Man drinking water at the beach Credit: Pixabay
The majority of our weight comes from water, which makes up over half of our bodies. It is recommended that we consume anywhere from six to eight glasses of fluid daily to maintain this level of water content in our bodies. Although water is the healthiest drink we can choose because it has neither sugar nor calories, the question arises as to whether or not it is also the most effective approach to rehydrate when the temperature is high.
The correct response is that it is dependent on the situation. Generally speaking, it appears that water is sufficient for most individuals most of the time; nevertheless, the most effective means of rehydration vary depending on the individual, the environment, and the activity at hand.
Ron Maughan, a professor at St. Andrews University's School of Medicine, says, "The demands of a physically active individual with outdoor work on a hot day may be different from the needs of a person who lives in an air-conditioned house, who drives an air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned office."
The simple response is that the active individual will need to drink more fluid than the one who is inactive, but there is more to it than that.
Because we lose water and salt when we sweat, we must replace both of these fluids. If we take in an excessive amount of either substance, our bodies will use osmosis, which is the process of water moving through cell membranes, to try to bring things back into balance.
Maughan adds that if you replace your body's lost fluid with water alone, your body will have an excess of water and a deficiency of salt and will begin to excrete water through urine.
Because of this, consuming milk rather than water may result in greater health benefits. According to Maughan, milk naturally includes salt as well as the sugar known as lactose, both of which are essential to our bodies but only at trace levels to aid accelerate water absorption in the stomach. Coconut water is also useful since it has salt, potassium, and carbs in its composition.
Additionally, electrolytes and micronutrients, all of which are absorbed by the body, are found in milk. Because of this, the amount of time it takes for the water that is tied up onto these molecules to go from the stomach to the small intestine is lengthened, which enables the body to absorb and store liquids more effectively.
Because milk has enough quantity of sugar for this process to take place, milk is not at all like sugary drinks in any way, shape, or form, According to Maughan, drinking sugary beverages can lead us to become more dehydrated in the short term. This is due to the high concentration of solutes that are found in these beverages. Solutes are compounds that can be dissolved to form solutions.
Water and extremely tiny molecules are the only things that can pass through the cell membranes, which are what allow water to move about the body. To maintain a state of equilibrium inside the cell, water migrates from the side of the cell containing a lower concentration of solutes to the side of the cell containing a greater concentration of solutes.
In other words, the body's first line of defence is to divert water to the digestive process, meaning that organs that could use the water are denied access to it.
However, there is some evidence to suggest that drinking a sports drink that contains electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, will hydrate us more effectively than drinking water alone.
According to Owen Jeffries, a lecturer in sport and exercise physiology at Newcastle University, "sports drinks designed to target these physiological systems restrict the transfer of fluids across the small intestine where it's reabsorbed into the body."
Because athletes lose a significant quantity of electrolytes through sweating for lengthy periods, they need to replenish the fluids and salts that they flush out of their bodies. However, the rest of us don't need to consume sports drinks to maintain our optimal level of hydration. According to Sophie Killer, a performance nutrition consultant for elite and professional athletes, a balanced meal, in addition to the typical liquids we take, will provide adequate fluids for a person to acquire all they need.
She explains that if you work a desk job all day, you don't need the extra energy that sports drinks provide because carbohydrates (basically sugar) are already present in the beverages.
The same can be said of salt, which an excessive amount of individuals currently take in.
Killer claims that sodium is the electrolyte most rapidly lost in perspiration during exercise because "sodium plays a crucial part in hundreds of physiological events in the body."
According to David Nieman, a professor of biology at Appalachian State University and the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the North Carolina Research Campus, the average person who engages in the average amount of exercise does not lose such a significant amount of water that they require the consumption of sports drinks.
The importance of being hydrated cannot be overstated, especially considering that research shows that over 20% of people are dehydrated at any one time.
Neiman suggests that drinking a glass of water and eating a piece of fruit before going for a run will do the job. Neiman discovered that eating fruit while exercising helped with the recuperation process.
"There are 24 different kinds of polyphenols and sugars in a half banana. This will prevent the body from losing water and provides nutrients that will help boost exercise "he asserts.
According to Gabriella Montenegro, a nutrition researcher at the Center for Studies in Sensory, Impairment, Aging, and Metabolism in Guatemala, this piece of advice is equally applicable to youngsters. According to the findings of her study, youngsters who maintain a diet rich in fruit and vegetables are better able to retain water. She suggests that individuals, particularly youngsters and the elderly, who are at a greater risk of being dehydrated should increase the amount of fruit and vegetables they consume in their diet.
Carbohydrates, in general, will slow down the body's absorption of water and increase the amount we can retain, according to Killer.
"The easiest thing to do is to have water with a meal because it will help the body to slowly absorb fluid and retain it," she adds. "This will allow it to bridge the membranes and go to where it needs to be to hydrate you, rather than going directly to the bladder, which would create an increase in urine output."
Consuming beverages like tea and coffee is yet another method for maintaining our optimal level of hydration. Some individuals are concerned that drinking beverages containing caffeine can cause dehydration, however, this is only the case if we consume excessive amounts of caffeine while also failing to drink enough water.
According to Maughan, beverages containing caffeine cause the body to create more pee; but, since these beverages also include water, they will typically more than compensate for the fluid that caffeine causes you to lose. Because we are more inclined to drink more of something that we love, he claims that beverages like tea and coffee are effective methods to stay hydrated.
If the individual consuming the caffeine is acclimated to its effects, they may not get dehydrated even after consuming large amounts of caffeine. People who use caffeine consistently are more resistant to the diuretic effects of caffeine. Killer discovered in research that he conducted in 2014 with 50 male coffee consumers that consuming four cups of coffee a day for three days delivered the same amounts of hydration as drinking a comparable quantity of water would have done.
She argues that "coffee contributes to daily fluid needs, and in those who regularly consume coffee, the kidneys adjust to retain fluid from coffee." "Coffee contributes to daily fluid requirements." Those who are used to the effects of caffeine on their bodies need not be concerned that drinking a reasonable quantity of coffee or tea would cause them to become dehydrated.
How we consume water is just as important as the water itself when it comes to maintaining proper hydration. According to Jeffries, the body will only detect that it is dehydrated if it reaches a particular degree of dehydration, even though it is constantly going back and forth between being moderately dehydrated and over-hydrated as a normal part of everyday living. At that time, you may have already missed the window of opportunity to take in water before they become detrimental to your health.
It takes "quite large alterations there" for our "perceptual awareness" to pick up on the fact that our bodies are trying to tell us anything, like "if the body is telling you that you're thirsty," he adds.
To avoid this, he suggests that we keep our hydration levels up throughout the day by consuming water at regular intervals. Consuming a large volume of drink all at once might cause the body to lose more water, which will then be excreted in the form of urine if we haven't taken the time to properly hydrate ourselves beforehand.
"If you drink a litre of water rapidly, your bladder will be overloaded, and you will not be well hydrated. Your pee may be clear, but it's not an accurate reflection of your hydration level "Killer adds.
It could seem as if sportsmen are given preferential treatment, while the rest of us are forced to make do with plain water. Experts are of the opinion that water is underestimated.
Killer maintains that water is often the neglected nutrient today . "It doesn't cost us anything, it's good for our teeth, and it's healthful," she said.
According to Montenegro, research on hydration hasn't been done to a significant degree in the recent past; nonetheless, there is most likely more to it than we are aware of.
According to her, "water ceased being significant," even though it is a very necessary nutrient. "I'm convinced that there are many more metabolic processes linked with hydration that haven't yet been examined."
That brings us to the conclusion. I want to express my gratitude to you for taking the time to read this post, and I pray that God will richly reward you.
• Brown, Jessica. “Is Water Always the Best Choice on a Hot Day?” Is Water Always the Best Choice on a Hot Day? - BBC Future, 3 Aug. 2021, www.bbc.com/future/article/20210802-is-water-always-the-best-choice-on-a-hot-day.
• Shereen Lehman, MS. “Why You Should Stay Hydrated During the Heat.” Verywell Fit, 25 Oct. 2020, www.verywellfit.com/drink-more-water-during-hot-weather-2506918.
• Mary L, Gavin, MD. “Why Drinking Water Is the Way to Go (for Kids) - Nemours KidsHealth.” Why Drinking Water Is the Way to Go (for Kids) - Nemours KidsHealth, 1 Mar. 2022, kidshealth.org/en/kids/water.html.