Drink up: Hydration for the nation is important

As we move into warmer weather again on Kauai, it is important to remind everyone to drink water to stay healthy and hydrated. Hardly anyone drinks enough water. And this issue can result in many health challenges. Water is the universal hydrant and every metabolic process in your body depends on water. You’ve likely heard that everyone should drink eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day. But this like most generalizations, is incorrect.

What is a better measure is to drink one ounce of water for every kilo of body weight. Or to put it another way, divide your weight in pounds by two and drink that many ounces. So if you weigh 110 pounds, you should drink 55 ounces of water a day. If you weigh 220 pounds then drink 110 ounces of water a day. It is silly to think that a big person and a little person all need the same amount of water — that would like thinking that both people need the same amount of food!

Having enough water in your tissues can mean that your body flushes out impurities better and that your organs and skin are plump and full as they should be. You also will not be as hungry if you keep your stomach full of water — so it can aid body fat reduction. Water is also important to replace as we sweat, or digest food and eliminate water from our bodies.

To allow yourself to become dehydrated means your energy will suffer and your ability to think and respond quickly decreases as well. If you’re feeling a little dizzy or experiencing muscle cramps after a sweaty workout or after being outside on a hot Kauai day, your electrolyte levels may be out of control. Electrolytes are essential nutrients that help maintain fluid balance in the body. They also conduct bodily electrical activity and are responsible for muscle contractions, including your heart muscle. Electrolyte imbalance occurs when you lose an excessive amount of body fluids through sweat, vomiting, diarrhea or a high fever. Very young people and very old people are especially sensitive to fluid and electrolyte imbalances. You can get your body back in balance by eating or drinking foods that contain sodium and potassium and water.

If you are an exerciser (I hope so), it is important to replace water lost through sweating but it is also important to replace lost electrolytes. The best sports drinks help naturally rehydrate and energize the body by providing a little glucose, the lost electrolytes, B vitamins and, of course, water. Many sports drinks are too sugary or too salty. I always advise my clients to read the label and remember that quality supplements do not appear on the shelf at 7/11. If you are elderly or very young or pregnant or work outdoors in the hot sun then it is important that you keep hydrated and your electrolytes in balance.

Some natural options include drinking coconut water. The balance of electrolytes in coconut water is close to your blood’s electrolyte balance, and it is refreshing and delicious, too. You could also add some fruit juice to flavor it, as well to change up the taste occasionally.

You can also make a homemade veggie-style electrolyte replacement drink, if you own a juicer, using tomatoes, celery, carrots, some parsley or a handful of greens, and even throw in some onion and garlic or red pepper. Celery contains natural sodium, and can make this juice a bit “salty” in taste. However, some people like to add a dash more salt and ground pepper, too. Make it to your taste but remember not to overdo the salt. Another delicious option is a simple vegetable and fruit juice using six celery sticks, one apple and half of a lemon.

Or, you can make a simple fruit version that tastes like orange lemonade with a dash of salt. You can use freshly squeezed local orange juice, mixed with half as much local lemon juice, dilute as you like with pure filtered water, and add some organic sugar and Hawaiian salt to taste. Perfect!

If this sounds like too much work, I know of a fabulous electrolyte replacement drink that is optimally formulated for athletes who exercise for extended periods. It has the proper proportion of potassium, to sodium as well as those essential B vitamins and of course water. If you want to know about it give me call and I’ll be happy to tell you about it. Live well and remember to drink your water! Aloha nui loa!

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Jane Riley is a certified nutritional adviser. She can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, (808) 212-1451, www.janerileyfitness.com, www.discoverthis.isagenix.com

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