Megna Nutrition Associates, Inc.

Published Articles

Published in: Metrowest Daily News
By: Camille Hendsbee, RD, LDN/Daily News Correspondent
Posted Jun. 17, 2015 at 6:11 PM

NUTRITION NOTES: Water, The Forgotten Nutrient

   When they are trying to be nutrition-conscious, many think of the major or "macro" nutrients (carbohydrate, protein, fat) or the "micro" nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and wonder if they are getting enough - or maybe even too much. They completely miss that one important nutrient that is so vital to health - water. Just how important is it?

   While we can live for extended periods of time without food (perhaps three weeks or so). We can live only an average of three days or so without water, dependent upon other conditions such as air temperature and other stressors. All of our body processes happen in an aqueous or water base, without which our system as a whole would struggle.

   So, how much water do we need? The answer: it depends. Factors affecting water consumption include how active you are, where you live (air temp and other conditions) and your general health status to begin with.

   Know that no other liquid replenishes a dehyrdrated status better than pure water. Some beverages such as juices, decaf tea, broths can help some also. Beverages such as alcohol, caffenated coffee and tea actually have a mild diuretic affect and can increase urination leading to decreased body hydration, so stick with water as the key hydrator.

   Another key is to not depend on your thirst as a guide to hydration. When you begin to feel thirsty is the time when you are already in dehydrated status. Remedy this by getting ahead of the game and drink water throughout the day (about eight ounces per 20 pounds of body weight is a good gauge, though remember the other factors such as air temperature and activity level). Urine should be running close to clear when fully hydrated.

   An easy way to accomplish this is to get yourself two 20-ounce water bottles of different color. Fill both and drink one by your midday and the second in the later half of your day. This will give you six cups of water. Other fluids can fill the gap to get you to the 8x8 factor (8 ounces 8 times per day). The different bottle colors will help to remind you just where you are in your day.

   This wonderful habit of drinking pure water throughout the day will help your body stay healthy and keep your mind clear and sharp.

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