Tips to avoid dehydration this summer

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water-663100_640It is finally warming up for summer! Hurray! But as the temperature starts to rise we need to watch our fluid levels and make sure we are not getting dehydrated. This is especially true if you are going on holiday to a hot country as it takes time to acclimatise and dehydration can creep up on you! You become dehydrated when your body loses more water than you take in, which makes it harder for your body to do necessary essential functions. An average, "within proper weight" person should drink eight, 8 oz. glasses of water each and every day. Over-weight people need one additional glass for every 25 pounds of excess weight.

You only have to lose 1-2% of your body's water to cause dehydration and an average person loses about 90 ounces every day, more if you do exercise that makes you sweaty. You can't rely on your body to tell you when you might need to drink. If you start to feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Also as you get older, your sense of thirst actually weakens, which is why we have to remind old people to drink often.

Dehydration can have huge effects on your body. It can lead to you feeling thirsty, irritable, weak, and dizzy. You can have headaches and cramps and even nausea. But worse than that even a slight dehydration can produce a small but critical shrinkage of the brain, impairing neuromuscular coordination, concentration and thinking. It also reduces blood volume, creating thicker, more concentrated blood which stresses the heart.  This also decreases the ability to transport oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and other living cells.

Dehydration is also not great for your looks, leaving your skin looking dry and saggy and possibly even leading to hair loss.

If you suffer from water retention, don't assume you need to keep your fluid intake to a minimum. If you drink plenty of water  your body is more likely to release it's stored fluids, whereas if you limit your water drinking your body will react by keeping hold of the water it does have. This hampers the kidneys from doing their job of getting rid of waste.

Remembering to drink is great for those trying to lose weight. Firstly water suppresses the appetite and if you drink a large glass of water before you eat a meal it can help you not eat to access by making you feel fuller earlier. Also water helps the body metabolize stored fat - good if you are trying to lose inches. Did you know that drinking ice cold water actually makes you lose weight because your body has to use energy (and so calories) to warm the water up to body temperature.

Remember too that when you consume alcohol you become dehydrated and when on holiday it's easy to drink more than normal. When combined with the holiday heat, this can me a recipe for disaster! To reduce the risk of a hang over, aim to drink four times as much water as you have alcoholic drinks.

Tips to avoid dehydration this summer

  • Never set down an empty glass without refilling it with water.
  • Fill a large bottle of water in the morning and take it with you. You are more likely to drink if you have a bottle to hand
  • If you really find water boring, try adding some flavour to your glass - sliced lemon, mint leaves, strawberries or chunks of watermelon.
  • Keep an eye on the colour of your urine. It should be very light, almost colourless. If it is dark yellow, you are not drinking enough.
  • Every time you order a drink in a cafe, bar or restaurant, always ask for a glass of tap water and make sure you drink it.
  • Eat water-rich foods such as lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, low fat yoghurt, cucumber and melons.

 

 

Ask: Do you think you drink enough plain water?