“Stay hydrated” has become the need of the hour! You would think it’s more relevant now with the ongoing pandemic of Coronavirus, but hydration goes a long way in building your health and immune system than just dealing with a particular sickness. However, since we are grappling with a severe health concern, it’s important to know why hydration could help fight COVID-19 and other infections with more gusto.
Let's understand the concept of Hydration, first.
What is Hydration and why do you need it?
Our bodies constitute 70% water, which means, we need ample amounts of fluids to keep the body’s hydration at optimal levels. This ensures that our organs function efficiently and your immunity stays at it's best. Drinking enough water and other fluids can keep the cells oxygenated, thus making them work at full capacity and helping our system fight foreign bodies. Most importantly, hydration helps distribute nutrients across your body, thus making the most of your nutrition intake.
With respect to current Covid-19, this could prove to be more beneficial. As CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) explains, hydration is also important to regulate our body temperature. Whether you are infected with Coronavirus or any other seasonal flu virus, the infection causes your body temperature to increase. Drinking ample amounts of water and consuming fluids in other forms will help bring the temperature down, thus making it difficult for the virus to survive inside the body.
What happens when your body is dehydrated?
Have you ever seen dried plants and trees on a hot summer day? They look frail and withered. Well, now imagine your organs without enough fluids and devoid of the hydration they need to stay in shape. Like the plants in the summer sun, your internal organs could feel parched and not function as they should.
Also, particularly during an infection like flu, common cold, or otherwise, your body is dosed with medication, which can heat organs and cause dehydration. You also lose a lot of fluid from your body through mucus. To keep the internal temperatures normal and replenish the loss of fluids, it is essential that you keep yourself hydrated.
Now that you have a fair understanding of why hydration could be one of the best remedies to fight diseases, let us understand what constitutes as sources of hydration and how much should be your intake.
What constitutes as hydration?
Water, pure, simple, regular drinking water is all that the body needs on a daily basis. But since we never get the optimum nutrition from food in the present day or follow the most ideal lifestyle, it has become almost necessary to substitute nutrition through different forms of fluids. Natural beverages like coconut water, fruit infused water, fruit juices (unprocessed and sugar free), broth-based soups, glucose based drinks, electrolytes, etc. also help boost hydration while fulfilling your body’s nutrition needs.
How much should you drink?
Now, just because your body needs water, you cannot flood it with gallons of water every day. There is a certain volume of fluids that makes it adequate to keep bodily functions normal and boost immunity. You will find multiple theories and opinions on how much water intake is good. But normally, as per major health authorities and nutritional guidelines, it is recommended to have eight glasses of water (of 8 fluid ounce each) which is about 2 liters in a day. But do remember that beverages like tea/coffee/juices etc. although ‘liquids’, do not constitute your ‘daily water consumption’. However, herbal teas and beverages with medicinal properties can add to hydration levels and support immunity building.
Depending on your body type or amount of fluid loss that your body experiences daily the amount of fluid consumption changes. For example, if you are prone to heavy sweating or lose calories through exercise or physical labor, then you might need a little more than the standard 2 liters per day. Also, when you are sick or fighting an infection, it is recommended to drink a little more water than you would usually do under normal circumstances. So, observe your body, it's needs, and manage the fluid intake accordingly.
Foods with high water content
Drinking water and fluids are one way to keeping oneself hydrated, but it is not the only option to up-regulate the hydration level in our body. There are several foods with a high water content – which means that eating these foods will result in your body absorbing water from these foods during digestion and adding to your daily dose of water intake.
Fruits like watermelon, tomatoes, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, strawberries, and musk melon boast of 85 -95% water content. Vegetables like celery, capsicum, cauliflower, cucumber, and zucchini are hydrating veggies that are made up of 75-85% water. Additionally, skim milk, paneer, plain yogurt (dahi) are also excellent sources of hydration through food.
Whether it is to fight the current condition of Covid-19 or to simply fight related symptoms and generic infections, we must keep our immunity at the optimum and boost our organ health. Keeping yourself hydrated can only be beneficial for your body in the long run. From immunity to weight loss, skin, and hair health, hydration works wonders for your holistic wellness. Take care and W(h)ater up!