The human body is made up of mostly water. In fact, it is 90% water, and 70- 75% of your body weight is made up of water! Water is your body’s most important nutrient, because it is involved in every bodily function. Water helps maintain body temperature, metabolize body fat, aids in digestion, transports nutrients, and lubricates your organs. Water not only keeps you hydrated, but it assists the liver in filtering toxins from the body.
Everyone should drink at least 64 ounces of water per day, and if you exercise, are overweight, or take a lot of medication you need to consume more. On hot days, you need to stay hydrated by drinking in excess of 64 ounces of water per day otherwise the body will dehydrate.
If you are going to the beach don’t think because you will be swimming in the ocean that you are safe from getting dehydrated! People can become dehydrated in the ocean, lakes, or pools if the water and environmental temperatures are warm enough!
Those who need to be extra vigilant about staying hydrated.
- Young children
- Overweight people
- The elderly
- Those exercising in the heat
- Pregnant women
- People with health issues
- Anyone taking medication
Dehydration often sneaks up on you simply because most people don’t drink enough water. In fact, by the time you ‘feel thirsty’ you are already getting dehydrated. You need to drink regularly and not wait for ‘thirst’ to come. Often, thirst is misinterpreted for hunger and you may be eating when your body really just needs water.
If you are not getting enough water, your body will react by pulling it from other places. Serious complications can result from dehydration.
Dehydration is a serious problem that is easily avoided.
Signs of dehydration and other related heat problems such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke are:are:
- Dry mouth and lips
- Eyes stop making tears
- You may stop sweating
- Muscle Cramps
- Chills, nausea and vomiting
- Heart palpitations
- Dizziness, weakness, lightheaded when standing
- You stop urinating or the color of your urine is more yellow
As the body’s level of water loss increases, the body starts to shut down further and can cause coma, organ failure and even death.
There are easy ways to stay hydrated. They are:
- Drink regularly. Count the amount of glasses if need be or schedule your drinks in a way that become habit.
- Drink a glass of water before you eat. That will insure your water intake while reducing your food cravings.
- Put a slice of lemon, orange or lime or cucumber in your water if that seems more appealing.
- If you drink soda or sports drinks, try substituting or diluting them with water.
- Carry a bottle of water with you. When it is easily accessible, we will drink more often.