Hydration is an important aspect of good nutrition for everyone, it is the key to maintaining good health and all over wellbeing.
Water is an essential to health and is one of the six basic nutrients, but is often overlooked.
Although we can live up to fifty days without food we can only survive a number of days without water
Your body depends on water to survive water accounts for about half to two thirds of your body weight. Fat tissue has a lower percentage of water than lean tissue and women tend to have more fat than men so the percentage of body weight in the average women is lower (52-55%) than the average man (60%)
The percentage of body weight that is water in the elderly is also lower and in obese people. The percentage of body weight is the highest at birth and early childhood.
Water intake must balance water loss, to maintain the water balance within the body and protect against dehydration and other associated conditions, the healthy adult should drink about two litre water a day. Drinking too much water is usually better than drinking too little because excreting excess water is easier for the body than conserving water.
The body obtains water primarily from by absorbing from the digestive tract
The body loses water primarily by excreting it in urine from the kidneys. Depending on the body’s needs the kidneys may excrete less than a pint or up to several gallons of urine a day. About one and a half pints of water is lost a daily when water evaporates from the skin and is breathed out by the lungs.
Usually people can drink enough water fluids to compensate excess water loss through high temperature, severe vomiting, diarrhoea medication etc, people may feel too ill to drink enough water, to compensate for the water loss, dehydration may occur.
As humans age their thirst response naturally decreases the individual becomes accustomed to the lower fluid intake and the body adapts quickly resulting in a reduced urge to quench their thirst.
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in dehydration is particularly common among the older people because their thirst centre may not function as well as younger people the body will supress the signals of dehydration, in the body. Therefore, some older people may not recognize that they are becoming dehydrated, certain medical conditions can increase the excretion of urine and thereby lead to dehydration,
At first dehydration stimulates the thirst centre of the brain causing thirst, a powerful motivator for people to drink more fluids. If water intake does not keep up with the water loss, dehydration can become more severe.
Sweating decreases and less urine is excreted water moves from inside the cells to the bloodstream to maintain the needed amount of blood and blood pressure.
If dehydration continues, tissues of the body begin to dry out and cells begin to shrivel and malfunction occurs.
Every cell and organ is dependent on water to function correctly eg your body uses water to water to maintain temperature, remove waste, lubricates joints and muscles, a healthy blood flow, kidney function to name a few of its functions water is needed to maintain good health.
In severe dehydration the sensation of thirst may actually decrease and blood pressure fall causing damage to internal organs such as kidneys, liver, and brain occur.
The body cannot produce water many people believe drinking liquids like fruit juice, tea, coffee, soda will keep the body hydrated as well as water, the truth is these beverages contain copious amounts of sugar, salt that are absorbed and the excreted by the body resulting in further dehydration.
Dehydration is one of the major causes of disease, by everyone increasing their water intake it could improve ones health as studies have shown a number of illnesses especially kidney function, urine tract infections poor concentration and brain function to name but a few.
When the body becomes dehydrated it will affect the electrolyte balance within the body.
Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge, they are in blood, urine and body fluids, maintaining the right balance of electrolytes helps your body’s blood chemistry, muscle action and other processes.
There are several different types of electrolytes each have their own function.
The levels of electrolytes in the body and their balance, affects the amount water in the body, the acidity (PH) of the blood and other processes,
Levels of electrolytes in your body can become too high or too low, that can happen when the amount of water in your body changes, causing dehydration or over hydration.
Electrolytes take on a positive or negative charge, when they dissolve in your body fluids, this enables them to conduct electricity and move electrical charges or signals throughout the body.
These charges are crucial to many functions that keep you alive, including the operation of your brain, nerves, and muscles and the creation of new tissue.
Examples of electrolytes are calcium, magnesium potassium, and sodium.
An electrolyte imbalance may create a number of symptoms depending which electrolyte balance is affected
You may experience:
- muscle spasm,
- Irregular heart beat
- blood pressure changes
The first step to correcting the electrolyte balance is to identify how it developed in the first place. For many people a poor diet that’s high in processed foods containing sodium but low in other electrolytes like magnesium, or potassium.
Hydration is also influenced by fat and oil intake. The omega 3 essential fatty acids in particular play a key role in maintaining cellular hydration. The essential fatty acids are involved in the production of tissue hormones which have a range of functions including regulating cell hydration
Essential fatty acids need to be taken in through the diet as the body is incapable of creating them hence the essential fatty acids the ratio of omega 6-omega 3 should be 2-1 through the typically western diet usually consumes a ratio 6-1 or higher this imbalance creates deficiency in omega fatty acids which may be contributing factor to many common lifestyle diseases.
Focus on your diet around whole foods unpackaged foods especially plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit.
Restore Balance provides holistic therapies such as aromatherapy massage, deep tissue massage, indian head massage, hot stone massage, crystal healing reiki healing, spiritual healing, energy healing.
Restore Balance is based in Brecon, in the Brecon Beacons National Park, we hope you found this post useful. For any further information please contact us.