Hydration: The New Black

Hydration is the 1st rule of Nutrition

Hydration is the 1st rule of Nutrition

An old English proverb says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. A Discreet and Delicious Performance Chef can make delicious food that you want to eat, and which is good for you and meets most of your nutritional needs. What we can’t do is make you drink.

The amount of water in the human body ranges from 50%-75% and varies with age, gender and fitness level. Infants have a higher percentage than children and children higher than adults. Lean tissue contains more water than fatty tissue so typically men have a higher percentage than women and athletes have a higher percentage than an average person.

Water in the body performs many vital functions and we can’t survive without it for more than a few days. Among many other things, water regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints and helps transport nutrients around the body. For everybody, these functions are vital for sustaining life, but beyond that, for athletes, they are essential to ensure they perform at the highest possible level.

There is a more direct link between hydration and nutrition. Water is needed to metabolise the proteins and carbohydrates in our food. If we are dehydrated, we can’t get as much goodness from the food that we eat. This is why most people drink with their meals. Athletes need to get as much nutrition as possible from their food, so for them, staying hydrated is crucial. Water also dissolves the minerals, some vitamins and nutrients, and carries them around the body.

Many people have a drink when they feel thirsty, but that isn’t good enough. By that time, the body has already lost 2%-3% of its water but mental and physical performance begin to drop off after just 1% dehydration. In order to be at their peak, athletes can’t even afford to be dehydrated by 1% because it will affect their decision making and their physical performance, so it is vital that they stay hydrated.

One of the ways they do this is by drinking lots of smoothies. The advantage of using smoothies for hydration is that they also provide additional vitamins and minerals. A regular part of the work of a Discreet and Delicious Performance Chef is to make fresh smoothies for the athlete, either when they return from training or for them to have later in the evening or for breakfast.

Eating a healthy diet, rich in whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetables is good for you in many ways, and one of those ways is that it actually helps keep you hydrated. Virtually all food has some water in it, especially natural whole foods. Fruit and vegetables contain between 80% and 98% water so eating high water content vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots or celery with a meal or snack is one of the easiest ways to improve your hydration.

I’m off for a glass of water and a stick of celery now, drink up!

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