What is the Most Important Nutrient for the Body?
by Jennifer Peters | Jul 13, 2019 | Nutrition Notes
The most important nutrient for the body isn’t a vitamin or mineral. It isn’t protein or those magic Omega-3s. It’s good old clean WATER! Likewise, the most common nutritional deficiency is also good old clean WATER! Most people in the world are deficient in the most important nutrient that our body needs.
Our bodies are approximately 60% water. The human body can go 8 weeks without food but only a few days without water. It is found in every tissue and all cells in the body. Water plays a part in many vital functions in the body, from transporting nutrients, cushioning bones and joints, flushing toxins, regulating body temperature, empowering the natural healing process and maintaining electrical properties of our cells. Our bodies can only produce 8% of the water they need internally. That means that 92% of our water must be consumed through food and beverages. Water can’t be stored for long periods of time and the body is constantly using it to filter, making daily consumption essential.
What Does Dehydration Look Like?
Dehydration has many signs and symptoms that can vary. Early signs of dehydration include fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression, cravings, cramps and headaches. Chronic dehydration can lead to more severe issues like heartburn, joint pain, back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, constipation and colitis.
Conversely, when we are properly hydrated we can have great energy, glowing skin, a happy heart, steady body temperatures, cushiony joints, and a body cleared of toxins.
The good news is eliminating dehydration is almost as simple as increasing your water consumption throughout the day. In general, we need about ½ our body weight in ounces in water to keep hydrated. Since I am 150 lbs., I need to consume a minimum of 75 ounces of water daily. If you consume diuretics (coffee, tea, alcohol, fruit juice) you may need more than the minimum amount.
If we increase our water intake we will see some drastic changes pretty quickly while others may take more time to improve. Our joints are one of the first places to get dehydrated and one of the last to be re-hydrated. It takes three solid months of good hydration to get our joints cushiony again!
Electrolytes – Worth It or Not?
The other factor to consider when you are thinking about hydration is electrolytes. Water depends on electrolytes for proper absorption. Electrolytes are minerals that are able to conduct electricity when dissolved in water. When combined with water they make sure the H2O you are drinking can actually be used and not just flushed out of your body. The common ones (the minerals we lose in stress and when we sweat) are sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride and phosphate. Having a good balance of these electrolytes can help with muscle cramping and contracting, enhance relaxation and our endurance, and improve our overall wellbeing. Good spring and mineral water will have electrolytes that are naturally occurring. If you aren’t drinking mineral water you may think about supplementing with a good mineral blend.
Trace minerals or even Redmonds Sea Salt is great to add to H20!
Water really is life! It can drastically improve your well-being. We often tend to think the solutions to our health and happiness are wrapped up in complicated supplements, perfect nutrition and big life changes. Sometimes what the body actually needs is just a tall glass of water!
A few simple tricks to get your water in every day:
Purchase a sweet water bottle that you love! Some how drinking from a cup you really enjoy makes it so much easier.
A lot of people find purchasing a reusable cup with a straw helps them to increase their water intake.
Sip on water throughout the day! Don’t chug it all at once.
To get some good electrolytes add a pinch of real sea salt (we like Redmunds), TRACE minerals or a NUNN tab into your water.
Do your best to drink clean, filtered water. Even our city water can be loaded with sneaky chemicals and toxins.
Never drink more than a gallon of water in a single day (regardless of body weight). Drinking too much water can actually have the opposite effect and flush your body of key minerals!
Moral of this Nutrition Notes? Instead of “Got Milk” think…Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!
About the Co-Author
Kellen Kurtz is a wife, mama, budding athlete, lover of good food & wine and a passionate seeker of health, wholeness and all the good things of life. Kellen works with everyday athletes, families, moms, women and life enthusiasts.
Her journey in nutrition was rocked when, at the age of 3, her son was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. Since then she has relentlessly searched for holistic solutions to help her son, and entire family, thrive through this life altering diagnosis.
Kellen is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Restorative Wellness Solutions Certified and the founder of Rise Nutrition & Wellness.