We all know the discomfort of thirst. Even when not extreme enough to the point of dehydration, getting hold of a drink when you feel this way can make it feel like the best thing you’ve ever tasted. Relieving the discomfort of thirst is one huge benefit to staying properly hydrated, but the effects of dehydration are much more far reaching than simply discomfort.
There is a certain level of water that is required as an absolute necessity to sustain your body every day, however this level can differ depending on your circumstances and your body type. The rule of thumb used to be 8 glasses (around 250ml each) of water per day, however recommendations now say to allow around half an ounce to an ounce of water per each pound of your body weight. For a person who weighs 150lbs, this would equate to around 2250ml to 4500ml per day.
This, of course, differs depending on your particular situation. Those living in a hot climate will need to up their levels of water intake, as will those who exercise regularly or to a high intensity, as your body will lose more water through sweat.
What are the effects of dehydration?
The average human body is made up of up to 60% water
Everybody requires good levels of water to function properly.Not only does water help to maintain an even body temperature, it also ensures that every cell making up the tissues and organs in your body is functioning correctly. Good hydration means your joints are properly lubricated, helps to eliminate waste toxins and transports oxygen and other nutrients around the body. You’ll even find cognitive function, memory and attention spans are better when you’re well hydrated. Research has shown that even losing as little as 1% of your body weight in fluid can affect your mental performance.
Here are some tips on avoiding dehydration and staying hydrated for anyone, but particularly those who are especially active:
Understand the warning signs
Thirst is the first sign of dehydration.
The old wives’ tale says that thirst is the first sign of dehydration. While thirst is, of course, the first warning sign your body gives to save you from further effects of dehydration, it’s not quite so dramatic as that. Before you start feeling the full effects of dehydration, watch out for other signs that it might be imminent and try to avoid reaching this stage.These can include:
- Dry mouth and chapped lips
- Feeling tired
- Dark-coloured and/or strong-smelling urine
- Not passing urine as frequently as usual
- Feeling lightheaded
The most obvious way to stay hydrated is to drink plenty of water. Other liquids such as fruit juices, fizzy drinks and tea will also help to keep your water levels up, but water is always the best and healthiest option. In addition to this, many foods have a huge level of water content which can help towards keeping properly hydrated. These include, among many others:
Importantly, these foods also contain a high level of vitamins and minerals which, as we know, are essential to your diet, as well higher levels of electrolytes.
Grab hydration boosting nutrients
Electrolytes and sugars are also key to keeping your hydration levels up. While these can be found in the foods mentioned above, alongside many other healthy fruits and vegetables, you can also acquire these from sports drinks. This is especially important for those who exercise a lot as sweating causes us to lose important electrolytes from our body. In addition to this, milk has also been shown to have properties that make it helpful in rehydrating athletes after heavy workouts, so this is another good option.
It’s of utmost importance to keep on top of your hydration levels to keep your body functioning at its optimum, so following these few tips will ensure that you’re feeling the full benefits of your body by allowing it to use nutrients in the best way for you.
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