Our bodies are made up of 75% water. A thirst signals a water loss of 1% of the body weight and light-headedness can indicate 2% water loss. When left untreated dehydration leads to severe complications like electrolyte abnormalities, kidney distress, heart disease, coma, and shock. Surprisingly, by the time you feel thirsty, your body has already started to dehydrate.
Dry mouth, cracked lips, infrequent urination, a dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion are some of the symptoms of dehydration. It could be caused due to various reasons like hot weather, diarrhea, excessive sweating, or an underlying health condition.
Below are some tips which help you avoid dehydration and keep further complications at bay.
Tips To Avoid Dehydration
1. Drink Water Constantly, Not Occasionally
It goes without saying that the best way to prevent dehydration is by drinking enough water. Depending on the gender and metabolism, a person needs to drink about 8–12 glasses of water every day. This equates to 1.8–3 liters of water.
Sipping on water at regular intervals of time throughout the day helps. However, gulping a large amount at once, to meet the goal of around 3 liters might not be equally beneficial. This also puts unnecessary pressure on your eliminatory system (renal system). Also, drinking water occasionally and insufficiently increases the level of sodium in your body impacting blood pressure.
2. Dress Up According To The Weather
Too cold or too hot temperatures affect the fluid levels in your body. In summers, the heat waves resulting in sweating are one of the common reasons why you feel thirsty often. Moisture loss due to dry air and frequent urination lead to dehydration during winters.
Choose your clothing to suit the weather. Summers ask for lighter colors which do not absorb radiation and a fabric such as cotton, that lets your skin breathe. Knitted and thickly woven cloths are the best bet during winters, to stay warm and avoid the ill-effects of cold weather take over you.
3. Avoid Diuretics
Alcohol and caffeine are the two common diuretics one is exposed to. They work by increasing the frequency of urination in the body leading to dehydration. For every cup of coffee you drink, you need to drink a cup and half of water to compensate for the diuretic effect.
While avoiding these completely promotes overall health benefits, limiting your consumption to minimal amounts is the next option. The safe limit for caffeine consumption per day is 2–3 cups and the same for alcohol is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Chocolates and black tea also contain caffeine in them, so, watch out your intake when you opt for them.
4. Prefer A Sports Drink During Rigorous Workouts
Before any workout, it is good to hydrate yourself well, in order to not feel tired very soon. Even during the activity, it is suggested that you consistently replenish the fluids. After the workout is, however, the crucial time when your body needs to stock up the lost water and electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Since water doesn’t fulfill the electrolytic demand, opting for a sports drink is a go-to option.
Fruit juices are also helpful, but since they contain sugars, the chances of gulping down unnecessary carbs increase. Yet, if you wish to go natural, consider diluting the fruit juice with 50% water to keep the electrolyte levels up and carb levels down.
5. Snack Right
Raw vegetables and fruits contain a high amount of water. Include them in your daily diet to increase your water intake along with the goodness of vitamins and minerals. Chia seeds, particularly, prevent dehydration as they have the capability to absorb water many times their weight and retain it within the body. Include these seeds as a part of your salad or add these to your cookies to make also them protein-rich.
If you are dehydrated due to an upset stomach or vomiting, sipping on water consistently helps. Do not stop your water intake even if you vomit consistently, as your gut tries to achieve normalcy every time you drink water. Consider having an ORS, as it compensates for the water as well as electrolyte content.