There is more to being fit and healthy than eating the right food and exercising regularly. Of course, these are essential parts of your weight loss goals. However, consuming enough water and being aware of the signs that you are dehydrated is just as important.
In addition to signs, I’m going to tell you about the visible effects that dehydration has on your body.
Water is essential to every form of life, and yet it is often under-rated. That’s because, in a world full of smoothies, latte’s, oriental teas and a wide variety of other liquid refreshments, it’s easy to think you are drinking enough.
But are you?
Sings That You Are Dehydrated
You may be dehydrated even though you consume a large amount of liquid daily.
Let’s take a look at some of the common symptoms and signs of dehydration.
- Feeling thirsty – even if you’ve been drinking
- Tired much of the time
- Low output of urine and deep yellow in color
- Dry skin
You don’t need to have all of these symptoms to be dehydrated.
If you do think you are dehydrated or have been suffering from diarrhea for more than 24 hours, (which dehydrates you), you should consult your doctor.
The Effects of Dehydration n Your Body
Dehydration is a very serious matter. To understand the seriousness of dehydration it is important to learn what effects it has on your body.
The Purpose of Hydration
Your body is approximately 55% water. Much of this water is in your cells.
When they are fully hydrated, the cell wall is permeable. This allows nutrients to flow into the cells and waste products to leave them.
When you are dehydrated the cell walls become less permeable, meaning fewer nutrients are allowed in and the waste products are trapped.
In effect, toxins are allowed to build up inside your cells; this can lead to a variety of health issues.
When you are hydrated, your cells are working properly. This means that they can regulate your body temperature effectively. It also ensures that your brain can function properly; this leads to improved cognitive function and recall abilities.
Cells that are hydrated and work correctly will also facilitate the removal of waste from your body and keep your joints well lubricated.
In short, hydration is essential to keep your body working properly.
Effects of Dehydration
As well as understanding how important hydration is, it is also essential to discover the visible effects of dehydration. These are not the same as the symptoms.
As the water leaves your body, the first sign of dehydration will be gastrointestinal pain. Your intestines cannot function properly if they are not hydrated, as 98% of their lining is water. Without water, stomach acid can burn the insides of your intestine.
You may also start to experience joint pain, as there is not enough water in your body to lubricate your joints. Studies have shown that this can increase your chances of developing arthritis by as much as 60%.
Your kidneys are responsible for removing waste from your body. However, as already mentioned, dehydration causes toxins to build up in your cells.
When they are finally released this will create a surge of toxins that your kidneys cannot handle. The result is an increased likelihood of kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
Blood Circulation Problems
When you are dehydrated, the blood in your body will be pumped around at a slower rate than usual. This relates to the inability of the cells to work properly without water.
Slower blood flow increases the chances of clotting inside your blood vessels. The result of this can be a heart attack or stroke.
When your body craves water, you may actually feel hungry. When you eat, the moisture in your food will help give your body the water you need.
But your “hunger” could have been solved by drinking water rather than eating. If this happens often, it can lead to weight gain.
How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?
By now it should be obvious that drinking enough water can help you feel healthier, more energetic, slimmer and happier!
But how much water should you be consuming?
The general consensus in the scientific community is to aim for 8 glasses of water a day (8 fl. oz per glass). However, different people have different needs. It all depends on your body type and activity level.
In general, you should drink when you feel thirsty. A good indication that you are adequately hydrated is when your urine is either clear or pale yellow.
Water is not the only substance you can drink to stay hydrated. There is plenty of water in tea, coffee, juice, milk, and even food. However, hydrating via these sources may mean that you are adding extra calories to your diet.
To help you stay hydrated follow these tips:
- Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and sip from it regularly
- Add a slice of lemon or lime if you want to change the flavor
- Drink a glass of water when you feel hungry; this will tell you if you’re hungry or thirsty
- When out for the evening, alternate your alcohol with water; it will keep you hydrated and more alert
Hydration is important, start changing the way you drink today and you’ll soon feel the benefits!