Commandment #7: YOU NEED WATER.

Water makes up about 60 percent of total body mass in adults and about 75 percent for infants. Water is the most essential nutrient the body needs, followed by electrolytes. The major electrolytes include sodium, potassium and chloride, they are essential to maintain normal fluid balance. Each cell must have just the right amount of water and electrolytes for normal function of our cells.

Some of the important functions of water include:– Aids in weight loss
– Helps transport nutrients (vitamins, minerals, oxygen, etc.)
– Removal of waste and toxins
– Helps suppress appetite
– Helps with metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins
– Improves muscle tone
– Promotes bowel regularity
– Helps with muscle recovery

How much water should you drink? There is no one size fits all to water needs. It basically depends on your age, gender, weight, activity level, and the environment you live in (hot humid conditions, etc). The Food and Nutrition Board recommends an adequate Intake (AI) for men to consume about 3 liters (~13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liter (~9 cups) of total beverages a day. Some experts believe drinking half your body weight in ounces is a good estimate. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds then your goal is to drink about 75 fluid ounces of water or liquids per day.

How to check your hydration status? There are two ways to measure hydration status. One way is to monitor your urine. If the urine is plentiful and colorless or pale yellow, this means you are well hydrated. The second way to measure hydration status is with the sweat test. The sweat test is a great tool to use to give you an idea of how much fluid you lose during an hour long workout. First, weigh yourself naked before your workout, then after you are done working out weigh yourself again preferably naked because the sweaty clothes will give you an inaccurate reading. For every one pound lost during the workout, (one pound equals 16 ounces) your goal is to drink 16 fluid after your workout to replace the fluids you lost through sweating.

What if you are tired of drinking plain old water? Water is the best source of fluid intake but other sources count towards your fluid intake too. Be sure to include a variety of foods with a high water content and other beverages such as: smoothies, milk, coffee and tea, 100% fruit juice, soups, coconut water, popsicles, jell-o, fruits and vegetables.

What about sports drinks are they necessary? The main purpose of sports drinks is to replace the lost fluids along with replacing electrolytes and carbs (see below on how you can make your own homemade sports drink!). Sports drinks are best for individuals that have lost electrolytes during high intensity exercises exceeding 45 to 60 minutes. If you find that you have salty sweat on your skin from an intense workout, it means you lost a lot of sodium.

Can drinking too much water be harmful? Yes, it is possible to drink too much water – though it is uncommon. It can be detrimental to your health if you drink too much water especially if your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water because the electrolyte content of the blood is diluted. The sodium levels are diluted (low), this condition is called hyponatremia.

Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intake for Water and Electrolytes.

What Should I Drink While Exercising?

water with cucumber 2

DIY Homemade Sports Drink

Servings 3/ Serving Size ~ 16 fluid ounces
Weight Watcher Points Plus: 2 pts
Calories: 70 /protien: 0 g/ fat: 0 g/ carbs: 19 g/ fiber: 0g
sodium: 204 mg / potassium: 40 mg

• 1 quart of water or your choice of liquids such as green tea or herbal tea, or coconut water
• 1/4 tsp Himalayan or Sea Salt (I prefer pink Himalayan salt for the trace minerals)
• Your choice of 1/4 cup or more of juice for flavor – I used a combination of fresh squezed lime and lemon juice (other juices work well too)
• 2 Tbsp to 4 Tbsp of honey or your choice of sweetener – I used 3 Tbsp to cut down a bit on the sugars
• optional add fresh cut herbs, fruits and vegetables – I added 1 peeled and cut cucumber with a handful of fresh mint leaves.

1. In a large pitcher add water or your choice of liquid.
2. Add salt, fresh lemon/lime juice, and honey; mix well.
3. Add cucumber slices and fresh mint leaves.
4. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator when ready to drink.

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