What is hydration?
We all know that adequate hydration is necessary for the body to work properly, that we should follow a healthy, varied and balanced diet and that we should engage in regular moderate physical activity. But… Do we know where the word “hydration” comes from?
The term “hydration” comes from the Greek hydros, meaning water, indicating that the action of hydrating your body means consuming water. So the element that hydrates the body is water, meaning that all other drinks hydrate it with the water contained in them.
Water is a source of life and it is essential to hydrate the body. It is the best, healthiest and most natural way of hydrating the body. This means that good hydration is important to our physical and mental health.
The brain is made up of 90% water, blood 83%, muscle 75% and bones 22%, so it is fair to say that water is one of the main components of the human body. And to make sure our organs and cells work properly it is very important to keep the body hydrated at all times.
Advice to keep your body hydrated
To hydrate the body means consuming water, but other foods – like fruit, vegetables or other drinks – also provide the water we need.
Drink plenty of water. We have already seen that the human body is mainly made up of water, which is easily lost as sweat, blood or urine. It therefore needs replenishing if we are to keep ourselves hydrated and healthy. The amount of water necessary to keep the body working properly is at least 2 litres a day.
Have a variety of drinks: as well as water, drink infusions, soft drinks, fruit juice, dairy products, plant-based drinks and so on. After all, variety is the spice of life.
Eat foods containing water. Drinking water isn’t the only way of hydrating ourselves. You can also eat and drink it in other ways! You can provide your body with water through fruit and vegetables.
Avoid alcohol. Alcoholic drinks cause dehydration as they have a diuretic effect.
Avoid caffeine. Consuming coffee, tea and soft drinks can also dry out your body.
Avoid salt. Apart from making you thirsty, too much salt can cause health problems.
Why you need to keep your body properly hydrated
- To look after your health
- This is very important, especially for people who engage in physical activity.
- Avoid injuries
- For your vital functions to work properly
- So as not to suffer from dehydration or heat stroke
- Avoid retention of liquids
- It’s better to dilute mineral salts so that they’re easier for your body to absorb.
Which groups are most at risk?
People who are breast feeding
So you should listen to your body when it asks for water. You should understand that feeling thirsty is the body’s way of asking for liquid. Water is the principal element of which your body is made up, and the constant losses of water due to vital functions mean that we need to replenish it, especially now that the hot weather is coming. Keeping up an adequate level of hydration is essential for survival, health and physical and mental performance. And remember: drink water, even if you aren’t thirsty.