Casa de Campo Living

The Importance of Proper Hydration

This post is also available in: Spanish

Due to our geographic location, Dominicans enjoy nice summer weather all year long, and although we often feel a slight coolness that relieves the high temperatures, we must bear in mind that adequate hydration is essential throughout the year. But what is hydration? It as the process by which liquid is added to a compound, an organism or an object. 

Bearing this in mind, we start from the fact that hydration is not only about drinking ”a lot of water” but rather making sure this water enters our cells, that all the liquid we ingest daily should not just go through our intestines, it should reach the cell, which is the main target of our highly recommended hydration. We have the false belief that we should drink water until the urine comes out ”clear” and the truth is that this is not supported scientifically, what we should seek is that our body knows how to take advantage of the amount of water we can provide it during the day.

Good hydration is not only necessary before a great physical effort or avoiding heat stroke; it’s necessary because our bodies are formed mainly of water. Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly. For example, your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate your joints. Water is needed for overall good health.

Dehydration can be due to environmental factors, such as excessive sweating due to heat, physical activity, or pathology that conditions this imbalance, among other causes. The symptoms are feeling tired, dizzy, low blood pressure, tachycardia, muscle spasms, or cramps. When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied with drinking water. Don’t wait until you notice symptoms of dehydration to take action. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water. 

Hydrating properly brings many health benefits which we must take into account if we want to have a healthy body and withstand the high temperatures of summer. The positive effects of hydration include: higher performance in our physical activities; more mental and intellectual agility, studies ensure that dehydration causes cerebral contraction, negatively affecting memory and learning ability; slowing cell aging; and improved digestion and daily evacuations.

Being hydrated is not only about consuming two liters of water daily. Consumption of fruit and vegetables, milk, and herbal teas all adds to the amount of water you get each day, while also providing fiber and micronutrients necessary for the proper functioning of the body. 

A few recommendations for how to keep your body hydrated: 

  • Drink approximately two liters of water daily. That is a reasonable goal.
  • Do not wait to be thirsty to drink water, some studies show that we should wait for this signal from the body, but thirst is already a symptom of dehydration. 
  • Consume three to five servings of fruit per day
  • Eat at least two servings of vegetables with every meal
  • Consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
  • Avoid using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, unless you are under treatment supervised by your doctor.

This article was originally published in our Magazine Casa de Campo Living and was contributed by Dr. Maria Teresa de Jesus Corporan – Clinical Nutritionist.

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