On days when it’s too damn hot to function, your body is liable to get dehydrated much faster than normal. But it’s not just a simple case of “oh well, I haven’t had enough water”; running low on H2O can lead to headaches, breakouts, breathing issues and even blood clots, seizures and other fatal complications. When combined with heat stroke and heat exhaustion, it’s truly serious stuff.
We need water to thrive and stay alive so why aren’t we drinking enough of it? The truth is most women don’t even realise when they’re dehydrated and keep going on their merry way, attributing the symptoms to something else.
So how can you fix it? Drink more water, obviously. But if you’re a little forgetful/lazy/apathetic about the whole “eight glasses a day” thing, here are the early ways you can tell if you’re lacking in aqua:
1. You have a headache
Your body is constantly losing fluid. All the time. 24/7. So unless you’re skolling back the clear stuff every second of the day (which is pretty boring and also totally impossible), you’re losing fluid. You’re ALSO losing a good amount of sodium and potassium, which – get this – actually changes your brain’s chemical makeup. So your brain chucks a giant tantrum known as a headache. The pain will increase depending on how much water you’re losing. More water loss = less oxygen to your noggin = blood vessels dilating = headache getting worse. So DRINK UP, people!
2. You have bad breath
Gross, right? But bad breath is a great indicator for dehydration. When you’re not drinking enough, your body doesn’t produce enough saliva. And since saliva has anti-bacterial properties it means things in your mouth could be stinkier than usual.
3. Your pee is super yellow
We KNOW this one is yuck too, but it’s super important. The extra yellow is because your urine has more waste in it than usual; it’s less diluted. When you’re properly hydrated, the waste gets filtered out earlier in the process, but when that process breaks down, the waste stays there.
4. You have dry skin
You might think that sweaty skin would be a sign of not ingesting enough water but that’s not always true. There are many stages of dehydration and when you’re truly lacking in water you might get dizzy because there’s not enough blood pumping through your system. As a result, your skin dries up. And because of this, your skin isn’t evaporating as it should so you can also suffer from skin flushes.
5. Food cravings, especially for sugary treats
When you haven’t had enough water, it gets hard for organs, which need water, to release glycogens and energy stores. So you start majorly jonesing for food. Some people may crave salty sensations but since your body is having issue with glycogen production it’s more common to crave sugary stuff. Feeling the need? Grab a treat that has a high water content such as fruit or veggies. Cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, celery, cucumber and tomatoes are all excellent.
SO HOW DO YOU STAY HYDRATED?
- Keep a bottle nearby. Having a reminder of a bottle right next to you is a good visual cue to drink up. Make it a challenge to refill a few times a day!
- Give your snacks an overhaul. Change out nibbles with a low water content such as biscuits, popcorn, pretzels or chips for some munchies with more moisture. Reach for fruit, natural yoghurts, healthy smoothies, and celery or carrot with hummus.
- Opt for room-temperature or cooler water. We all know iced water helps you burn (slightly) more calories but you’re better off avoiding fluids that are extreme temperatures. Iced water will chill out in your tum, not being absorbed, until it warms up. Moreover, super chilly water makes the arteries surrounding the stomach will constrict, putting a roadblock in front of water absorption. If you ever hear water sloshing around in your belly it means it’s not being absorbed quick enough. Liquids that are cooler or room temperature are much better options if you need to up your water intake, stat.
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