Water and Dehydration

By Living Paleo
In Paleo Tips
Aug 24th, 2010
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tap-water

Water is ranked as the most important nutrient for our health, because without food we could continue to live for weeks or even months, but without water a person will only survive 8-10days.

Our bodies are 60-70% water, every part of our body is a cell and each cell in our body will consist of up to 90% water. Without enough water and hydration supplied to the cells in our bodies, they will not run efficiently. Without water we would be poisoned to death because of the build up of toxins in our bodies. Water not only helps carry toxins out of the body; to then be released through the urinary system, but it also helps carry oxygen and vital nutrients to the cells in our body for it stay healthy.

Water helps digest and absorb the foods we consume and helps to maintain the natural balance of salts. The cartilage in our joints and soft tissues are made up of up to 85% water, therefore keeping hydrated keeps our joints cushioned. We even need water to breath, as our lungs must be moist in order to take in oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide.

We should be drinking around 300-400ml of water per kilogram of lean body mass. Certain things we do during the day can result in us needing to drink additional water on top of that amount, things like;

  • Exercising
  • Sweating through the summer months
  • Consuming caffeine (a natural diuretic)
  • Consuming soft drinks
  • Consuming alcohol

One of the easiest ways to tell whether your body is hydrated or not is to look at the colour of your urine, if it is clear, you are well hydrated, if your urine is yellow in colour it’s a sign you are under hydrated. And while I’m on the topic, if your urine is cloudy, smells foul or is slightly bloody, you could have a bladder infection so best to consult your doctor as soon as possible.

The best way to stay hydrated is to drink clean, filtered, mineralised water in the correct amount for your body mass and lifestyle. Most tap water isn’t clean and is contaminated with dangerous chemicals that are added to it during the treatment phase such as fluoride and chlorine, which may result in the body finding it hard to absorb effectively.

Bottled water can be slightly better than most tap water, but in the majority of cases it is generally only filtered enough to reduce the levels of chlorine so that the water tastes better, it is never guaranteed to be totally clean and free from chemicals. We need to rejuvenate our bodies and flush out toxins with clean water every day, not bring more into our system through a poor water supply.

A good water filter that I am aware of is from a company called Nikken. Their PiMag water system not only reduces the chlorine and contaminants, but also removes extremely small particles between 01. and 0.5 microns, and it also balances out beneficial minerals and regulates the waters natural pH levels. The only thing this water filter doesn’t remove is fluoride.

You can invest in a filter specifically made for removing fluoride; however making sure you get a legitimate one is obviously really important because they aren’t very cheap. I have heard good things about Multi-Pure’s Reverse Osmosis System (model MP750).

When it comes to fat loss, making sure you are hydrated plays a huge roll, if you are dehydrated not only does your body not function properly, but it slows down the functioning of energy metabolism. The liver converts stored fat to energy, but when the body is in a dehydrated state, the kidneys start to slow down and it’s the roll of the liver to take over the kidneys work load when in need. This results in the liver working over-time reducing its ability to burn energy effectively.

So remember to drink around 300-400ml of water everyday, more if you are exercising. Don’t forget that many foods we consume contain a good source of water and therefore help in keeping us hydrated; fruits and vegetables can contain up to 80-95% water.

And before you start to worry about potentially drinking too much water, I wouldn’t. Although over hydrating can lead to hypnotremia (depletion of electrolytes in the body), you will need to drink a large amount of water for that to come about, and generally you will feel like you are drinking a lot of water and decide to cut back before it gets too dangerous. That being said, people have died from hypnotremia, athletes being some of the most at risk people, especially endurance athletes.

Every morning when you wake up, drink a glass of water or more before a meal until sated, if you’re not thirsty in the mornings drink a glass of water anyway, if you have been sleeping for 6+ hours your body will need water regardless of whether you feel thirsty or not. Many times people will mistake dehydration for hunger, so if you find yourself hungry ask yourself if you have consumed a good amount of water before chowing down on a big meal.

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