Water – The Most Important Element of Your Nutritional Intake
Depending on who you listen to, water makes up between 55% and 65% of our bodies. Everything in us contains water – skin, hair, teeth, nails, muscles blood – everything. With most of a cell being filled with liquid, when you are dehydrated you are literally breaking down from the inside.
You can live for weeks without food but only days without water – think about that and re-address your approach to fluid intake.
I perform body analysis’ on numerous people on a weekly basis, and the kit I use can accurately gauge the water content of the body. With my new clients, almost every single one is dehydrated, meaning they simply aren’t drinking enough water. Having been working in this industry for 10 years, I have built up enough measurements to apply the findings to a wider audience and the evidence I have collected shows that most of us (well over 90%) are dehydrated to some degree.
I have seen lots of people who come to me complaining about all kinds of health issues, and my approach to treatment is obviously somewhat different to a doctor. I use movement, food and water as my medicine. Over the years I have helped many people overcome puzzling ailments with the simplest of treatments. These clients have approached me having been told by their doctor that there is nothing wrong with them.
Bear in mind, their Doctor isn’t necessarily wrong by telling them there isn’t a problem – they are looking for obvious signs of illness or injury using a variety of different diagnostic tools such as scans, x-rays, blood chemistry, microbiological tests. If there isn’t anything obviously wrong then medically speaking, the patient is fine.
The problem with dehydration is that the issues it causes don’t always have an obvious explanation – who would link joint pain with lack of water, for example? To the layperson (and many ill-informed Doctors), nutrition and hydration aren’t even considered as part of the causation of minor illness or injury. The standard western treatment for minor issues seems to be ‘take a painkiller and rest’. Not good enough.
There are surprising number of common complaints that I have seen cleared up simply by increasing water intake. This list is a few that spring to mind…
- Joint ache
- Bowel issues
- Poor concentration
That’s not to say if you are suffering from any of these the problem is simply dehydration – always have the problems checked by a doctor if they continue, just look at your nutrition and fluid intake before you go down a medical route as you may be able to avoid potentially unnecessary and harmful drugs by simply correcting your nutrition.
What negatively affects your hydration?
There are a number of lifestyle factors that affect hydration, some of which may not be easily avoidable (and some, like exercise, that shouldn’t be avoided). You just have to take these into account and make sure you drink extra water to make allowances for any losses. This list isn’t exhaustive, but it gives you an idea of a few major factors that may be present in your life.
- Salty foods
- Highly-caffienated drinks
How much water should I be drinking?
As I mentioned, well over 90% of the people I test are dehydrated until they are given advice on their water intake.
I typically advise 1 litre of water per 50lbs of bodyweight – this came from Dr John Berardi and hasn’t failed me yet. This seems to provide enough insurance cover all of the lifestyle factors that dehydrate and ensure that my clients avoid all of the health issues associated with dehydration. You can further boost your fluid intake with fruits and vegetables – water rich foods.
One word of warning – if you are dehydrated and ramp up your water intake, you will be visiting the toilet much more often.
Please though, don’t see this as a problem – we are supposed to go to the toilet! It isn’t normal to go once or twice per day and excrete strong, dark brown urine. Remember urine is WASTE – you want to go to the toilet often. If you don’t, you are holding onto waste products, and nobody wants that!
So, remember to keep taking in lots of water – it really is the most important element of your nutrition! Having a good fluid balance will prevent lots of common ailments and keep you on a healthy path.