The Health Consequences of Dehydration
Water is considered a panacea for sustaining life as well as promoting health. You should drink at least eight glasses each day to replenish your body’s reserves and to prevent dehydration. The health issues and complications from dehydration can make a person sick as toxins and pollutants collect in the body if they are not “flushed” out of the system.
Side Effects Associated With Mild to Moderate Dehydration
When water is not regularly consumed contaminants build up, which can cause illness or heath issues. People may complain of such maladies as fatigue, digestive disturbances and headaches as well as pimples, dry skin or dry hair. However, these sorts of side effects are light when compared to dehydration that is more pronounced.
Severe Side Effects
While thirst, tiredness, dry mouth, dry skin, constipation or lightheadedness may make up moderate symptoms, severe dehydration is noted by symptomatology that is marked by such responses as:
Shriveled inelastic skin
Dry mouth and mucous membranes
Low blood pressure
Little or no urination
Check the Color of Your Urine
Thirst is not an accurate or reliable gauge if the body needs water. You can tell if you require more water by observing your urine’s color. While light-colored or clear urine means you are taking in enough water, urine that is dark yellow is a signal that you are not consuming enough.
If you are suffering mild to moderate dehydration, increase your fluid intake by consuming fresh coconut water. If coconuts aren't available, you can make an electrolyte drink out of filtered or distilled water, sea salt, maple syrup or raw honey, and fresh juice.
Immediate medical care is advised if you are suffering extreme thirst or feel dizzy or confused. If an older adult or child cannot keep fluids down, is disoriented, or has diarrhea, fever or vomiting, either go the nearest emergency room or dial 911.
A “Nutrient” that Cannot Be Ignored
Both children and adults should drink plenty of water before and after exercise or electrolyte drinks. Water is a “nutrient” that cannot be ignored when it comes to good health. This is especially important when exercising because sweating removes water from our bodies and at this time, hydration is of utmost importance.
Make Sure You are Getting Enough Water
In order to ensure you are getting enough water, also make it a practice to consume foods such as citrus, watermelon, tomatoes and cantaloupe. Vegetables that also help in the hydration process include celery, greens, and lettuce.
Foods that Lead to Dehydration
While vomiting and diarrhea are the main causes of dehydration in people suffering from the flu or other illness, certain everyday foods can lead to dehydration too.
Therefore, if you are already mildly dehydrated avoid the following foods:
Coffee (a natural diuretic)
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 doctors recommend sports drinks for anyone who is suffering from dehydration and needs to consume more water. A healthier option is to drink coconut water or a homemade electrolyte drink.
Stay Adequately Hydrated Throughout the Day
So, if you want to stay healthy and hydrated, make it a point to get enough water each day. You can’t count that daily Starbucks in the mix nor can you include that sugary pop you got out of the vending machine. Water is still the best source for your hydration needs.
If you don’t’ want to consume plain water, choose fruit infused water instead. Vitamin water and various flavored water products have hit the market and are a good alternative for those who really cannot stand to drink plain water. However, keep in mind that some contain added sugar that no one needs, so check the labels.
Make sure you are obtaining all the water you need by keeping a container of water available at your side. Also, check the color of your urine to make sure you are rehydrating properly.