Maintaining a healthy balance of water throughout the day is extremely important all year round, but becomes even more important during the hotter summer months of the year. The body generally does an excellent job in regulating its own water levels – the kidneys function to ensure that we have a stable amount of water in our system, and we have an automatic trigger of thirstiness when the levels become low. Here is how to maintain a healthy water balance:
First of all, you should ensure that you are drinking enough water throughout the day. Around 60% of our water level is taken in through drinking alone, which shows just how important it is that we drink the necessary amounts of fluids. The recommended amount of water a person should drink a day is from 1.2-1.5 litres. That amounts to around six to eight glasses of water per day. You should remember that you need to be drinking this throughout the day, and not all at once - drinking a litre in the morning and nothing in the afternoon, is not good for your body at all.
The recommended 1.2-1.5 litres of water is for a normal person with a normal lifestyle. That does not include those who are doing a lot of exercise on a daily basis, so if you are participating in extreme strain, such as gym training, you really must make sure that you are keeping your fluid levels topped up.
We have accounted for 60% of our water intake through drinking, but what other ways do we keep our water levels topped up? Well, 30% comes from moist foods, and the final 10% comes from cell respiration. One of the reasons that we need a balanced diet is to make sure that we are getting our other 30% from foods. Fruits and vegetables are always high in water content, which makes them especially good to maintain a good balance of water in the body.
Other than being thirsty, however, there are other ways that the body regulates the water balance in our bodies. One of the ways the body does this is through keeping a constant level of sodium in the bloodstream. The sodium that we consume through our diet is very important – too much sodium and we will cause us to be thirsty, and not enough sodium will cause the body to produce more urine to lower the level of fluid in our body. This means that it is very important that we maintain a good level of sodium in our diet. We are often told that too much salt is bad for us, but the same is true for too little. A balance of sodium is exactly what the body needs to help maintain a good level of water throughout the day.
We also need to ensure that we have a good level of potassium in our bodies to maintain a water balance. Too much and too little potassium can be very dangerous, manifesting itself in heart attacks and abnormal heart rhythm. The body keeps the electrolytes found in potassium at a constant rate through the digestion system and sweat. The kidneys work to make sure that the balance of potassium and the water level is correct so that you can function properly.
The best thing that you can do to maintain a water balance is to drink the right fluids. Stay away from sodas and tea/coffee. While they are all fluids, they contain too much caffeine which works against their gain. You can drink them, but do not count them in your recommended water intake.