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Have you ever wondered if a cup of coffee or tea and milk can substitute as one of your recommended eight glasses of water a day?

Most drinks do a good job of hydrating, but the components of some common drinks sharply reduce their hydrating ability.

Which drinks are the best hydrators, and which the worst? Here are the three most hydrating and the four least hydrating drinks.

Drinks That Are Strong Hydrators

Water
Water is the preeminent beverage for correctly hydrating the body.

Herbal Teas (Infusions)
The leaves from plants such as mint, verbena, linden, balm, and so on give a pleasant aroma and flavor to the water in which they are steeped, which makes infusions a satisfying alternative to people who don’t enjoy drinking plain water.

The medicinal properties of the plants do not have a negative effect on the body’s assimilation of the water.

Note: The benefit does not extend to sweetened infusions, or if the tea is made with plants that have diuretic properties, such as dandelion.

Fruit and Vegetable Juices
The water in fruits and vegetables–their juice–is one of the liquids nature has provided for hydrating our bodies. Juice is water bound to a substance. To maintain our harmonic balance with nature and avoid taking in too high a concentration of nutrients and sugars, we should consider juice a secondary resource to be used in moderation.

Drinks that Are Weak Hydrators

Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa
Drinks that have a base of coffee, black tea, or cocoa are quite high in purins, toxins that must be eliminated from the body by urine or sweat in the form of uric acid. Purines need to be diluted in large quantities of liquid to be evacuated without irritation. A good portion of the water consumed with these drinks is used to eliminate the toxins.

Milk
Milk is a food, not a drink, and its digestion by adults is frequently incomplete.

Whey, on the other hand, is very easily digested, but its diuretic properties are an impediment to its consumption as a daily beverage.

Soft Drinks
Soft drinks often have a high caffeine base, a diuretic, which makes a body lose water before it has time to make its way into the intracellular environment. The other problem comes from the high sugar content of most sodas. The body has a hard time properly metabolizing refined sugar. To correct the reaction to this, the body has to surrender water from the extracellular fluid. Because that makes a person thirsty, a vicious circle is created, as the thirst is being maintained by the very beverage that is drink with the intention of getting rid of it.

Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol itself has dehydrating properties, removing water from the tissues it contacts and drying them out and increasing the need for water.

Adapted from The Water Prescription, by Christopher Vasey, N.D.

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Like the earth, humans and all other animal life are about three-quarters water. It is therefore no wonder that drinking plenty of water is so vital to our well being.

Many times a day we feel our energy levels falling and we reach for food when, in fact, we are actually in need of water. How often do we spend money and time on medical treatment for conditions which could have easily been prevented through proper hydration.

Experts say that we are often dehydrated even before we feel thirsty. Water is essential to keep us fit and healthy

6 Tips on drinking more water:

  1. Add flavored packets If water alone bores you, take advantage of the new flavor packets that are sold specifically to enhance the taste of water.
  2. Get fun to go containers Always have water with you or in the car. Get good size, fun colored containers. The larger the container, the fewer the refills.
  3. Change your daily habits Wake up to your first glass of water.
  4. Make it a rule to order water (with or without lemon) instead of a diet soda when you go out to eat.
  5. Drink a glass before you eat Water helps to curb your appetite. It is easy to confuse hunger with being thirsty, so try water first. Drinking water makes you feel active.
  6. Use straws, add ice and a lemon or even a small slice of orange Make this glass of water feel like a treat.

So what are we waiting for? Let us drink eight glasses of water a day. It is easy, costs nothing and the benefits are life changing.

So how much water should one drink each day? The question seems like it commands a simple answer, but the reality is that the response varies based upon your body’s needs. A lot of sources will tell you that you need a minimum of 8 glasses a day, but the truth of the matter is that you need to obey your own internal requirements.

Experts are now saying that there is no set number. Rather, when you are thirsty, you should drink. If you find yourself experiencing headaches or dizziness, chances are that you are depriving your body of water, whether or not you are meeting the 8 glasses a day standard. If your urine is highly concentrated and anything other than clear/very pale yellow in color, then that is another telltale sign that your body wants more.

how much glasses of water drinkSo, how much should you drink? – Lots!
Six to ten glasses is a safe bet but if you want to be more specific it’s recommended you drink 50 – 75% of your body weight in ounces depending on whether you are sedentary or active.

You might also want to add a bit more if it’s really hot or you are working extra hard, so for example, a person who weighs 150 lbs, lives in a dry climate and is doing strenuous exercises should drink 75% x 150 oz = 112 oz + 15 oz (activity) + 15 oz (climate) = Total 142 oz per day.

A frequently quoted figure is that adults should drink eight glasses of water a day, although Dr John Leiper, an expert in fluid balance and hydration at Aberdeen University, disputes it. “The figure of eight glasses a day is completely spurious. There is no evidence that drinking that much water does anybody any good. Although it probably won’t be doing you any harm.”

While it is true that individuals will on average lose about eight glasses worth of water a day, it doesn’t have to be replenished by water: soft drinks, even coffee, all help rehydration. “There is nothing wrong with drinking coffee,” says Dr Leiper. “The idea that coffee is a diuretic is nonsense. Yes, if you give someone who is completely caffeine naive a lot of caffeine, then it will act as a diuretic on them. But if you are used to drinking a lot of coffee then it won’t – your body gets used to it.

In healthy adults, fluid intake is regulated by thirst. Water is an essential nutrient for life and is considered the ideal drink to quench thirst and ensure hydration.

Ironically, it is very often ignored as part of our dietary recommendations. Most people are familiar with the general recommendation for adults of eight glasses of water per day. Yet, estimating water or fluid intake requirements is not easy and individual requirements are highly variable.

The National Research Council (NRC) recommends a daily water intake of approximately 1ml/kcal energy expenditure. The eight glasses of water per day is based on this recommendation and on the average weight of a 70kg male.
No single formula fits every individual or every situation and water intake recommendations also depend on other factors such as activity, humidity, climate, body temperature and body composition.

Daily turnover of water is approximately 4% of total body weight and even higher proportions in children.
Water losses from the lungs and skin (insensible losses; 500 – 1000ml/day) are responsible for approximately half of the daily turnover and sensible losses from stools (50 -100ml/day) and urine account for the rest of the daily losses.
Yet, despite of changes in body composition and function as well as the environment, most healthy people manage to regulate daily water balance well across their lifespan.

You can use a very good Hydration Calculator

Current recommendations:

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) established the Dietary Reference Intakes for water . The committee established the Adequate Intake (AI) for total water to prevent dehydration.
Based on a wide range of normal hydration status of the population, the AI was established according to the median total fluid intake (water, fluid from food and other drinks). The AI’s for sedentary men and women (aged 19-50 years) is 3,71 and 2,71 litres per day respectively.

Solid food and digestion of food also contributes to this recommendation. Drinking fluids represents approximately 81% of total water intake, resulting in a recommended intake of 3,01 litres per day for men (12 glasses of 250ml) and 2,71 liters per day (10 glasses of 250ml) for women.

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