We never know the worth of water until the well is dry.Thomas Fuller
In physiology, dehydration is a deficit of total body water, with an accompanying disruption of metabolic processes. Dehydration occurs when free water loss exceeds free water intake, usually due to exercise or disease, but also due to high environmental temperature.
Our body is made up of between 60% to 70% water. This should tell us that we have to make sure that we keep this level constant. Most of the time we do not even feel thirsty until a 3% loss of water has happened. At only 1% loss, we will begin to compromise our bodily functions.
Good quality water is essential for life. It is necessary for many bodily functions:
- proper digestion
- blood circulation and blood vessel flexibility
- Absorption of nutrients
- elimination of waste
- temperature regulation
Dehydration for anyone but especially athletes can be potentially life-threatening. Dehydration refers to when your body loses more fluid than what it is taking in. For athletes who are training, this may be a serious problem as they are working their body to full capacity and water loss is high.
Some symptoms to look out for: Increased thirst, weakness, dizziness, confusion, decreased urine output (*) and eventually death. To ensure proper hydration levels before, during and after athletic activities, it is important to consume dense fruit, avoid known dehydration triggers (salty cooked foods, caffeine, alcohol) and drink some water.
Are we the cause of our own thirst?
The problem with the average diet nowadays is that it is toxic on so many levels. The body recognises this toxicity and uses all its water to dilute it.
Any cooked food is devoid of water and the nutrients have been destroyed. As it is more difficult for your body to digest and eliminate cooked foods, a build-up of toxins will lead to several health issues. One of them is dehydration.
Choosing fruit and leafy greens over cooked plant-based food are better options for your body for several health reasons. It will give you more energy, let you compete/train for longer and harder as well as recover faster. And more importantly, dehydration will be avoided.
In most cases, making sure that we are well hydrated will correct many of the little daily issues we have: tiredness, lack of energy, headaches, struggling to lose weight, to name but a few. When transitioning to a plant-based diet or a raw plant-based diet, it may be necessary to drink additional water while your body is eliminating toxins.
Some ideas to make your own Sport’s drink:
~Blend a few bananas in a quart of water
An indoor strength training session may require more bananas than water.
A hot weather trail run may require more water than bananas.
To supply extra electrolytes, simply blend a stalk or more of celery.
~Soak a cup of dried fruit (raisins, dates, figs, pineapple…) overnight in a water bottle
The soak water becomes a carbohydrate and nutrient-rich energy drink. Use the soaked fruit in a post-workout or race smoothie.
Let me know your favourite ways of staying hydrated.
* if you experience any symptoms that you believe may be related to dehydration, it is vitally important that you get checked out ASAP