To remain well-hydrated one must actively be aware of their total fluid balance. Yes, water is important. Indeed sodium is important. But how much am I supposed to take in and when? Or what about potassium? Having well-hydrated cells allows them to communicate and respirate effectively, provides lubrication and cushioning of vital systems from violent impacts and assists in the transportation of toxins. Without the right amount of vital minerals and water intake, we are not able to maintain a stable electrochemical gradient. Nerve and cardiac function are supremely dependent on this communication platform to work properly at all times. With Clean water, sodium, potassium and magnesium all working in concert we can expect our body to have the ability to perform at its peak potential.
It is true that performance nutrition and hydration will vary from individual to individual depending on their sport. We today will be focusing on overall hydration awareness and practices for general fitness. The first fact we must take heed of is that our fluid intake does not only come in the liquid form. In actuality, about one-third of our daily fluid intake is owed to the food we eat. This is why it is important to choose organic, local produce that is lush and vibrant. Bright and bold colors denote phytonutrients and health beneficial properties like antioxidants. Berries, apples, lettuce and cucumber are all very hydrating foods we should be eating daily. They assist our natural fluid balance, they taste good and they provide a boost to our enzymatic activity. From our foods, we should be able to capture about a liter of our daily fluids. So choose wisely because the holistic effect of a bowl of berries, spinach and tomato will be exponentially better for you than that bag of potato chips and a soda. With these natural food sources of fluid we are also able to get our mineral and vitamin levels stabilized. For example, spinach is rich in magnesium which is a key factor in our muscular activity and ion transport.
When we do reach for our bottles of water we need to be very stringent about its sourcing. We in the west have been subjected to a water system that is outdated and tainted. Natural artesian spring water is going to be the fountain of youth and pinnacle of fluids you could consume. This is water the way we were designed to ingest it. Fully purified through the earth and brought back up through pristine taps. (I was just in the Coconino and filled some bottles earlier this month). The water we drink is nothing less than the cells we will become. If we are taking in low-quality fluoride-rich tap water we will become toxic on a cellular level. That toxicity will initiate a state of inflammation which is, in essence, the body simply stating, “there is something foreign in us and we need to get it out”, so it reacts and deploys countermeasures (like swelling and GI tract irritation or malfunction, infection and illness) so that at worst you don’t die. That is simply how the body works. What can we do to ensure that things still operate under the current conditions internally and externally? True, bad water may not show up as the leading cause of all the ailments we see in a society that drives health insurance premiums through the roof but it is a bad base factor not being addressed at mass outside of the bottled water marketing arena. With clean and naturally structured water we can expect our cellular function to remain stable and natural. There are more wells than you think and you may just live closer to an artesian well than you could have ever imagined.
Now that we have covered which water is meant for drinking we still need to cover what the right amount is. Two liters for normal, proper cellular and GI tract function is recommended. This is the minimum as it depends on the food portion of the diet to deliver the remaining fluid and mineral needs. That really breaks down to right around the eight cups a day rule of thumb. So in a perfect scenario, we would be consuming on a daily basis about 12oz of water when we first wake up and a liter of water throughout the rest of the day. By drinking 12oz of water about 10-15 minutes before your two meals or 6oz before and after you are able to meet those specific demands of liquids needed for your daily requirement. So it really is not very difficult to achieve proper fluid balance if you are conscious about what and where you get your fluids.
If it is difficult for someone to acquire their fluid balance through food directly then it would be advisable to supplement their mineral intake and increase their clean water consumption. Naturally forming sea salts like Himalayan and or truffle are potent mineral sources that will provide a boost to our liquid fluid intake in the way they replenish our electrolytes. Our electrical signaling capability comes from sodium, potassium, and magnesium. It is key to replace those daily by whatever sustainable means are available to us. Our brain, organ and respiratory function all rely heavily on this process.
The process remaining adequately hydrated is fairly straight forward. Our diet must deliver the nutrients and minerals necessary for fluid balance. We have to actively be aware that our hydration comes from the foods we eat and the liquids we drink. There are many factors that go into how hydrated we are at any point in the day like the amount of sugar we ingest or the salty snacks we eat; how active we are; regional temperature and humidity; sun exposure; perspiration rate (amount of electrolytes we lose per hour/amount of sweat glands we have/the size of our sweat glands). All of those individual variances require individual assessment and strategy. The weight of the anchor is straight forward: To have awareness and control of your fluid balance is to be supremely hydrated.