The Importance of Hydration
Hydration. We drink fluids every day without even thinking about it. But what is so important
about water and making sure you stay hydrated? The body is mainly composed of water in the
form of blood and other bodily fluids. It is in every cell of your tissues, in your organs, it is
located in your tissues. The body uses water for temperature regulation, for carrying nutrients
and minerals throughout the body, for cushioning (around the spinal cord and brain as well as
between joints), removal of waste products and digestion as well as several other functions.
The human body is constantly losing water. This water loss occurs through perspiration – our
body is constantly perspiring through our skin, digestion and urination. It is important to stay
hydrated so the body can carry out these functions easily and efficiently. When we are
dehydrated, there are several things that may happen to our bodies.
We may experience:
- Increased risk for heatstroke
- Muscle cramps and spasms, notably in the calves or sides of the abdomen
- Feel light-headed and dizzy
A goal of 6 to 8 glasses of water per day is the recommended goal to stay well hydrated. Water is
the best fluid to drink although other drinks and food can also help with hydration. Beware that
those other drinks and foods can potentially add lots of extra calories to your diet. If you choose
to consume caffeine, drink it in moderation since caffeine can have a diuretic effect, meaning it
causes you to urinate more often. Water is also found in most fruits and vegetables. Watermelon,
strawberries and cantaloupe have some of the highest water content for fruits, while cucumbers,
lettuce, zucchini, radish and celery have the highest water content for vegetables. In addition to
their water content, these foods provide us with nutrients, minerals and fibre as well.
Sometimes when we are dehydrated, we feel hungry. Next time you start to feel hungry, try
drinking a glass of water. Water may be all you need!