Figures differ slightly, but most health professionals agree that at least 75% of the human body is made up of good ol’ H2O. You find the majority of the water inside your cells, while the rest is found outside the cells in the blood vessels and between the cells.
Water is considered an essential nutrient. It helps to move nutrients and waste through the body, maintain normal blood pressure, protect and cushion joints and organs, and regulate body temperature.
Hydration is a delicate balance and dehydration occurs when that balance is disrupted. When more water leaves the body than is taken in, dehydration occurs and there are more routes than you think for water to leave your body.
For instance, when you breathe out, you release a certain amount of moisture. That’s a form of water leaving your body. Other forms are more obvious such as sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, and during the elimination process. In more severe cases, a diabetic’s elevated blood sugar levels cause sugar to spill into the urine and water then follows. Burn victims become dehydrated because water seeps into the damaged skin.
|WHY IS HYDRATION IMPORTANT?|
The body’s hydration balancing act allows the body to move water from an area of abundance to an area of scarcity. For instance, if water within the blood vessels is lost or is getting low, the body moves water from the interior of your cells into your bloodstream. But this quick fix can’t last forever without signs of dehydration showing up. And it shouldn’t last any longer than it has to or cellular function is slowed and sometimes impaired.
It has been said that by the time you’re thirsty, it’s too late. Dehydration is already occurring somewhere in the body. So it’s important to ensure you’re drinking fluids throughout the day to replenish and balance out what you’re losing, especially during the hot summer months.
|SIGNS YOU MAY BE DEHYDRATED|
Dehydration can progress from something as simple as being thirsty to the following:
- decreased urine output
- dry mouth
- dry eyes
- the body loses it’s ability to sweat
- muscle cramps
- low blood pressure
- rapid heart rate
Your heart and brain get involved in this dehydration process as well. If your blood volume levels drop, the heart begins to beat harder to make up for the lack of volume. Your blood vessels constrict to maintain blood pressure but, as the lack of volume continues, this mechanism begins to fail.
Eventually, confusion and weakness occur as the brain and other vital organs begin to suffer from the lack of oxygen being delivered to them via the blood. Coma and organ failure can occur.
|WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT SOMEONE IS DEHYDRATED|
If you, or someone you know, become dehydrated, the first thing to do is take them out of the direct sunlight. Replenish their water very slowly with small sips every few minutes. Giving someone who is already dehydrated too much water can cause vomiting, and consequently, worsen the dehydration. If they don’t begin to respond favorably within 10-30 minutes, or if their condition worsens, take them to a doctor as soon as possible. Seniors tend to become dehydrated so if someone you love is in their senior years, try to ensure they’re getting their daily intake of fluids. Taking them out for a lovely afternoon tea is a great way to have your fluids together!
So what’s the good news here?! Well, the good news is it is easily within your power to stay hydrated and give your body the water is needs.
Obviously, drinking water puts water into your body. See the chart below for the recommended daily intake. If you don’t like the taste of water then you can try teas, low-sugar drinks, V8, low-sugar juices, cranberry juice blends, popsicles, watermelon, celery, grapes, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, peaches, low-sugar sorbets, low-sugar Powerade, bottled sparkling waters (no sugar). Grab a water bottle with a pull-up top on it when you sit down to watch TV instead of salty or sugary snacks. Sipping on the water bottle will be just as satisfying, mentally and orally, as snacking on potato chips and the cells in your body will thank you for it!
|Recommended Daily Intake of Water|
|Life Stage||Cups per day|
|1-3 years old
4-8 years old
|9-13 year-old girls
9-13 year-old boys
|14-18 years old
19 years and older
|14-18 years old
19 years and older
*from Eat Right Ontario
Carol Roy is a Natural Health Practitioner who received her diploma from the Alternative Medicine College of Canada in Montreal, Quebec. With 12 years experience in her area of expertise, natural health and wellness, Carol has also trained to become a fully qualified Reiki Master, Quantum Touch Practitioner, and Reflexologist.
The suggestions by Nutter’s Bulk & Natural Foods and the contents of this article
are recommendations only and not a substitute for any medical advice or a
replacement for any prescriptions. Seek medical advice for any health concerns.
Consult your health care provider before using any recommendations herein.