Heatstroke, sunstroke and dehydration are the great enemies of summer. We often blame the sun and the heat for these ailments, but let’s face it, we help them knock us out by forgetting to stay hydrated. To make the most of summer without suffering its negative effects, let's not forget to drink... to our health!
Even though my body is no longer growing, I still need water
Without water, there can be no life. One oxygen atom for two hydrogen atoms and anything is possible. Between 60% and 70% of us human beings are made up of water. Water is necessary for many of our vital functions:
- Breathing: water helps maintain the volume of blood in the body, so that it can properly transport oxygen to the brain, organs and muscles.
- Digestion: saliva levels are crucial to the proper digestion of food.
- Thermoregulation: maintaining an optimal body temperature for our metabolism to function properly requires the ability to evacuate heat through sweat.
- Detox: through urine, we eliminate all sorts of waste that is harmful to our bodies.
- Immune system: the skin, the human body's first line of mechanical defence, is made up of 80% of water. Keeping well hydrated helps cell renewal and keeps the skin healthy for better protection.
Alcohol doesn't count...
A beer after football training or a glass of rosé is nice but doesn't go far enough. When it comes to hydration, nothing beats water. But when it comes to alcohol, the opposite is true: the more we drink, the more dehydrated we become. Let's take a closer look.
Alcohol contains ethanol. Our bodies consider this substance to be poisonous and therefore try to dilute it by dispersing it throughout the body. But ethanol acts on a hormone produced by our body: vasopressin.
Vasopressin is antidiuretic. This means that it enables us to keep water inside the body. By preventing it from doing its job, ethanol increases the elimination of water from our bodies. That's why the stronger the alcohol, the more often we go to the toilet during the evening.
In the end, we lose more water than we drink and suffer the effects of dehydration, better known as a hangover. Remember this advice on your first few nights out?
- Drink a glass of water between each glass of alcohol!
This is absolutely true! if you don't want to spend all Sunday feeling hungover, don’t forget to manage your water intake.
How much water do we need every day?
To maintain optimal water levels, we should ingest the same amount of water as we lose every day. The metabolism uses 1 litre of water a day to function. We lose 1.5 litres a day through sweat and urine. Since our food provides us with around 20% of our daily water quota, unless you're an astronaut on a mission and only eat freeze-dried food, that leaves us with around 2 litres to drink every day.
2 litres is 8 x 25cl glasses. To make it easier, all we have to do is divide them up properly:
- A glass of water when you get up and one when you go to bed
- Two glasses during the meal
- A drink with coffee
- The other three should be easy to place during the day
When we are well hydrated, our bodies are able to function properly.