Did you know that more than 50% of your body is made of water? Water is one of the most important nutrients in the body. Basically every organ system utilizes water. It is extremely important and beneficial to GI health. It is an important factor for digestion. Water helps break down nutrients and fiber making them easier to absorb. Water also helps soften stools preventing constipation. You don’t need your only source of water to be water though! You can get water from other beverages, such as decaffeinated teas or coffees, natural juices, and some carbonated beverages, and fruits and vegetables. Your entire intake for the day counts towards your water consumption. Keep in mind that coffee and alcohol do not count towards your daily water intake. Alcohol, in particular, can be very dehydrating.
As it is getting warmer outside, it is even more important to be drinking enough water. Water helps our body regulate temperature. Water is able to absorb and transfer heat very well without increasing its own temperature. When you get hot, your body moves blood (which is mostly water) to the surface of the skin which causes you to sweat. As the sweat evaporates, the body cools. You need to replete the water sweated out so your body can continue to regulate the body temperature. If you do not replete the fluid lost from sweating, you have less fluid to absorb the heat and the body temperature rises increasing the risk of heat stroke. If you are only mildly sweating or exercising for less than 30-45 minutes, water is sufficient for repletion. If you are exercising for more than 60 minutes or sweating a lot, an electrolyte replacement beverage, such as Gatorade or PowerAde, would be recommended.
Don’t forget… if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated!