Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink? Well, better find some fast, because hydration is no joke. We all need water to survive, but there are some things you may not know about the process. Check out a few interesting facts and tips to make sure you keep your body healthy and hydrated. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about hydration.
Sources: HuffingtonPost.com, AskMen.com
Being thirsty is obviously uncomfortable, and usually a sign you should get something to drink, but it’s more than washing out the cotton mouth you woke up with. Water is necessary so every cell in the body can function properly, as well as to regulate body temperature, aid digestion, and cushion and protect our joints and organs.
Next time your eyes refuse to tear up at the end of “Titanic,” (and let’s face it, who can get through that without a bit of misty eyes?), try drinking a quick glass of water. If you feel like you’re crying, but no tears are coming out, it’s usually a sign of dehydration – tears are used to clean and lubricate the eyes, but can’t do that if your body is lacking enough water.
Yes, it’s true that caffeine is dehydrating, and a massive caffeine intake will eventually lead to detrimental effects, but a single cup of java (or two) isn’t such a bad idea. The water content in coffee more-than makes up for the effects of the caffeine, and you’re still receiving a net gain of hydration.
We don’t necessarily need to worry about that eight cups a day thing, given that so much of our water intake comes from other sources. Foods that have high water content, such as watermelon, cucumber and celery, are especially useful for staying hydrated if you left your water bottle at home.
Though there’s no need to force fluid consumption if you’re not thirsty, here’s a rough guide to what scientists estimate people need each day: men need about three liters a day; women need about 2.2 liters. Also note the key word — “fluid.” While water is best for you, as it doesn’t contain any extra sugars or chemicals, all drinks provide hydrating effects, and even a glass of high-fructose corn syrup-filled juice is better than nothing.
Urine color is actually an indicator of the hydration level of your body, so it’s not a bad idea to look in the bowl to see how you’re doing. A pale yellow color is ideal, while darker yellows indicate dehydration. Keep in mind, however, that some medicines or foods can change the color of your pee, so if it’s bright pink, just remember that you maybe had beets for dinner last night.
Unless you’re an endurance athlete who has been burning electrolytes for hours, water will rehydrate you just fine. And you should skip the artificial additives, sugars, chemicals, and sodium – most of us already eat a diet high in carbs and sodium, so you’ll just end up excreting what your body can’t absorb.
If you’re dangerously dehydrated, it can be difficult to keep fluids down, and you may not even crave them anymore. Vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms of severe dehydration, and you should seek medical help immediately.
When your body’s sodium levels become too diluted from over-hydration (known as hyponatremia), the cells begin to swell and can burst. Fatalities are extremely rare but they do happen, mostly among marathon runners and endurance athletes. The potentially fatal disturbance of brain functions results when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is pushed outside safe limits by over-hydration. So take care not too drink too much at once after you finish your next Iron Man competition.
Among all the dos and don’ts of hydration, it can get a bit overwhelming. But really, it’s not complicated. Your body will tell you when it wants water, so just try to oblige it in a timely fashion and you’ll be alright.