When you think of hydration, you probably picture a nice big glass of water. But hydration can also come from water-dense foods. Avoid dehydration by checking out these great tips for staying hydrated.
Dehydration: Why Drinking Water And Staying Hydrated Is Important
Hydration isn’t just important for human life, it’s absolutely essential. If your body loses more fluids than it takes in, the consequences can be deadly. This is because every cell, tissue, and organ in your body requires water to function properly.
In fact, all your major organs are largely made up of water.
Your brain and heart are composed of 73 percent water; your lungs around 83 percent; your skin, 65 percent; and your muscles and kidneys, 79 percent. Even your bones contain 31 percent water.1
Now, when you think of severe dehydration, you might think about people who are lost in the desert or the wilderness. But the thing is, anyone can become severely dehydrated.
Some people fail to adequately hydrate their bodies, especially during hot weather or physical activity – when they lose water through sweat. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are extremely dangerous conditions. And severe dehydration can lead to both.2
Who Is Most Susceptible To Dehydration?
Some groups of the population are more at risk of becoming dehydrated. For example:
- The elderly can lose their sense of thirst with age, so they might not get enough fluid intake.
- Adults and young children who have diarrhea or vomiting can quickly become severely dehydrated. Try sipping water if you can’t keep much down.
- People with pre-existing illnesses (or who take certain medications) that cause them to urinate or sweat more can become dehydrated.
- Those who work out, or have outdoor jobs, may sweat more, especially during hot weather (even more, in humid weather), so fluid must be replaced by drinking water.3
If you fall into one of these categories, it’s especially important that you get into the routine of drinking plenty of water each day. If you find it difficult to stay hydrated, seek the advice of your doctor.
What Are The Signs Of Dehydration?
Your body is pretty good at letting you know when you need to up your hydration levels. Just pay attention to the signs and symptoms of potential dehydration, including:
- Feeling thirsty
- A dry mouth
- Less urine output than usual
- Dark-colored urine
- Dry skin
- Feeling tired
If you experience these symptoms, you might need to make some changes to your routine in order to get enough water each day.
If you experience these symptoms and you ARE drinking enough water, it’s time to see a doctor, ASAP.
One of the best ways to stay hydrated is by always carrying around a reusable water bottle with you. You’ll be able to mindlessly sip on the water bottle throughout the day.
And, one of the best ways to monitor if you’re on track is to aim for pale-colored urine.
Drinks Besides Water For Staying Hydrated
Now, water is the obvious (and best) choice to rehydrate your body. But it’s not your only choice. If you want to keep things interesting, you can turn to other kinds of drinks for hydration.
Where you need to be careful is by asking yourself what else is in the drink. For example, both coffee and fruit juice are full of water. But too much coffee can be dehydrating because of the caffeine content, and fruit juice contains a load of sugar. Likewise, if you’re thinking of rehydrating with flavored sodas – bad idea. The combination of caffeine and sugar could make you even more dehydrated.
Instead, turn to one of these hydrating beverages:
- Fresh pressed vegetable juices
- Sparkling water
- Herbal teas (hot or iced tea)
- Coconut water
- Water with fresh lemons, limes, cucumber, mint, or berries added
- Your own homemade chia seed water (chia seeds can be fun to drink, as they balloon up like boba balls)
Though water (and water-based drinks) are usually enough for basic hydration, sometimes the body needs some electrolytes.
Electrolytes are minerals found in the blood that help to regulate fluids, blood pressure, muscle contractions, and more. The most well-known of these are sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
If you lose too many of these minerals, you’ll become dehydrated. You may also experience bad muscle cramps.5
Now, water doesn’t contain electrolytes, which is why when you’re ill, you’re usually advised to drink a sports drink. Sports drinks contain electrolytes (though be aware, they also contain lots of sugar).
And you don’t necessarily need to take in electrolytes during an average workout. Electrolytes are usually required after intense workouts (i.e. marathons) or illness, where you may experience fluid loss through diarrhea or vomiting.
There are far better ways to take in electrolytes than sugary sports drinks. Electrolyte tablets are an option, and so is coconut water. Coconut water is basically nature’s sports drink, and it’s a whole lot healthier for you because it’s packed with electrolytes and much less, or no added sugar.6
Tips For Staying Hydrated: Boost Hydration With Fruits And Vegetables
Did you know that you can also eat your water? Aside from carrying around a water bottle, you can also snack on these water-dense foods throughout the day:
Cucumber – 96% water
Iceberg Lettuce – 96% water
Celery – 95% water
Tomato – 94% water
Green Bell Pepper – 92% water
Watermelon – 92% water
Strawberries – 92% water7
Feeling Dehydrated All The Time? Know When To See the Doctor
Because dehydration is a serious health issue, it’s important not to take it lightly. If you’re constantly feeling dehydrated, you should always talk to your doctor.
If you’d like to simply enhance your hydration, talk to a registered dietitian about ways to pack more hydration into your diet.
You can drink more water by carting around a reusable bottle in your bag each day. It’s a lot easier to remember to drink water when you’ve got a water bottle right in front of you. Upping your daily water intake is great for your overall health, and it can help you get glowing, clear, healthy skin, too.
7 Simple Exercises to Help Strengthen Muscles
Seniors Activity Ideas That Are Enjoyable For Anyone
18 Ways To Boost Your Longevity