Water is a basic need of our survival, yet it is one of the most overlooked things in our daily life. In a google search it is believed that up to 75% of adults in America are dehydrated. We lose water through breathing, sweating and digestion. So, are you drinking enough water?
As we get older our body’s fluid reserves become smaller. Your ability to conserve water is reduced and your thirst sense becomes less acute. There are also other issues such as chronic illnesses like diabetes or medications that can compound the issue.
Your risk of dehydration or heat illnesses increase if you work outside or exercise especially in humid environments. When the air is humid, sweat can’t evaporate and cool you as quickly as normal. This can lead to an increased body temperature and you need to intake more fluids.
Thirst isn’t always an indicator that the body needs water. Things like medications, exercise, or exposure to extreme heat, being ill with diarrhea or vomiting and fevers can cause unrecognized dehydration. Also, if you are urinating more often it may be a sign of undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes.
Less frequent urination
Beyond avoiding some of the above symptoms ensuring proper hydration has many positive benefits for us. Our body is made of approximately 60% water, and it is the transport system that helps all our systems work.
Our digestion should be reason enough to consume enough water. Water ensures that the food you eat moves through your intestines. It keeps your intestines smooth and flexible. Our intestines absorb water and move fluid into the bloodstream. This fluid breaks down nutrients and helps to digest soluble fiber.
Having proper hydration also ensures that our body can effectively remove solid waste and toxins.
The plasma within our blood is made up of about 90% water. If we do not maintain proper hydration the blood can thicken and cause an imbalance of electrolytes. Electrolytes are necessary for proper muscle and heart function. When dehydration leads to low blood volume it can also cause low blood pressure which will cause you to feel light-headed upon standing.
Proper hydration helps the brain function optimally. The brain is made up of 75% water. Dehydration can be a reason for memory and attention problems and a reason that we have low energy. When electrolytes get low, we can experience muscle weakness, fatigue, and confusion.
Skin like all other cells is made up of water. Our water consumption will reach all other organs before it reaches the skin which is why it is important to ensure that you are consuming enough water.
Our skin shows lack of hydration by tightening, getting dry and flaking. When our skin is dry it is less resilient and is prone to wrinkling.
Water and Healthy Fluids
Drinking water and eating foods that contain high amounts of water will help you maintain proper hydration. Some foods that have good water content include:
If you are having problems with digestion or any symptoms that may be caused by dehydration avoid liquids that are diuretics. These include alcohol, caffeinated drinks like coffee, green or black tea and colas/sodas.
According to a study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics American adults that consumed 1% more water each day ate fewer calories, less saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and cholesterol.
Consuming water 30 minutes before eating will help you feel full and eat less when you do eat.
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