Sunday, 4 July 2010

The zero calorie super-nutrient

Another scorching weekend, plenty of opportunities to catch some sun, enjoy some sport and get a bit dehydrated!  Which brings me onto one of the most important nutrients for the body ... water.  It's free (unless like me you drink bottled), easily available, has zero calories and is beneficial for every system in the body ... what an all round good guy!

Water is essential for energy production in the body and so dehydration can lead to poor energy (and reduced fat burning), impaired concentration and mental focus and poor sports performance.  Water is also used by the liver in detoxification and helps prevent constipation, so being well hydrated helps the body eliminate toxins.  It is also found in every cell in the body including your skin, keeping your skin cells plump and your skin looking healthy. 

I have touched on the importance of water intake in a few of my recent blogs so don't want to labour the point but feel I also need to clear up some confusion as to what counts as water intake!!

Basically it's water, or herbal teas, or water when mixed with fruit juice and that's it ... not water with sugary cordial/squash, water in a fizzy drink or cups of tea or coffee ... yes these all contain water however drinking these is not the same as drinking pure water and here's why:

Caffeine ... is a diuretic, which means it actually encourages your kidneys to excrete more water so drinking tea and coffee actually dehydrates you and mean you have to drink more water to compensate.  The same is true of beer and cider.

Sugary or fizzy drinks ... are not natural to the body and so require some detoxification by the liver.  This process uses up water and therefore, whilst diluted squash will still hydrate you, it will not do so to the same extent as pure water.  This is much more the case for alcohol which places a much bigger burden on the liver.

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