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Everyone knows the importance of drinking enough water. And yet, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. By definition, dehydration occurs when more fluids are leaving the body, through sweating, breathing, urinating, defecating and crying, than coming in.
It seems simple enough to prevent dehydration. Just drink enough water. However, for many people, the thought of chugging glass after glass of water throughout the day is daunting. In addition, other drinks that we might reach for instead of water fail to satisfy thirst. And they actually contribute to ongoing dehydration.
There are signs of dehydration, that indicate the body isn’t getting enough water. And fortunately, there are many ways to increase water intake, including consuming foods that hydrate.
Signs of Dehydration
The following signs of dehydration are symptoms that indicate the body is not receiving enough water and/or is already chronically dehydrated:
- dark urine
- lightheadedness and dizziness
- dry mouth
- muscle cramps
- rapid heartbeat
- extreme thirst
- less frequent urination
- no tears
- unsatisfied hunger
- low blood pressure
- skin disorders
- brain fog
- kidney stones
These common symptoms are frequently attributed to other causes. We learn to shrug and put up with these signs of dehydration, missing what the body is trying to communicate. Severe dehydration can result in serious health issues, including organ failure.
Thankfully, rehydrating and staying that way is possible. The process takes consistency and awareness.
Tips to Hydrate
There is varying information about how much water we need. However, a good guide is 72 ounces for adult women and 104 ounces for adult men. This is a general guideline. Exercising, working outdoors or warm temperatures may up the requirement for liquids.
The body responds quickly to consistent hydration with a lessening of symptoms.
To ensure adequate hydration, employ the following tips:
- carry water at all times, in a metal or glass container, and refill throughout the day
- drink at least one glass of water with every meal
- increase water amount when exercising or outdoors in hot weather
- juice fruits and veggies
- start the day with a lemon or lime water, followed by a glass of freshly prepared celery juice for amazing health benefits (Want to know even more about this miraculous drink? Visit www.celeryjuice.com and pick up Anthony’s new book about celery juice HERE.)
- include two or more cups of herbal teas during the day
- keep a pitcher of infused water in the fridge, adding herbs, veggies or fruit for flavor
- eat your water, with high water content foods
Juices are a great way to increase water consumption IF you make them at home or buy drinks that are organic and without added sugar. If warm weather discourages hot herbal teas, brew tea as usual and then chill or serve over ice.One of my favorite summer time drinks is Hibiscus Lemonade.
Have fun with infused waters. Add any combination of herbs, fruits and veggies. Try mint leaves with lime juice or sliced cucumbers and strawberries. You are more likely to drink infused water if it’s prepared and chilling in the fridge.
When dehydrated, avoid alcohol, black tea, soda, coffee and other caffeinated drinks. They don’t quench thirst. They actually rid the body of water, furthering dehydration.
Foods that Hydrate
If the thought of drinking lots of water makes you feel bleh, add foods throughout the day that contribute to water intake. These foods not only restore balance to the body, they prevent future dehydration.
- strawberries – 92% water
- watermelon – 92% water
- pineapple – 87% water
- tomatoes – 94% water
- radishes – 95% water
- carrots – 90% water
- zucchini – 95% water
- cucumbers – 90% water
- cantaloupe – 90% water
- grapefruit – 88% water
- kiwi – 85% water
- peaches – 89% water
- oranges – 88% water
- lettuce – 96% water
- celery – 95% water
- bell peppers – 92% water
- cauliflower and broccoli – 92% water
- cabbage – 92% water
- eggplant – 89% water
I’m not suggesting that drinking water be replaced with eating liquids! However, to give the body the crucial water that it requires, adding foods from this list helps to ease dehydration and keep the body adequately hydrated.
Challenge yourself, to see how many of the tips for hydrating you can work into a day. Create meals and snacks around the high water content foods. Although hydration is a serious matter, make a game of getting enough water throughout the day. Keep a water intake chart. Download an app. Involve the kids, who are just as chronically dehydrated as adults. Have family contests. Reward yourselves with fun mason jar glasses or colorful water bottles.
The Difference Hydration Makes
Chronic dehydration was my reality, for most of my life. I didn’t drink enough water. Instead, I sipped on diet sodas or iced teas. My body warned me, with symptoms such as dry mouth, headaches, muscle cramps, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness and no tears.
I felt thirsty most of the time, which is a classic symptom of dehydration. As the saying goes, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. And yet I hated to drink very much water. Why? Because I didn’t want to be trotting off to the bathroom frequently. I actually hear this reason for avoiding water often. And I get it. However, it is the way the body is meant to work. Drink enough water and the body flushes toxins and fats, organs stay healthy and the digestive system works smoothly and efficiently.
One of the sweet surprises, after switching to a plant based diet, was realizing I no longer felt thirsty all the time. For the first time in my life, I felt hydrated. My symptoms went away.
What a difference enough water makes. My body thanks me for my diligence with improved health and wellbeing. Your body will thank you too.
Feeling thirsty, after reading this post? Good! Go get a glass of life giving water.
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