in our bodies and what happens if we don’t drink enough (kidney insufficiency, or worse, failure) during my Anatomy and Physiology class, I was frightened enough to start working on the habit of drinking enough water every day. I bought a tumbler with a volume capacity of 500 ml and made it my goal to drink 2 bottles worth in the morning and later in the day.

Eventually, the habit was developed and now I can effortlessly drink two liters of water a day. I noticed that my skin was clearer, I was less constipated, had more energy (no daytime fatigue) and I could concentrate better!

Here are some of the top reasons why you should load up on enough water every day:

Hydration. The billions of cells in our body are made up of water, thus they need it for optimal function. Cells that are not hydrated well enough can become weak leading to a compromised immune system, making you vulnerable to illnesses. Water also acts as a lubricant for our joints and supports our organs.

Digestion.

Digestion starts in the mouth through our saliva. Saliva is made up of water and contains the enzyme that can initiate the breakdown of carbohydrates. There are also certain vitamins that are specifically absorbed with water (and others with fat). The water-soluble vitamins are the B vitamins and Vitamin C. Water also helps dissolve soluble fibers to promote bowel movement.

Detox.

Probably the most important role of water, it is needed most by the kidneys and liver to remove wastes from the body. And the wastes from our body are removed in the form of sweat, urine and stool.

Temperature regulator.

Sweating is our body’s way of regulating its temperature by releasing heat in the form of condensation. In cooler temperatures, the body also keeps blood away from the surface to keep our bodies insulated.

Dehydration is no joke.

A child left in a car without ventilation or an athlete exercising hard in extreme weather can both die within a few hours if they are not able to keep themselves hydrated. Even mild dehydration can cause dizziness, daytime fatigue, and being unable to concentrate.

So, how can you tell if you’re dehydrated? What goes in must come out. Check your urine. If it’s an apparent yellow, you’re definitely not drinking enough water. Light yellow urine would be the ideal hydration indicator. Check your body weight and be sensitive to thirst cues as well. Mild dehydration is indicated by a loss of two percent body weight. Never ignore thirst and the urge to pee. Just cooperate with your kidneys (and your brain)!

Since there are several factors (body size and composition, gender, age, physical activity) that can determine one’s daily fluid requirement, it is best to ask a Nutritionist-Dietitian exactly how much water you need to drink.

If the idea of drinking water still doesn’t warm up to you for now, why don’t you try this refreshing agua fresca recipe:

Watermelon Mint Agua Fresca

Makes 4 cups

4 cups water (or sparkling water!)
2 cups Watermelon, cubed
1 whole Lemon (or 10 pcs calamansi), sliced
¼ cup Mint leaves
Ice, to serve

Add the watermelon cubes, lemon slices, and mint leaves to the water in a pitcher or dispenser. Leave to soak (in the fridge or at room temp) for at least 20 minutes and serve with ice.

Note: You can also blend the fruits and add a teaspoon of stevia syrup or agave nectar and serve with ice and mint leaves.

justinnego@gmail.com

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