Along with taking breaks and managing the time you spend at the highest altitudes to avoid altitude sickness, the biggest health tip about staying healthy at altitude is to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. This is a great starting point. The dry air and lack of atmospheric pressure means the body tends to lose water at a faster rate than it otherwise would. But unfortunately simply drinking enough to replenish your hydration level isn’t enough to combat the health effects of the highest elevations.

 

Sweat Is Not Just Water: Replace Lost Nutrients

When you sweat that sweat is not just water. It is a soup of minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients that the body requires in order to function at optimal levels. Generally speaking, when people lose nutrients through sweating they fail to replenish those nutrients. They don’t know that they are losing key nutrients because they are thinking in terms of sweat and not nutrient depletion. As you continue to repeat this process of sweating and failing to replenish the body you start contracting nutritional deficiency diseases.

 

Nutritional deficiency diseases are basically diseases that you can avoid if you feed the body properly. These afflictions arise when the body gets low or empty of certain key nutrients in relation to a specific body system. Diabetes, arthritis, eye problems and bone issues are all examples of nutritional deficiency diseases. If you’re an athlete, you know that catching a cramp or “charlie horse” can be a nuisance. What’s the first thing that you are instructed to do when you have a case of the cramps? You are told to eat a banana correct? Because the banana contains potassium and other nutrients that regulate nerve and muscle function. You cannot replace the nutrients that you lost by eating candy, condiments, bread, refined foods and pasta because they have no nutrients in them. They have carbohydrates and empty calories but no micronutrients which the body needs. Once you feed these systems the appropriate nutrients, things go back to normal.

 

Useful Metaphors

The body is just like a car. When you buy a BMW or Mercedes Benz these cars come with manuals explaining what kind of gas the car requires to run efficiently. The gas for these cars are usually premium 91′ gasoline. If you go and put regular unleaded 87′ gas in them they will run for a while but they will not run as efficient as they would have had you put the 91′ gas in them. After constant repeated offenses such as this the car eventually breaks down. Or my mother used to tell me that your body will wash itself with whatever fluid you put into it. So your body is like laundry and when you drink soda it’s like washing your body in soda. When you don’t replenish your body with the nutrients it needs, it’s like trying to get everything clean without any cleaning solutions.

 

Due to the fact that sweat is not just water, when you sweat you must put raw, real nutrients back into the body. Packaged juices, soda pop, canned products and junk food will only exacerbate the situation. Water is only one part of the sweating puzzle. If you think that water is all-purpose solution to repairing your body, you may be in for a rude awakening.

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