By Khanyisile Msebenzi.
The adult human body is up to 60% water. The brain is 73% water and lungs are about 83% water. The skin is 64% water, and muscles and kidneys are 79% water. Our bones are 31% water.
Without water our bodies will not function, we must consume minimum quantities of water per day for our body to function optimally, women need about 2.2 litres of water a day and men about 3 litres of water a day. Water is vital for life.
- Water itself is a nutrient, it is part of every cell, the building block for all our cells
- Water metabolises and transports carbohydrates and proteins our body uses as food
- Water flushes waste and toxins from our body through urine
The ability for water to dissolve and carry so many vitamins and nutrients makes it a life force for everything living.
But in our busy lives we tend to drink less water than we should. And yet we need water to energise the body, concentrate and be productive. We also need water to rest and sleep deeply.
Here are ways to make sure your body stays hydrated:
- If you work out, be sure to drink a big gulp of water every 10 – 20mins of exercise.
- Sip on sports drinks or coconut water during exercise longer than an hour to replace electrolytes in your body.
- Fruits are good sources of water and electrolytes, watermelon is very hydrating and banana is high in electrolyte potassium.
- Have a glass of water for every cup of coffee or sugary or alcoholic drink you take.
- Carry a water bottle with you, add fruit like lemon or strawberry to add flavour naturally to your water. Take a gulp of water every hour to stay hydrated without having to pee as much. This ensures you stay hydrated in dehydrating environments like air-conditioned rooms.
What are electrolytes and why do they matter?
Electrolytes are composed of sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium. These nutrients are critical for the health and functioning of our nerves and muscles. Electrolytes are easily lost when we sweat or when we have a runny tummy or diarrhoea.
Beauty Benefits of being Hydrated:
- Plump skin, when you are dehydrated your skin loses water and elasticity and wrinkles set in easier, hydrated skin is less prone to wrinkling. Hydration slows the ageing process.
- Hydrated and moisturized skin starts from the inside, if you suffer from constant dry, flaky skin, it is likely that you are dehydrated, remember skin is 64% water. If you are dehydrated your skin will also be dehydrated no matter what you apply on it topically.
- Keeping hydrated gives you clearer facial skin. When the body is dehydrated it sends messages to the skin’s oil glands to produce oil as a defence mechanism. When skin is hydrated it produces less oil and acne is less aggravated.
- When skin is dehydrated it looks dull and stores toxins, which lead to occurrence of patches of irritation and inflammation on the skin. Keep the body and skin hydrated for glowing skin.
- It’s the same for hair, hydration and moisturisation of hair starts from the inside. With our coily, curly, kinky hair, which is naturally dry, it is important to start hydration from the inside.
There is a difference between hydrating products and moisturising products for your skin. Hydrating products are water-based and increase water content in your skin to give it a plumper, fuller appearance. Moisturising products may also be water-based but most likely formulated containing heavier oils to prevent water evaporating from your skin.
The connection between water and sleep
The body needs sleep and rest as much as it needs exercise or water. We are able to exercise more and feel stronger and lighter when we have rested well.
- Hydrate evenly throughout the day to avoid feeling dehydrated and thirsty before you sleep as drinking a lot of water before bed will cause you to wake up multiple times at night disturbing your sleep and quality of rest.
- Our bodies do not only rest in sleep, they repair and rebuild, and the body needs water to repair and rebuild. Muscles are rebuilt in our sleep so we can train better the next day.
- Our body requires all kinds of hormones to function optimally; hormones are generated by the body when it gets adequate sleep and hydration.
- Our concentration is better when we are rested and hydrated, the brain is 73% water.