I’m sharing another interesting Health article written by author and nutritional therapist, Sally Cronin in her Smorgasbord Health Blog Magazine series. In this issue, Sally informs us about the importance of drinking enough water for our body to function optimally, as well Sally warns us, yes, there is such a thing as drinking too much water!
Smorgasbord Health Column – Feeling sluggish and fatigued? Dehydration or the wrong fluids!
I have posted on dehydration before and it is very important that at all ages we take in sufficient fluids. Babies and the elderly dehydrate very quickly and this is dangerous. Currently many of us are in lock down with restricted access to the fresh air and exercise. Those of us heading into winter are now putting our central heating on which does create additional fluid loss.
However, there are times when drinking too much water, particularly in recovery from an illness when food has not been consumed, can have a negative impact on the body and your health.
In this post I am going to look at both sides of the coin to show you how important it is to take in the right fluids.
Recently I noticed that there were a few articles by the experts in the field of nutrition on the subject of hydration. What worried me in particular was that they were touting the belief that you don’t need to drink anymore than your usual cups of tea and coffee as you will obtain sufficient from the food that you eat.
It is true that eating fresh vegetables and fruit will provide you with some fluids but it is still not enough to supply your body with life giving fluids.
We can live for around 6 minutes without air, 6 days without fluids and 6 weeks without food. The very young and the elderly however have a much shorter window than 6 days before dehydration begins to cause severe health issues. In my experience of elderly care most are suffering from borderline dehydration resulting in urinary tract infections, increased symptoms of dementia and if not reversed can become life-threatening very quickly.
Why do we need fluids?
We are as humans made of protein with the few other bits and pieces thrown in. Protein has an extremely high water content and if we were wrung out to dry we would lose approximately 75% of our body weight. It would be a great way to lose weight if we could just plug in a hose and siphon off a couple of gallons from time to time but unfortunately that would be another failed fad diet. Each major organ consists of fluid including the brain 70% the lungs 90% and 80% in blood. As you can imagine, if those major organs become dehydrated the body is going to demand immediate action.
As an estimate we need 1 litre of fluid for every 50lbs of body weight.
So if you weight 10 stone..140lbs – 63kilos.. you would need 2.5 litres per day in moderate amounts in varied fluids over 16 hours.
We need oxygen, fluid and food in that order
Not all fluids are created equal
- It is important to look at the quality of the fluids that you then are taking in.
- If you are eating a diet that is high in industrialised food, any fluid in the food will be contaminated with artificial flavourings, colourants and hydrogenated fats in many cases.
- If you drink a lot of coffee, which acts as a mild diuretic (and if you have gallbladder disease or have had it removed, diarrhea)
- Alcohol is a toxin that not only dehydrates the body but also impairs your kidney and liver function preventing them for removing those toxins from your body.
- Drinking fizzy sodas, diet or otherwise disrupts the blood sugar levels in your blood.
- Drinking excessive amounts of mineral water with a high sodium level can disrupt the balance of electrolytes in your system
- You can obtain fluid content from fruit and vegetables but depending on your environment (warm, hot) they would not be sufficient to supply all you need.
- Teas, especially green tea and herbal teas do contribute to your daily fluid allowance but essentially there is no substitute for clean tap water.
Here are the symptoms of dehydration that reinforce that concept.
Fatigue and sluggishness.
Our bodies are about balance and they work very hard to maintain the equilibrium whether it is between calcium and magnesium, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, acidity and alkalinity. Even the smallest changes in fluid balance can affect all the other functions within the body including heart function as the organ has to work harder in order to supply the body with the oxygen and nutrients it requires. . . continue reading at the Smorgasbord
I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.