Who doesn’t love a good sunbath!? Just the thought of soaking up all that sun on a beach is something that soothes us. But what happens when we go overboard!?
Prolonged exposure & exercising under the hot sun often leads to loss of precious water and electrolytes from the body. A study done in the US showed that almost 60% of Americans do not drink enough water on a daily basis.
What is Dehydration!?
Dehydration as the name suggests refers to an excessive loss of water from the body. It is caused by the body’s internal & external factors working simultaneously.
People suffering from certain health conditions are more prone to being dehydrated. This includes diarrhea, vomiting, excess sweating, burns and diabetes.
Anyone who performs heavy physical activity outdoors is susceptible to suffering from dehydration. This group mostly includes athletes, manual laborers, children and the elderly. Older people experience pronounced health problems during the summer months. In fact, this is one of the main reasons for them visiting the hospital each year.
Extreme cases of dehydration lead to loss of focus, persistent muscle pains which can be totally avoided with the right amounts of water. Water also plays an important role in brain functions. Dehydration affects mood and cognitive functions. In advanced cases, it leads to vision impairment, difficulty in perception, memory and psychomotor skills.
Does dehydration equal getting thirsty!?
Well getting thirsty is definitely one of the signs but there are others.
Once the signs of dehydration show up, it escalates pretty fast into “severe dehydration”. This is particularly true if you do not act fast. So it is best to become familiar with the different signs of dehydration and rehydrate yourself at the earliest:
Initial Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration:
- Dryness in the mouth
- Decreased Urination
- Dark colored urine
- Quick muscle fatigue
- Recurring Headaches
Later Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration:
If you continue without replenishing yourself with water, then there are other signs that show up:
- Extreme thirst
- Dry mouth and mucous membrane
- Lack of sweat and tears
- Very little to no urination
- Loss of moisture from the skin
- Low blood pressure
The muscles of the digestive tract need sufficient amounts of water to function efficiently. Dehydration over a long period usually results in diarrhea, constipation, cramping or hemorrhoids. And on a very advanced case, there would be fever and delirium!
All this just for a glass of water!! Whoosh! Well, here are some ways to stay cool and stop yourself from going bonkers.
5 Simple ways to keep yourself from going Dry:
1. Drink sufficient Water on a Daily basis: Drinking sufficient water is the best way to prevent getting beaten down by the heat. Particularly during the summer months when we are perspiring more than usual.
Drinking about 8 – 10-ounce glasses of water on a daily basis would keep us in the safe zone.
This has been calculated based on what is needed to maintain the electrolyte balance in the body. But there are various factors which contribute to deciding the perfect amount of water for each person. It depends on diet, physical activity, BMI and general health conditions.
How much Hydration!?
One of the best ways to find out how much water you should drink is to check your urine! In order to check how much needs to go in, you check how much is coming out.
Ideally, you should be urinating at least once every 3 -4 hours. It is good if your urine is not dark yellow. That does not mean that it should be clear either. Pale Yellow what you should be looking for. As they say, “Art is everywhere”.
For most people, this would translate to 10 glasses of water per day. But this number could vary depending on age, diet, daily work habits etc.
No doubt pregnant women and particularly those who are breastfeeding need a few additional glasses of water each day. Anyone who is on prescription medicine for certain ailments would need extra water. This includes antibiotics, diuretics, hormone pills and medication to control blood pressure.
2. Eat your Fluids!
Better than drinking plain water is to eat Water! Foods which are water replenishing and loaded with some good electrolytes are a great substitute for a glass of water.
These include coconut water and certain fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits like melons, grapefruit, tangerines, pineapples, papayas, and berries are great. Vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots are just as good. Besides these foods, even cultured dairy foods like yogurt and kefir are great to hydrate yourself with.
As you see these foods mostly tend to be fruits and vegetables. This is because these natural foods are a rich source of soluble fibers that hold a good amount of electrolytes and water.
This is exactly how the guys in the tropics keep their cool even when the temperature melts the ceiling fan! They stay cool as a cucumber even during the hottest months.
A good example is that of Costa Rica, which is known to be one of the world’s healthy blue zones. People in this region have one of the longest lifespans. This could be attributed to the nutrition-rich hydrating fruits they consume on a regular basis.
Besides just munching through, you could also try your hand at making some smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to go if you are looking for a raw solution to fight dehydration.
3. Water + Nutrition!
If you aren’t the kind that takes to water too easily try healthy alternatives to plain water. Coconut water is one such substitute. This is one of the best possible drinks you could have. Coconut water is known to be a rich source of potassium, amino acids, and healthy enzymes. Did you know that the chemical composition of coconut water is very much like that of human blood? This is why it is so ideal for us to take Coconut water particularly when we are looking to rehydrate ourselves. Besides that, you have a whole range of juices, teas, soups, smoothies, and broths to keep you going!
4. Exercise and Water go hand-in-hand:
Make sure to hydrate yourself during and after your physical practice routine. All that sweating saps a whole lot of water from the body.
The simplest way to overcome this is to consume more water than usual. A glass of water before your HE-Man routine and some water immediately after is more than sufficient. Even a small cup of water before a short workout and a couple of cups before an hour’s long workout would help go a long way.
In case of endurance training, it is better to drink up something more nutritious than plain water. And remember, sports drinks are not the solution here! They are loaded with sucrose, sugar, synthetic flavors and a whole lot of other chemicals. Some natural coconut water is so much better than that acid mix. Besides drinking up, it would also help to eat a balanced meal after your workout. And continue to stay hydrated through the course of the day.
5. When ill, be with Water:
Fevers, diarrhea, vomiting and gastrointestinal are known to drain the body’s water reserves. This leaves the person dehydrated.
Dehydrating yourself at times you are ill makes things worse. At times you become iller. Electrolytic drinks would help your body bounce back when struck with vomiting or diarrhea.
6. Avoid Dehydrators!
Avoid any food that would sap up the body’s water resources. This includes alcohol, caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee. More so, make sure you avoid any drink rich in sugar like sodas and fruit-flavored juices can have a dehydrating effect on the body. They increase the frequency of urination and facilitate electrolyte loss from the body.
Besides these drinks, all dishes rich in sugar, salt, spice and oily foods have a dehydrating effect on the body. Make sure to either avoid them or just drink extra water when you consume them to prevent the body from going dry.
With all this in mind, make sure that you do not go crazy all for a glass of water!
Disclaimer: The above article is sponsored by Thyrve, the world’s first Gut Health Program that incorporates microbiome testing and personalized probiotics to ensure a healthier gut, happier life, and a brighter future.