Updated: Jan 10
By: Pam Smith, RDN
Water is not just a drink – it is an essential nutrient for your body! First, along with a proper protein and salt intake, water works to release excess stores of fluid, much like priming a pump. Second, water transports the energy nutrients throughout your body and is essential for maintaining your body temperature. Third, water helps you digest food and maintain proper bowel function.
Water is the only liquid we consume that doesn’t require the body to work to metabolize or excrete it. Other beverages, like tea, coffee and sodas, although water-based, contain pollutants that interfere with the body’s excretion. This is especially important for men, who are more susceptible to a form of “gouty arthritis,” the painful build-up of uric acid crystals deep within the joints of elbows, shoulders, knees, and feet.
So Drink! Drink! Drink!
Water that is! Here is some more information about this oh-so-critical beverage of champions!
It may be hard to believe, but the number one factor for fatigue is dehydration. The heat of Summer will remind us – and it is absolutely critical for exercising without damaging our muscles. Proper drinking habits are the best way to approach the days with boundless energy and protection for our body.
You really are “all wet.” In fact, your body is composed primarily of water. It is 92% of your blood plasma, 80% of your muscle mass, 60% of your red blood cells and 50% of everything else. Every cell in your body relies on water to dilute biochemicals, vitamins, and minerals to the right concentrations. It also is a primary factor in the transporting ability of the bloodstream. Water is vital to the maintenance of proper muscle tone and function. If you are dehydrated, your muscles will only work to 30-35% of their capacity causing tiredness, aching, and potential injury.
Water works to keep the skin healthy, resilient and wrinkle-resistant. It could honestly be labeled an anti-aging ingredient!
Water has been shown to reduce the risk of fatal heart attack. Five glasses of water per day reduces risk by about 50% (54% for men and 41% for women) compared to drinking only two glasses per day. Water helps to thin the blood, making it less likely to clot and cause blockages.
Use these Tips to Stay Hydrated
Start your day with 8-16 ounces of water. Drink a glass of water while your coffee is brewing or when preparing breakfast.
Get your 8-a-day, eight glasses that is. This is at least 64 ounces per day. Get more on hot days or when doing physical activities.
Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink – it’s too late, you are already dehydrating. Be proactive! – Keep water where you are, inside and out.
If you crave salt, go for water. Once your fluid stores drop below a certain level, your thirst mechanism cuts off all together. What turns on is your desire for salt or salty foods. It’s a survival mechanism because salt holds fluids in the body. Don’t let your body trick you; drink up!