Wa­ter found in plants may be the best way to hy­drate

Shape (Singapore) - - November 2018 -

What your body re­ally needs to func­tion op­ti­mally, it turns out, may be gel wa­ter, a lit­tle-known sub­stance that sci­en­tists are just start­ing to learn about. Also called struc­tured wa­ter, this liq­uid is found in and around plant and an­i­mal cells, in­clud­ing our own, says Dr Dana Co­hen, co-au­thor of Quench, a book about gel wa­ter. “Be­cause most of the wa­ter in our cells is in this form, we be­lieve our bod­ies ab­sorb it quite ef­fi­ciently,” she says. That means gel wa­ter, which we can get from plants such as aloe, mel­ons, greens and chia seeds, of­fers an ex­tremely ef­fec­tive way to stay hy­drated, en­er­gised and healthy. In fact, adding gel wa­ter to plain wa­ter dur­ing ex­er­cise or any­time your body is parched may be the best way to hy­drate, says Stacy Sims, an ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist and a nu­tri­tion sci­en­tist at the Univer­sity of Waikato in New Zealand. “Plain wa­ter has a low os­mo­lal­ity – a mea­sure of the con­cen­tra­tion of par­ti­cles, such as glu­cose and sodium it con­tains – which means it doesn’t get into the body ef­fec­tively through the small in­testines, where 95 per cent of wa­ter ab­sorp­tion takes place,” ex­plains the co-au­thor of Roar, a nu­tri­tion and train­ing guide. Plant and other sources of wa­ter, on the other hand, of­ten con­tain some glu­cose or sodium, so our bod­ies can eas­ily soak them up.

Gel wa­ter also gives us “helper nu­tri­ents”, says Dr Howard Mu­rad, au­thor of The Wa­ter

Se­cret and founder of Mu­rad Skin­care. “When you eat a cu­cum­ber, you’re get­ting not just wa­ter but also phy­tonu­tri­ents and roughage. In gel form, the wa­ter is re­leased more grad­u­ally into your body, plus you get the other ben­e­fits of those nu­tri­ents.” Here are three easy ways to in­crease your in­take of this su­per hy­dra­tor – boost­ing your health and drive.

Drink a green smoothie ev­ery day

Start your morn­ings with a healthy shake made with greens, chia seeds, le­mon, berries, cu­cum­ber, an ap­ple or a pear, and a lit­tle gin­ger, sug­gests Dr Co­hen. “Chia soaked in wa­ter is ex­tremely high in gel wa­ter and is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which help move wa­ter into the cells,” she says. Cu­cum­bers and pears are also loaded with gel wa­ter, plus fi­brous tis­sue, which helps your body ab­sorb the wa­ter.

Add a pinch of salt

Stir 1/ tea­spoon of ta­ble salt into roughly 16 ev­ery 240ml of reg­u­lar wa­ter you drink. This boosts the os­mo­lal­ity just enough to make your small in­testines ab­sorb it, says Stacy. Sprin­kle salt on your salad or fruit plate too. “The best thing for you on a hot day is some lightly salted cold melon or tomato,” she says. “These foods have a high wa­ter con­tent and a bit of glu­cose. That, plus the salt, will help your body take in the fluid.”

Ex­er­cise a lit­tle more

It sounds counter-in­tu­itive, but the right moves can ac­tu­ally op­ti­mise your hy­dra­tion lev­els, says Gina Bria, head of the Hy­dra­tion Foun­da­tion and co-au­thor of Quench. Re­search has shown that the fas­cia, the thin sheath of fi­brous tis­sue around our mus­cles and or­gans, trans­ports wa­ter mol­e­cules through­out the body and cer­tain ac­tiv­i­ties help that process along. “Twist­ing move­ments are es­pe­cially good for hy­dra­tion,” Gina says. Spend a few min­utes do­ing yoga or some stretch­ing three or four times a day to keep the wa­ter flow­ing.

Strength-build­ing ex­er­cises may also help your body hy­drate. “Mus­cle is about 70 per cent wa­ter,” says Dr Mu­rad. Bulk­ing up lets your body hold on to more wa­ter to pre­vent de­hy­dra­tion.

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