The Importance of Daily Hydration

Water is life

Water is vital for all living things in order to survive and thrive. Humans can only go one week without water but can go an entire month without food. It is the most abundant and important substance for both the earth and the human body. Humans are about 60% water and use water as the primary component for all bodily fluids, including blood, lymph, digestive juices, urine, tears and sweat. Water plays an integral role in circulation, digestion, absorption and elimination of waste and helps lubricate and cushion the joints in our body. If there is a 4% loss in water, the body will experience exsiccosis, commonly known as dehydration. A body water loss of 15% can be fatal. Here are just a few of the many bodily functions that become impaired during dehydration:

  • Waste products build up in the body because there is a decrease in urine and bowel movements. 
  • Regulating body temperature is difficult because of the absence of moisture loss through sweat; and 
  • Wound healing is compromised because the water in the bloodstream carries repair substances to the wound site.
Photo: Matt Burbach

 While focusing on drinking water throughout the day is beneficial, it’s also important to consider how our food choices can impact our hydration status. Water is produced in our body cells through the metabolism (chemical breakdown) of fat, alcohol, protein and carbohydrates and can actually provide more than half our daily water requirement. 

Foods & Their water content:

 

Food

Water Content (%)

Meat

 

Pork, raw

53-60

Beef, raw

50-70

Chicken, raw without skin

74

Fish

65-81

Fruit

 

Berries, cherries, pears

80-85

Apples, peaches, oranges, grapefruit

80-85

Strawberries, rhubarb

90-95

Vegetables:

 

Beets, broccoli, carrots, potatoes

80-85

Asparagus, green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce

90-95

Spinach

92

Food Items:

 

Pasta, Ice cream

60-69

Pizza

40-49

Bagels, Bread

30-39

Cereals, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter, pretzels

1-9

Photo: Tim Behuniak

Notice, the foods that are more processed or further away from its natural source have less water content. Fueling ourselves with the rich diversity of fruits and vegetables will give our bodies a better chance to absorb, digest, lubricate, and stay at the healthy balanced levels we need for optimal health.

 

There is a strong synergistic relationship between our performance capacity as athletes and hydration status. Water requirements can vary from person to person but key determinants include activity levels, training environment (climate), sweat rate, and diet. Taking stock of these factors can help an individual understand fluid balance and what changes or alterations could result in more energy, better performance and improved health.

 

To find out your personal water loss during exercise, visit this blog on Gnarly Nutrition’s website and conduct a sweat test for yourself. Understanding how much water you lose will help create a hydration plan during exercise, especially those that last longer than an hour in time.

So whether you are getting ready for a race and need to design a hydration strategy, moving to a new environment, or simply learning the water content of food- all are relevant in the full compass of appreciation towards water and its value in how we feel every day.

Stay hydrated

Erin Butler

Erin Butler

Erin Butler is a proud lifelong resident of Utah. Her engagement with the diverse, exercise and outdoor sports communities in Salt Lake City has become a defining aspect for her life. Erin is a Certified Nutrition Therapist, certified NCI level 1, a personal trainer, and is currently getting her diploma in sports specific nutrition. Nutrition and exercise are ever-evolving and Erin’s ear is always to the ground. Bio-individuality and personalized training programs drive her custom services with the understanding that there’s no one size fits all program. Erin loves the work she does that fine-tunes the balance between both body and mind. Find her at http://be-nutrition.com and on IG @erin.m.butler

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