Ever wondered why your dietitian will always stress that you drink lots of clean safe water? Your answer can be: To hydrate…. that is a good guess. But why are we so concerned about hydrating our bodies? Well you are about to find out…………………
Water serve a lot of functions in our body and it is crucial to our health and well being. Water is the single largest component of the body. At birth water accounts for 75-85% of total body weight. It account for 60-70% total body weight in lean adults and 45-55% of total body weight in obese adults. This magical fluid:
- Aids in digestion, absorption and excretion of waste from our bodies
- Acts as transport medium for water soluble vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, vitamin c, Vitamin B6 etc and all other body substances
- Maintains body temperature
- Prevent constipation
When to consume this magical fluid…
Water is continuously eliminated from our bodies and thus the need for hydrating often. Water is lost via urine, sweating and insensible loss.
Thirst is usually an adequate signal for the need to consume water except in infants and very active individuals. Ill and older people may have diminished thirst so they should drink water frequently and not rely on thirst. Water should be consumed throughout the day.
Start your day with a glass of water, drink water before each meal, also drink water in between meals and drink water each time before you engage in exercise. This is called prehydration and it helps to prevent post workout dehydration in intense exercises.
Tips to increase water/fluid intake
- Consume more fruits and vegetable throughout the day
- Set a reminder on your phone
- Add pieces of lemon, strawberries and cucumber or any other fruits in the water for flavour
- Exercise regularly, it stimulates thirst
How much water should we drink?
The South African guidelines states that we should drink lots of clean safe water (6-8 glasses of water per day). Water from dams, rivers, fountains and streams are not always safe to drink so this water needs to be boiled before drinking. Tap water is usually safe to drink. Water consumption depends on the body size and height of an individual. No type of fluid can replace water because the body still need water in its purest form to perform bodily functions and process.
Solids foods can contribute to about 3 cups of fluids a day. Fruits and vegetable have the highest water content as compared to any other foods. For example:
(US department of agriculture. May, 2006)
‘’Choose you drink wisely’’
Pure water is your best bet, you can’t go wrong. Milk, soda, fruit juices are also fluids but they come with extra sugars and caffeine that you don’t need for hydration purposes.
On average commercially produced sugary drinks contain the following amounts of sugar per 250ml serving:
- Sweetened fizzy drinks: 6 ½ -8 ½ teaspoons
- Energy drink: 6- 7 ½ teaspoons
- Fruit juice: 6-8 teaspoons
- Sweetened milk or yoghurt based drinks: 3 ½ -6 ½ teaspoons
- Sweetened iced tea: 4-5 teaspoons
- Sports drinks: 2-6 teaspoons
- Sweetened drinks, such as sweetened flavoured water, vitamin enriched water and coconut water: 2-4 teaspoons
It is important that we drink enough water to keep our bodies functioning efficiently and effectively. Positive attitude and lifestyle is all you need to stay healthy and hydrated.
‘’Choose your drink wisely – choose water. ’
by Mosley Mabotja