Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60% of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. Water regulates body temperatures, eliminates toxins, carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, and provides a moist environment for body tissues and joints.
An appropriate water and electrolyte balance are critical for the function of all body systems. Ensuring your electrolytes are balanced means that you need more then just water to stay hydrated this summer.
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are vital minerals that are electrically charged (sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate and magnesium) and play a role in muscle contraction and various other physiological processes.
Did you know that 20% of your hydration could come from fruits and vegetables, reports The Institute of Medicine.
Staying hydrated is of top importance especially during hotter months. If you are exercising in the heat, dehydration can cause blood volume to drop, which lowers the body’s ability to transfer heat (sweat) and forces your heart to beat faster, making it difficult for the body to meet aerobic demands. You can also experience fatigue, headaches and constipation from being dehydrated.
Fact: During exercise, especially in the heat, individuals can sweat as much as 1.5 litres of water per hour.
It is very important to avoid dehydration and maintain electrolyte balance. Always try to match fluid consumption with sweat loss.
Don’t wait to drink until you feel thirsty. Unfortunately, thirst is usually perceived too late. You may not feel thirsty until they have lost approximately 1-3 pounds of body/water weight.
If you are concerned about fluid loss the best way to ensure you are properly hydrated is to weigh yourself before and after exercise.
Hydration Equation: Approximately 16 ounces or 0.5 liter of water should be consumed for every pound lost.
We can all agree that water gets boring sometimes, however it’s essential to drink 8 to 10 glasses of clear, decaffeinated, uncarbonated water throughout the day to maintain proper fluid levels.
5 Hydrating Fruits and Vegetables
Watermelon contains 92% water, 8% natural sugar, and essential electrolytes such as, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Watermelon is rich in Vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene which will give the body protection from UV light.
Cucumbers have 96% water content and a good balance of electrolytes such as, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. The mineral, silica, also found in cucumber is essential for healthy, lubricated connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone.
Celery is considered to be a powerful electrolyte food. As little as two to three mineral-rich stalks of celery can replenish an athlete’s sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc levels after intense exercise.
Broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. It contains 90% water and many health supporting compounds which are anti-inflammatory, others protect DNA with their antioxidant capacity, anti-cancer nutrients are found in broccoli and those that help to detoxify the vast number of potential toxins that we encounter each day.
Potassium is important for muscle contraction and the rhythm of the heart. The majority of potassium in the body is stored within the cells, so small changes in the concentration of potassium in the bloodstream can have serious health consequences. Cantaloupe, a potassium rich fruit provides 29 calories and is made up of 89% water. Cantaloupe is an exceptionally good fruit for supporting energy production through its efficient carbohydrate metabolism and ability to keep the blood sugar stable.
Hydration Tip: Drink water through a straw.
There’s no scientific research to back this theory up but it’s much easier to consume water when you drink through a straw. Add some cucumber and lemons to your water to boost the flavor.