Written by Alicia Cassels, MA, MFLN Military Caregiving Team Member
Is Hydration one of Your Daily Priorities?
It would be nearly impossible to overstate the importance of proper hydration in just about everything we do. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies water as important in the elimination of bodily waste, mood management and mental clarity (2016). The American Heart Association identifies proper hydration as critical for heart health and efficient muscle performance. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has even identified a potential link between proper hydration and weight.
Taking the time to nourish our bodies through the drinking of fluids is clearly important. Yet, taking the time to hydrate can often fall to the bottom of the priority list on days that are hectic, overscheduled or otherwise stressful. Ironically, it is on these days that paying attention to proper hydration is likely needed most. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers this advice,
“Bodies, particularly when stressed (as caregivers’ bodies often are), require water. Water cleanses, refreshes and also cuts down on the urge to indulge in mindless snacking or overeating for comfort…“.
We Are Bodies of Water
The U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior (USGS) offers fascinating information from Dr. Jeffrey Utz, Neuroscience, Pediatrics at Allegheny University, indicating that 78% of the body composition of newborn babies is made of water. The ratio is reduced to 66% by the end of the first year of life and levels off at approximately 60% for adult men and 55% for adult women.
The USGS provides a snapshot of more than 10 critical functions water plays in the body; a few of the functions include allowing body cells to grow, reproduce and survive, assisting the brain in the production of neurotransmitters and hormones, and serving as a shock absorber in the spinal cord and brain.