Your body is made up 60 to 70% water. So as you can see your body depends on it to maintain life. It helps your organs to function properly, flushes out toxins and waste, keeps your skin looking young and healthy. Water helps regulate your body temperature. It is such an essential part of a healthy life.
How do you lose water?
Your body will lose hydration just by functioning normally. Breathing, sweating and using the restroom cause you to lose water. There are situations where you lose more than normal. For example, hotter outside temperatures, exercising or experiencing illness, such as vomiting, can cause you to become dehydrated fast. Medications that are used for chronic health conditions like high blood pressure can also cause you to lose more fluids.
Are you dehydrated?
Dehydration can be considered mild to severe. It depends on the signs that you exhibit. If you are mildly dehydrated you will experience things like headaches, thirst, muscle cramps, dry mouth or your urine is darker in color.
More severe cases of dehydration can include dizziness, very little urine output, confusion or irritability and rapid breathing or heartbeat.
What can you do to maintain normal hydration and prevent or treat mild dehydration?
You need to be aware that dehydration can occur quickly and with only about 1-2% of a decrease in hydration. Daily living requires you to be well hydrated. Make it a habit to drink at least half your weight in water in ounces. If you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 ounces of water a day. You want to drink clean, filtered water. I ‘m not really a big fan of bottled water, I think it is a waste of money and fills up the landfill. Consider getting a water pitcher that filters contaminants like lead, pesticides and other chemicals. Another way is through your foods. A lot of foods contain a high water content, examples are grapes, watermelon, cucumber, celery, berries, oranges and apples. Eat these foods daily to keep yourself hydrated.
Plan ahead. If you know you will be out working in the garden, at the beach or exercising, pack water and water rich foods. Be proactive in hydrating yourself before your workout or time outdoors in the sun. Also add extra water to your daily drinking ounces to replenish what extra you are losing.
Maybe you don’t like the taste of water but you can get creative, add lime, lemon, berries,mint leaves or naturally flavored stevia to create a flavor you love. Or even pretend that you are treating yourself and pour your water in a fancy glass for a spa like experience. Do what it takes to make you want to drink it.
If you just happen to be experiencing some signs of mild dehydration, take action. Stop what you are doing, rest and re-hydrate yourself. Many people choose sports drinks to re-hydrate and some can be beneficial but some can do more harm than good. When choosing a sports drink there are many things to consider. Look for ones that contain no artificial sugars, colors or preservatives, 3 sources of carbohydrates that equal 20-28 grams, contains fructose instead of sucrose and provide you with several electrolyte replacement. Contact me if you want a more detailed report on sports drinks and how they measure up to this criteria. Definitely avoid sodas or highly caffeinated beverages. These drinks can actually increase your risk for dehydration.
If you or a loved one are experiencing the more severe signs of dehydration listed earlier, seek medical help, don’t try to manage it on your own.
Remember to keep yourself hydrated daily, be proactive and quickly adjust your fluids intake as needed to prevent dehydration.
Here’s to your health! Cheers!