8 Ways to Combat Dehydration
When planning your nutrition, the focus is often on making healthy food choices and fluid intake can be easily forgotten. With so many beverage options to choose from it can be easy to drink beverages that do not provide your body with adequate hydration. Or, it’s possible that you might forget to drink fluids altogether, because you’re just too busy.
How do you know if you’re adequately hydrated? The easiest way to check is to look at the color of your urine. Your color goal is a light yellow (think of a light lemonade color); this means you’re well hydrated. If your urine is dark or orange, then grab a glass a water and begin drinking immediately.
There are many benefits to staying adequately hydrated. They include:
- Enhanced anti-aging effects on skin
- Improved athletic performance
- Weight management
- Increased energy levels
- Improved digestion
- Improved elimination of toxins
Adequate hydration is required for many different processes in the body to function properly such as easily pumping blood and wound healing. There are several different ways that your body gets rid of fluids—primarily through sweat, but also through urine, breathing, and bowel movements.
Dehydration occurs when the body gets rid of more water and salts than it takes in. Some of the daily symptoms that one might experience from dehydration include headaches, dry skin, and dizziness.
Dehydration is easy to detect as it usually occurs after exercise, being in the sun for too long, or feeling parched after drinking alcohol. Yet the subtle symptoms from chronic dehydration (regularly not having enough fluids in your body) are a little more difficult to recognize—sleepiness, dry mouth, and less urine output. When left unnoticed, the more serious effects from chronic dehydration are unclear thinking, mood changes, constipation, and kidney stones.
The following eight tips will help you quench your thirst and ensure you don’t dehydrate.
1. Drink Filtered Water
The cleanest and easiest form of hydration is filtered water. Using a filtration system will help to get rid of unwanted chemicals and toxins such as fluoride and chlorine that are found in tap water and some bottled water. Reverse osmosis filtration and carbon block filters are two filtration system options for your house.
2. Drink Herbal Teas
If you are in the mood for something warm to drink, herbal teas are another great form of hydration. Herbal teas feature therapeutic benefits that may help with inflammation, stress, digestion, and headaches. Because herbal teas don’t have any caffeine they can be counted toward your daily water intake. Some examples of herbal teas are ginger, peppermint, and chamomile.
3. Add Electrolytes
Electrolytes help to bring water into the cells faster and more efficiently compared to drinking water by itself. It is especially great to add an electrolyte mix to your water when you have been exercising, after drinking alcohol, if you drink coffee on a daily basis, and if you have been in the sun. One electrolyte mix to consider is Liquid I.V., which delivers hydration into your bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water alone. If you notice you’re already dehydrated, Liquid I.V.’s Hydration Multiplier is your best bet.
4. Increase Vegetable Intake
Outside of drinking your fluids, you can increase your hydration by eating more vegetables. Vegetables (and fruits) are primarily made up of water. If you’re not a fan of drinking water, eating more vegetables is an excellent way to keep your hydration levels up. Cucumber and lettuce contain 96 percent water, while zucchini, radish, and celery are close behind at 95 percent water.
5. Drink Coconut Water
Coconut water is known as “nature’s sports drink.” A great time to reach for coconut water is after you have been sweating or at times when you feel dehydrated. Due to its higher natural sugar content, coconut water is not a direct replacement for filtered water. Make sure to look for real coconut water to get its full benefits, and stay away from flavored coconut waters as they often contain increased amounts of sugar.
6. Add Green Powder to Your Water
Adding a high-quality organic green powder supplement to water adds extra micro-nutrients to your diet while also adding hydration. Green powder supplements are made up of highly concentrated blends of many different types of green vegetables and sea algae that you wouldn’t be able to get by simply eating green vegetables. Drinking water with green powder in the afternoon when you are feeling tired is a great way to boost your energy.
7. Drink Infused Water
Since water doesn’t have much (if any) flavor, it can be nice to make an infused water mix to get natural flavor without any added sugar. Make a pitcher of water and add some lemon slices, cucumber, mint, or berries. Let it sit for at least five minutes—the longer you leave it in the water the more flavor you will get.
8. Reduce Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is a main contributor to dehydration. If you are drinking multiple units of alcohol on a daily basis it would be beneficial to reduce your intake. Otherwise you’ll always be playing catch up with your hydration and it will be difficult to prevent chronic dehydration. (Good news—coffee is not a contributor to dehydration.)
Many people make the mistake of increasing their fluid intake too quickly. Rather than doubling your current fluid intake, start by slowly increasing by 1 to 2 cups per day. This incremental increase will help your body to gradually get accustomed to the new water levels in your body. If you increase your fluid intake too fast, it will cause you to urinate more often which actually makes you get rid of the additional water and some electrolytes.
Reduce and Reuse
Another tip to help stay on top of your hydration is to get a reusable water bottle to carry with you everywhere you go. Stay away from plastic water bottles that are made with bisphenol-a (also known as BPA; a chemical that seeps into foods and drinks and may lead to negative health effects). Instead, use a glass or carry your own stainless steel water bottle. Bonus—you’ll be keeping plastic out of your recycling bin!
Now that you have eight new ways to combat dehydration, you can provide your body with the essential nutrients that it needs to function at peak performance.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center’s Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
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