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Weekly Nutrition Tip: Going Beyond Water

April 10 2012

Hydration: Going Beyond Water

By Debra Meszaros CSN

We all know about the importance of staying hydrated; and how a dehydrated body can affect concentration, performance, result in muscle soreness, and stiff joints. Many athletes drink adequate water based on general guidelines, like drinking half your body weight (in ounces) in water each day. Many even use a calculated personal hydration formula: before your workout, weigh yourself without shoes, this is your beginning weight. After your workout, weight yourself without shoes OR socks, this is your ending weight. Add up the amount of water in ounces you have consumed while exercising; convert the ounces to pounds (16oz = 1 lb.). Take beginning weight minus ending weight and add water pounds. This determines your sweat/re-hydration calculation. As temperatures and humidity rise, your sweat/re-hydration numbers will increase. With some individuals, these methods still fall short of maintaining proper hydration. Why?

There are two little organs that play a role in your hydration and are involved in supplying your body's energy, the adrenal glands. They sit on top of your kidneys and together with the thyroid, supply energy. The hormone secreted to regulate water levels, sodium, and mineral concentration is Aldosterone. During high intense workouts and Moto's Aldosterone and sodium circulate the body. Following exercise they both leave your bloodstream and sodium heads for your kidneys and exits via urine; taking much needed water with it. If you are training and racing, your body goes through this process daily. The amount of stress placed on your adrenal glands is usually beyond the body's normal tolerance. Support for your adrenals and thyroid are key in both maintaining your energy AND staying hydrated.

The three sisters: your adrenals, thyroid, and kidney's

The integration and synergy that happens between these organs cannot be overlooked. They all play a vital role in hydration, together. The thyroid is the gatekeeper and protector of your adrenals. It will even stop its own productive tasks, shutting down to protect its sisters, the adrenals. Support for both your adrenal glands and thyroid come in the form of nutrition; a constant adequate supply of all B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals. Both vitamin C and all B vitamins are water soluble. To the athlete supplementation of these vitamins are key in adrenal support and therefore, hydration.

There are also substances that can further de-hydrate the body; coffee, soda, alcohol and sugar. Elevated blood sugar levels result in osmotic diuresis, where sugar is carried out of the body by your kidneys via water! Your kidneys cannot reabsorb the water when excess sugar exists. Hydration happens in the absence of sugar. Sugar, processed foods, prescription drugs, and too much animal protein often make your blood become more acidic. This leaches minerals from the body while increasing your body's needs for minerals. This all affects performance in a tremendous way.

Hydrate with more than just water.

In my opinion some of the best water to consume is purified water done via reverse osmosis and ultraviolet exposure, infused with minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, and then ionic separated, (electrically charging the water removing the acidic ions) leaving pure alkaline balanced water. Not only does this water taste good, it has a smooth texture and superior hydration abilities; it replenishes minerals.

In addition to the type of water mentioned above, get into a habit of consuming hydro-loading foods; Watermelon (92% water), papaya, cucumber (96% water) are some examples. Adding fresh squeezed lemon or lime to your water adds minerals. These are natural ways to increase hydration while re-mineralizing the body.

-2012 Debra Meszaros All rights reserved; no duplication without permission
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