Most Americans suffer from some degree of dehydration. Our bodies use a lot of water every day, and our kidneys receive and filter our entire blood supply 15 time each hour! If we get overheated, our 2 million sweat glands perspire to cool our skin and internal organs, using 99% water. We use a small amount of water during breathing, and our tear ducts lubricate our upper eyelids 25 times per minute. Crying and laughing release water from our eyes and nose. Even during the course of a normal day, doing just normal activity, requires 3 quarts of replacement water each day. Add to that any strenuous activity, a hot climate or a high salt diet, and this increases your water requirement.
So What Does Happen When You Don’t Get Enough Water? – A Chain Reaction Begins.
1. A water shortage message is sent from your brain.
2. Your kidneys conserve water, by urinating less. (constipation and bloating occur)
3. At 4% water depletion, muscle endurance diminishes and you start to get dizzy.
4. At 5% water depletion, headaches from mild to quite severe begin. You get drowsy, lose the ability to concentrate, and get unreasonably impatient.
5. At 6% water depletion, body temperature is impaired, and your heart begins to race.
6. At 7% body water depletion, there is a good possibility of collapse.
The Urine Check – Check you urine to tell if you’re drinking enough water. The color should be a pale straw, and you should urinate every few hours. If your urine is dark yellow….immediately start drinking more water!
Other Common Signs That You Might Be Dehydrated
* Unexplained headaches (mild to severe), usually with some dizziness and fatigue.
* Unexplained irritability, impatience, restlessness and difficulty sleeping.
* Unusually dry skin and loss of appetite, along with constipation.
* Dull back pain that is not relieved by rest.
* Unexplained weight gain and swollen hand and/or feet. (this is due to water retention)
* Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) can sometimes be linked to dehydration. (sufferers report reduced symptoms when they increase their water intake)
* Allergy and asthma reactions can be minimized by boosting water intake.
Loss Of Body Water Accelerates Aging
Water hydration at all levels, from body cleansing to skin beauty, is a protection against accelerated aging. It is a major complication when you’re sick. Dehydration is now one of the top 10 causes of hospital stays amongst the elderly, costing Medicare up to $450 million annually! Sadly, half of all dehydrated seniors who are admitted to the hospital, die within one year. Studies show many elderly people fear urinary incontinence, so they drink less fluid. Other research shows the sense of thirst is so impaired in some seniors, that they do not even seek water when they need it.
Thirst Is NOT A Reliable Sign That Your Body Needs Water
By the time you feel thirsty, you’re probably already suffering from some degree of dehydration. Thirst is an evolutionary development, controlled by a part of the forebrain called the hypothalamus (which also controls sleep, appetite, satiety and sexual response) designed to alert us to SEVERE dehydration. So you can easily lose a quart of water during activity before thirst is even recognized.
Where Does Your Body Get It’s Daily Replacement Water?
Plain cool, filtered water is the absolute best way to replace body fluids, but other healthy liquids besides water also count as replenishment. Unsweetened fruit juices diluted with water or seltzer, as well as vegetable juices should be considered. Foods provide up to 1-1/2 quarts. Fruits and vegetables are more than 90% water. (another reason to eat a diet high in fresh produce) And even dry foods like bread, are about 35% water.
Drinks That Don’t Count As Good Water Replenishment
* Alcohol and caffeinated drinks are counter-productive for water replacement, because they are diuretic.
* Drinks loaded with dissolved sugars as well as milk, actually increase your water needs instead of satisfying them.
Are you worried about retaining too much water, or getting water logged? Believe it or not, drinking more water is the best treatment against water retention. Here’s why – When you don’t get the water you need, your body holds onto the water it has. Diuretics are only a temporary solution, because you’ll end up ravenously thirsty as your body tries to replace the water that the diuretics flush out. To solve a water retention problem, all you need to do, is give your body exactly what it needs….plenty of water. When your body has the right amount, it will naturally release the excess.
A good rule-of-thumb on how much water each person needs individually, is to take your body weight in pounds and divide it in half. Take that figure, and that is the amount of water in ounces you should be drinking each day. For example: A 160 pound person would divided their weight in half, which is 80. That person should be drinking 80 ounces of fresh, filtered water daily. And again, if you live in a hot climate, or are engaging in strenuous physical activity, then you need to be drinking even more. An easy way to get your body’s proper daily water requirement, is to drink a full glass of water every hour. It’s easier to remember to hydrate this way, you can take a few minutes of pause from whatever you are doing, and of course you are working on getting your water requirement for the day.
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews