We’ve talked about the importance of drinking plenty of water to promote health and prevent dehydration before, but drinking the eight glasses of water many nutritionists recommend can be a challenge. There are other ways to help your body stay hydrated and what you eat (or avoid eating) can also play a part.
Side Effects Associated With Dehydration
Adequate hydration helps the body process and eliminate contaminants that can build up in the body, causing illness or heath issues.
Mild dehydration can result in fatigue, digestive disturbances, constipation and headaches as well as acne and other skin problems.
More severe symptoms may include
- Rapid heartbeat
- Extreme irritability
- Low blood pressure
- Little or no urination
Watch Your Urine
Everyone’s need for water is not the same, and thirst is not always an accurate or reliable gauge of whether the body needs water. You can tell if you require more water by observing your urine’s color. While light-colored urine means you are taking in enough water, urine that is dark yellow is a sign that you may be dehydrated.
Eating and drinking for adequate hydration
Obviously, drinking plenty of water, balanced with small amounts of other healthy drinks such as natural juices and smoothies, is the best way to protect against dehydration. But food matters too. Make it a practice to consume water rich foods such as citrus fruits, watermelon, tomatoes and cantaloupe. Vegetables that also help in the hydration process include celery, greens, and lettuce.
Foods That Lead To Dehydration
Some everyday foods (and even drinks, ironically) can lead to dehydration too.
Therefore, be on the alert if you are already mildly dehydrated for the following foods:
- French fries
- Cured meats
- Coffee (a natural diuretic)
- Soy Sauce
Any sugary drink can lead to dehydration too. So, even if you think you are replenishing your system with that sugary cola, you are probably doing more harm than good.
Balancing Out Your Electrolytes
While consuming a small amount of soy sauce will not cause you undue problems, consuming an excess quantity can result in an electrolyte imbalance known as hypernatremia.
In fact, replacing one’s electrolytes can improve any health problems that stem from dehydration. That’s why coconut water is such a great drink for hot days, as it contains those beneficial electrolytes.
Vitamin water and various flavored water products can also be a healthy alternative for those who really cannot stand to drink plain water. However, keep in mind that some contain added sugar, so check labels carefully. Vitamin Water Zero is a good option, as it contains all the healthy stuff without added sugars.
Many simple health issues from regular headaches to mild constipation can be eliminated with adequate hydration. Take a look at what you eat AND drink to see if you can improve yours.