By| Published: April 30th, 2017
Have there been days when you felt so thirsty that all you wanted to do was to drink bottles of water at one go?
Water is essential for life. Two-thirds of human body is comprised of water and requires hydration on regular intervals to function normally.
What is Hydration?
Hydration is addition of water into the body to balance its blood chemistry, muscle contraction and acid-base balance amongst others. Approximately 2.5 litters of water is needed daily to maintain good health.
Even though water keeps the body hydrated, it alone cannot replace the essential nutrients that the body needs to maintain, therefore certain foods that help balance the water levels with its nutrient content should be consumed
- Water: Water helps body deliver the needed fluid without adding calories or potentially damaging teeth.
- Tea/Coffee: Caffeine-based drinks tea and coffee also deliver water. However, the sugar content in them can increase the calorie count and harm the body in the long run. Another alternative one can choose is herbal drinks.
- Milk: It is a source of important nutrients such as calcium, protein, and B vitamins, along with water.
- Fruit Juices/Smoothies: Fruit juices and smoothies are known to be a source of water apart from providing vitamins and minerals. Smoothies contain pureed fruit that is rich in fibre. However, they contain sugar and the extra calories can be harmful. The acidic nature of the fruit juices can also potentially harm teeth. Therefore, it is recommended to consume these beverages in moderation.
- Coconut Water: Coconut water is a powerhouse of nutrients- vitamins minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, and phytohormones. Not only does it help beat the heat and quench thirst; but helps replenish fluid and electrolytes in the body.
- Oral Rehydration Solution: ORS also can help balance the body’s fluid levels, when there is severe case of dehydration. It should be considered only under the recommendation of healthcare specialist.
Food, along with water, also provides some vitamins and minerals to balance the body’s hydration levels. It is said that food provides about 20% of the total fluid intake.
- Foods that contain potassium: Source of potassium, banana is known to help replace the lost fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Other sources of potassium include green leafy vegetables, potato, curd, and mushroom amongst others.
- Foods that contain sodium: Salt helps replace the lost sodium and chloride levels in the body that are likely to be lost during dehydration. Sources of sodium include vegetable juices, broths and soups. In some cases of dehydration, a glass of salt water can help replenish the loss of fluids and electrolytes.
- Foods that contain calcium: The calcium stores in the body can be replaced by consuming foods such as yogurt, fish, eggs and other milk products.
- Foods that contain magnesium: Nuts such as almonds and peanuts are good sources of magnesium. They are known to balance the electrolytes in the body, thus keeping the body hydrated.
Invisible enemies of hydration:
- Alcoholic drinks: Drinking alcohol increases the amount of water loss in the form of urine. It is better to avoid the intake of alcohol.
- Kidney-related disorders: Individuals who are suffering from kidney ailments, should consult a doctor to follow the desired fluid replacement method, thus creating healthy habits for good health.
To conclude, as we age, our senses weaken and it includes the sense of thirst. This is when we should take extra care to keep the body hydrated. Also, physical activities like playing sports leads to imbalance of body fluids and electrolytes. Moreover, summer season is a time when we lose more liquids and it is important to be hydrated with both food and water. Stay hydrated! Stay healthy and happy this summer!