You don’t pour oil all OVER your car, do you…?

By Tim Bean:

When faced with the possibility of dehydration, it’s a common practice to slather on moisturiser, conditioners and crèmes to revive your skin and prevent it from drying out.

But just as you wouldn’t pour oil OVER your car to keep it running smoothly (you’d put in IN, right?), applying layers of product ON your skin may not address the problem on the inside.

Drinking loads of water might seem like the obvious choice, and you definitely need a certain amount to keep your systems running smoothly – if nothing else it’s vital as a holding tank in the muscle for your main anaerobic energy molecule, glycogen.

How much will vary from person to person and, of course, your environment and activity levels as well.  Generally about 6 glassfuls of pure, clean water per day is a good baseline to work from.

But I believe it should be a two-pronged strategy, starting with minimising the loss of liquid, moisture and vapour in the first place.

It is known that certain elements in our food choices accelerate rapid dehydration: caffeine, alcohol, salt and MSG are the usual suspects.  The situation is further complicated when you sweat during exercise, travel long-haul and become fatigued through lack of sleep.

In these situations you’re also losing valuable minerals, electrolytes and salts – especially calcium, magnesium and potassium – that will need replacing.

Traditionally we’ve looked to certain natural foods for these, such as banana’s, and Kiwifruit, but there are other great sources we often overlook.  Sweet potatoes, whole oranges (remember having orange wedges at half time in school sports – there’s a good reason for that) and beetroot leaves (terrific in salads and smoothies!) head the list, as well as dates, figs, tomatoes and to a lesser extent, raisins.

Also really high on the list comes pure natural coconut water (not milk), with 20 times the potassium found in most so-called “sports” drinks (usually nothing more than glorified sodas), none of the calories, and as a liquid is also very refreshing!

This is a great drink to use to re-hydrate when stepping off the plane, during and after workouts or sports, and as a base in your breakfast smoothies.

You can find it in most supermarkets in the UK and, whilst some would say that it’s not very cheap, you can get a litre container for about the same price as your usual vente mocha latte – and guess which will do you the power of good, and which will burn out your adrenals & suck the life out of you..?

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