When it comes to hydration, we want our bodies to be like a soup, rather than a stew. Think about it, our amazing bodies have literally trillions of cells undergoing trillions of reactions every single second we are alive. Most of those reactions deal with the uptake of nutrients or the elimination of wastes. Would you think it would be easier for those reactions (movement of materials) to take place in a sludgy, crowded stew-ish environment, where everything is thick and cramped together, or in an environment much more like a free-flowing soup or a broth? If you said broth, you are right on the mark. You see, the body is made up of roughly 60% water, so you can visualize your body as a pot of soup where the cells make up the chunks, and 60% of it is water. Now think of dehydration as simply removing some of the water. What happens when we remove the water? The chunks in the soup get more crowded, and the soup starts to look more like a stew. When this happens in our bodies, it becomes much more difficult to transport materials (nutrients/wastes) to where they need to go, things get backed up, and we begin moving away from optimal function and health.
Why is dehydration dangerous?
As mentioned in the Insight, the symptoms of dehydration are anything from headaches and feelings of lethargy and/or dizziness, to numbness and tingling, but the earliest sign of dehydration is thirst. That’s right, by the time you feel thirsty you may have already lost up to 2% of your total water volume. Once again, how we feel is inaccurate for how healthy we are, and even scarier is that your overall ability to feel thirsty decreases with age - so it is even more important to add water, regardless of thirst, as we age. If that doesn’t get you to the canteen, then maybe this will: research by Dr. F Batmanghelidj, M.D discovered that “…dehydration produces stress, chronic pains and many degenerative diseases.”
Life causes us to lose our valuable water in a variety of ways, such as digestion, sweat, urination, and defecation. Even breathing causes a natural loss of water, and our bodies become more stew-like, which is why it is so critical to add water throughout the day. We can do that in two forms, through the water we consume and more importantly through the foods we consume. The more natural (from the earth) and more alive (fresh uncooked) our foods, the more water content held within them. Most of the foods we eat should be fresh vegetables and fruits which are loaded with water.
- Apples are 85% water
- Broccoli is 91% water
- Cucumbers are 96% water!
Think about it - do you feel more thirsty after eating a salad, or after eating potato chips? Obviously the chips, which have had the water cooked out of them and are loaded with salt. A Bonfire Health Vital Behavior is to keep lots of fresh fruit and veggies around the house. So the more fresh foods we add into our diet, and the more water we drink, the more soup-like and the healthier our body will be.
So, Drink Up!