Now that it’s summer our bodies are losing more water than usual every day.
Did you know that water…
Composes 70% of your brain, 22% of your bones and 75% of your muscles
Regulates your body temperature
Removes waste from your body’s cells
Helps carry oxygen for breathing
Protects and cushions your joints and vital organs, and
Helps your body to absorb nutrients
No wonder we can develop health problems if we don’t drink enough water. Chronic dehydration can cause lack of energy, migraine, constipation, chronic pains such as joint pain, difficulty concentrating, lack of mental clarity, and insomnia. Even anxiety and depression have been linked to chronic dehydration which, according to research, can also slow the body’s metabolism.
Are you running on empty?
Your body is about 60% water. Lose even 1.5% of that —the tipping point for mild dehydration—and your mood, energy levels, and cognitive function all drop. And while there are obvious reasons you can end up dehydrated—a sunny day, exercise, or not drinking enough in general—other triggers are less obvious. See below some surprising causes of dehydration I have found, and how to prevent them:-
During and before your period it’s best to drink an extra glass of water each day. Estrogen and progesterone influence your body’s hydration levels, and when the two are roller-coastering, you may need to increase your fluid intake to stay hydrated.
When you’re under stress, your adrenal glands pump out stress hormones. And if you’re constantly under pressure, eventually your adrenals become exhausted, causing an adrenal insufficiency. As adrenal fatigue progresses, your body’s production of aldosterone drops, triggering dehydration and low electrolyte levels.
Any time you break a sweat, be it an hour-long spin class or quick jog around the park, you’re losing water. And, week after week, if you are sweating more than you’re sipping, you could become dehydrated. Try this: Weigh yourself immediately before and after your workout. For every pound you’ve lost (the goal is not to!), drink 16 to 20 ounces of water.
As you age, your body’s ability to conserve water and its sensation for thirst decline. This means it’s easier to become dehydrated and more difficult to tell when your fluids are low. If you have trouble remembering to drink water throughout the day, try keeping a bottle of water near you at all times and, each day, keep a running total of how much you’ve consumed.
Even one or two alcoholic drinks will deplete your fluid levels. Alcohol inhibits an antidiuretic hormone that would normally send some of the fluid you’re consuming back into the body, and instead sends it to your bladder. Meanwhile, thanks to the diuretic effect of alcohol, your cells shrink, pushing more water out to your bladder. All this lowers your body’s hydration levels. What’s more, since alcohol impairs your ability to sense the early signs of dehydration—such as thirst and fatigue—it’s easy to drink well past your dehydration point.
Check your prescription’s list of side effects. Many medications act as diuretics increasing your urine output and your risk for dehydration. Blood pressure medications are a common example.
Eating too few fruits and vegetables
Eating fruit and vegetables at each meal can score you up to to two extra cups of water a day. It’s still important to drink plenty of water—especially in the summertime—but you can also quench your thirst with hydrating foods, such as cucumber, lettuce, celery, radishes, tomatoes, green peppers, cauliflowers, watermelon, spinach, strawberries, broccoli, and grapefruit, all of which are composed of 90-95% water.
Tea, coffee or just water?
References: health.com, chopra.com, huffingtonpost.com, funky.com