Let's Talk about Moisturizing, Inside and Out
It’s still Summer! YAY!!!
Whether you're staying in or going out (safely). It is still important to stay hydrated.
Why We Need Water
The truth is that water is not my favorite beverage. In my Heaven, cappuccino would be the essential fluid, burgers and fries would be health food, and milk chocolate would contain all the essential nutrients in the recommended daily allowances. But that’s my Heaven; things seem to be arranged a little differently here on Earth. So, I drink water, lots of water.
Water is an interesting substance. It is an inorganic, transparent, colorless, odorless fluid. It has no calories and provides no organic nutrients. For such an apparently “nothing” substance, it’s actually quite startling just how indispensable it is to organic life forms.
Every cell, every organ, and all the tissue in the human body need water. Water regulates body temperature, it lubricates joints, it carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, and it helps to dissolve minerals and other nutrients so that they are accessible to the body. It also flushes out toxins and waste (and helps to keep your bowels regular).
How Does the Body Lose Water?
The body naturally loses a certain amount of water every day through four natural processes:
- Urine: that’s obvious – fluid in, piddle out
- Sweat: the body’s way of staying cool
- Breath: water leaves via the lungs when we exhale
- Feces: a small amount of water leaves via the bowels
The body can also lose a significant amount of water from diarrhea, vomiting, fever, increased urination (sometimes caused by diuretics and some blood pressure medications).
The lost water has to be replaced or dehydration occurs. Dehydration is not merely feeling thirsty (by the time you feel thirst, you might already be a little dehydrated). Dehydration is when your body doesn’t have enough fluid to operate properly. You’ve lost more fluid than you’ve taken in and your body becomes unable to carry out normal functions.
Symptoms of moderate dehydration include:
- Dry mouth
- Weakness in muscles
More severe dehydration (loss of 10-15 percent of the body’s water) can cause:
- Sunken eyes
- Shriveled and dry skin
- Low blood pressure
- Increase heart rate
And if that isn’t enough of a horror show, there is also some evidence to suggest that not drinking enough water during your period can lead to cramps and discomfort.
(scroll down to read more)
Sources of Hydration
A glass of water is an obvious source of, well, water. If plain water doesn’t appeal to you, you can always dress it up a bit with some lemon or lime, or some mint. (I keep waiting for some “expert” to say that 8 cups of coffee every day will keep you well-hydrated, but that hasn’t happened yet).
As a caution, try to stay away from alcohol. Alcohol will actually remove water from your tissues. The University of Nevada School of Medicine explains why: “Alcohol gets broken down by your body into different compounds. The alcohol chemical itself tells your kidneys to make more urine than normal. So you urinate more. The more you urinate, the more dehydrated you become.”
But a glass of water is not the only source of fluid. There are many foods that are made up largely of water that are excellent sources of hydration and nutrition:
- Brussel sprouts
How Much is Enough?
You might have heard that you should drink eight 8-ounces glasses of water a day. That’s probably a good general guide, but some people may need less than that and some may need more than that. Some of the factors that contribute to how much water someone needs are:
If you’ve worked up a sweat exercising, you need to drink extra water to replace the fluid loss. Hot, humid weather can also make you sweat, increasing the need to up your water intake.
The body’s fluids are lost if you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Sometimes bladder infections and urinary tract stones will cause fluid loss.
Your doctor might tell you to drink extra fluids to compensate for the loss.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Pregnant women and nursing mothers need extra fluids. The Office on Women’s Health recommends 10 cups of fluid a day for pregnant women, and 13 cups a day for women who are breast-feeding.
According to the Mayo Clinic, your fluid intake is probably adequate if you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow.
What About Electrolytes?
Your body needs electrolytes, chemicals that conduct electricity when mixed with water, to regulate nerve and muscle function, balance blood acidity, and help rebuild damaged tissue. The major electrolytes are sodium, potassium, and chloride.
There are others such as calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and bicarbonate.
Electrolytes are lost when bodily fluids are lost, especially from illness or dehydration, and it’s important to replace them. You can get the little packets of electrolytes from the local health food store, or you can get electrolytes from some beverages such as sports drinks (but watch out for the ones with a lot of sugar). Or you could eat and drink your way to electrolyte sufficiency. Many foods and beverages such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, some dairy products, tomato juice, orange juice and milk contain electrolytes.
Everyone is different, and everyone’s needs are different. A health care professional can give you advice about the fluid intake and electrolyte balance that’s right for you.
Staying hydrated can be helpful in avoiding menstrual cramps. Another thing that can help relieve menstrual discomfort is NannoPads. Join the thousands of women who love their NannoPads. You can order yours here.