Stay Hydrated for Gut’s Sake!
Summer’s longer days and warmer weather offer more time for sun, fun and outdoor activities. But with this brings a greater need to stay hydrated.
The Body Needs Water
It’s commonly known that about 60% of the human body is made up of water, making hydration a crucial component of overall health. Every cell, tissue and organ rely on water to function properly – including the gut! Water helps to:
- regulate body temperature,
- support healthy immune system functioning,
- lubricates joints,
- improve memory, alertness, mood and sleep quality,
- promote healthy digestion and flush waste from the body.
Hydration and the Gut
What isn’t as often talked about is the importance of proper hydration specifically for gut health. This Well+Good.com article Dehydration Can be a Disaster for Gut Health – Here’s How a Gastro Stays Hydrated in the Heat, was super helpful in this area!
Adequate hydration plays an important role in gastrointestinal tract secretions, digestion and nutrient absorption, waste elimination, and supports the gut microbiome. The body’s fluid balance and energy levels depend on how well your gut is absorbing water.
Dr. Sarah Robbins, a gastroenterologist and gut health expert, was quoted: “It (hydration) plays an important role in gastrointestinal tract secretions, the digestion and absorption of nutrients, waste elimination, and gut microbiome support”. She further said “hydration is critical for the formation of saliva, gastric acid, and enzyme secretions, necessary for the digestion and absorption of nutrients.” Fluids also help maintain the health of the cells lining the gut. “Fluid inside the gut improves the mixing of food in the stomach and absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. Water mixes with fibers in the gut, facilitating its role as a prebiotic, creating a gel-like substance with soluble fibers and binding to insoluble fibers to eliminate waste,” Dr. Robbins says. “The gut lining serves as a barrier and aids in nutrient absorption while keeping harmful bacteria and substances out of the bloodstream. Proper hydration also provides an optimal environment for the proliferation of a healthy gut microbiome.”
How to Stay Hydrated
Keep you and your gut microbiome hydrated by drinking water regularly, as well as consuming fluid-rich foods (did you know it’s estimated about 20% of the water we consume comes from food?). Here are delicious options:
Many fruits and vegetables are composed of over 90 percent water. Consuming plant-based foods can help maintain hydration while also providing dietary fiber and nutrients. Dr. Robbins says “Fiber present in many water-rich foods can support gut health by promoting healthy bowel movements and serving as a food source for beneficial gut bacteria (prebiotics).” Not all fluids are created equal, for example alcohol can easily have the reverse effect, especially on the gut. And limit sugary drinks.
Check out the articles we referenced for this post!
Sources: Yazawa, Maki. “Dehydration Can Be a Disaster for Gut Health—Here’s How a Gastro Stays Hydrated in the Heat” verywellmind.com, June 10, 2023. https://www.wellandgood.com/hydration-and-gut-health/
Mayo Clinic. “How to Stay Hydrated Over the Summer”. Mayoclinic.org, 2022 blog post. https://diet.mayoclinic.org/us/blog/2022/how-to-stay-hydrated-over-the-summer/