Healthy diet - drinking
Our bodies consist mainly of water. So we need to drink a lot to compensate for fluid loss:
When we sweat, we lose water through the pores of our skin.
When our body warms up (hot ambient temperatures, exercise...), we start to sweat. The sweat evaporates onto our skin, which extracts heat from our body. So we sweat to maintain our body temperature.
In addition, when we sweat, dirt comes out of our pores. Therefore, it is important to wash after sweating. This is how we remove the dirty sweat from our skin.
Our kidneys ensure that waste products are removed from our body through urine. This is mainly a lot of water in which waste products are eliminated. The more water you drink, the more often you go to the toilet and the faster the waste products leave your body.
Tip: The colour of your urine indicates whether you are drinking enough water to purify your body. If it's a dark colour, it means that the concentration of waste products is high and that you're not drinking enough.
Fact: We also lose moisture during defecation.
Everyone's experienced it: breathing out on a window and then drawing a picture in the "haze". The "haze" that appears on the window is the moisture in our breath. This means that every time we breathe out, our body also loses moisture.
How much water do I need?
Our bodies need water to digest food, transport nutrients and waste products around the body and to regulate body temperature.
A healthy adult needs an average of 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day. This water comes mainly from food and drink. Make sure you drink enough and that you also adjust your diet accordingly:
- If you eat a lot of salt and/or fat, drink more water.
- If you eat a low-salt diet, stick to the recommended amount and don't drink too much.
Too little fluid
The more fluids we lose, the more we need to replenish. So if you sweat profusely (long or intensive exercise, extremely hot ambient temperature) or if you have diarrhoea, for example, and lose much more fluid than normal through your stool, you will need to drink more to make up for the greater losses.
If your body has too little fluid, dehydration can occur if this shortage continues for too long. Dehydration symptoms, such as:
- Less sweating
- Less urination
- Reduced skin elasticity
- Fainting due to low blood pressure
Too much fluid
An excess of fluids can lead to a too low salt content in the blood, a possible cause of cardiac arrhythmia. However, this occurs only very rarely in the case of extremely heavy drinking in too short a time. Our kidneys can process about 0.7 to 1 litre of water per hour.
What should I drink to keep my fluid levels up?
Water is of course best. Coffee and tea without milk or sugar are also very good sources of fluid.
You can, of course, also consume other non-alcoholic drinks to replenish your fluid levels, but bear in mind that these must first be processed by your body before they can be used as body fluids. In addition, sugary drinks or drinks with artificial additives, for example, produce extra waste products, so that part of the absorbed fluid is needed again to eliminate these waste products. So don't limit yourself to soft drinks only, but also drink water, tea, coffee or milk.
How about alcohol?
Alcohol causes you to lose more fluids than you absorb. So limit your alcohol consumption. If you do like to drink a glass or two, make sure you drink enough water to compensate.
- Translated from Dutch by Tamara Swalef -