The Importance of Hydration For Your Body and Overall Health

Water is one of the most vital components of the human body and composes 60% of your body. Water regulates body temperature, surrounds and protects vital organs, and aids in the digestive process. Water also acts within each cell to transport nutrients and eliminate waste.

Water must be consumed to replace the amount lost each day during basic daily activities. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that women consume 2.7 liters (91 oz) daily and men consume 3.7 liters (125 oz) through various beverages (80%) or in food (20%). Active individuals need more water, particularly if they’re exercising in hot weather. Drinking water is especially important during the 24 hours before vigorous exercise. You can meet your body’s daily need of water through a variety of fluids and foods, including juices, smoothies, tea, soups, fruits, and vegetables.

In one hour of exercise, the body can lose more than a quart of water, depending on exercise intensity and air temperature. If there is not enough water for the body to cool itself through perspiration, your body may become dehydrated. Fluid intake is especially important for athletes because dehydration could lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

When I was training for the Boston marathon in cold New England weather, I had to practice drinking enough fluids because I did not know what the temperature was going to be on race-day (it was in the 80s!). Figuring out how to stay hydrated, but not overhydrated was important for my run and post-run success. For most individuals, water is the best way to replenish fluids during exercise. Sports drinks help replace lost electrolytes during high-intensity exercise exceeding 45 to 60 minutes. Individuals who sweat profusely during exercise and whose sweat contains a high amount of sodium should choose sports drinks and ensure that their diet contains adequate sodium to prevent hyponatremia (water intoxication).

Other signs of dehydration include lack of energy and muscle cramps. It is essential to consume water before the symptoms of thirst appear. One way to check your hydration level is to monitor your urine. It should be ample and pale yellow unless you are taking supplements, which will darken the color for several hours after consumption.

Hydration Hints (from the American Heart Association):

•    Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water two hours before the start of exercise.

•    Drink 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.

•    Drink 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.

Hint: Rehydration occurs faster in the presence of sodium, regardless of whether it is provided in a sports drink.

Happy Fourth of July!

Quote of the week:

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.”  

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recipe of the Week: Buffalo Cauliflower

I enjoyed this dish as an appetizer at a restaurant and searched for the recipe because it was so delicious. Great substitution for buffalo wings. Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

olive oil cooking spray

3/4 cup flour

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste

salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 heads cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup hot pepper sauce (I use Frank’s RedHot)

1 teaspoon honey

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.
  2. Mix flour, water, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together in a bowl using a whisk until batter is smooth and somewhat runny. Add cauliflower to batter and mix until cauliflower is coated; spread onto the baking sheet.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove saucepan from heat and stir hot pepper sauce and honey into butter until smooth. Brush hot sauce mixture over each cauliflower piece, repeating brushing until all the hot sauce mixture is used.
  5. Bake in the oven until cauliflower is browned, about 10 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and allow the cauliflower to cool 10 to 15 minutes.
Buffalo Cauliflower

Published by

Leslie Ouellette

Listening and learning about nutrition, exercise, and health-related issues has been a life-long passion turned into action. I am most passionate about my family, friends, and good health. I am a business professional with over 30 years of expertise in marketing, market research, communications, writing, and editing. @balancedhealthblog

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