Health Books | Warning: Are You Staying Hydrated?

Glass of Water
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Drinking Water: The Book

Did you know that dehydration is the most common cause of headaches? When you don’t drink enough water, your blood doesn’t have enough fluid to transport nutrients, and your cells cannot maintain your energy and activity.

You will also run low on electrolytes which provide communication channels between your nerves and muscles. A headache might be the first signal that something is wrong, but severe or long-term dehydration can be dangerous for your health.

Dehydration (hypohydration) is the excessive loss of body water

About Hydration

Learn How to Avoid Dehydration?

Ideally, water should make up between half and three-quarters of your body weight. When you are correctly hydrated, your body uses this water content to nourish your cells and to flush out excess toxins through sweat and urine. You must drink to re-hydrate regularly, so you can keep up the correct hydration level, especially if you have been sweating heavily due to strenuous exercise or hot weather.
Water splash
But when you flush out more water than you drink, your body becomes dehydrated. Your blood doesn’t have enough fluid to transport nutrients, and your cells cannot keep up your energy and activity. Severe and long-term dehydration will prevent your body from transporting nutrients around your body or supplying enough fluid to your organs.

The Benefits of Healthy Hydration

When your cells are well nourished, and your blood can efficiently transport energy and nutrients around your body, you will look and feel great! Not only will you be more alert and energetic, your digestive system will work better, your skin will be clearer, and you will have better co-ordination and faster reflexes. Your body will be more efficient at flushing out toxins, which has the carry-on effect of boosting your immunity. If you are planning to lose weight, try drinking a glass of water half-an-hour before meals. With your thirst satisfied, you will feel satisfied sooner.

All this from a few extra glasses of water throughout the day!

Do You Drink Enough

The Hydration Equation – Do You Drink Enough?

Everybody has different hydration levels, and your individual level will change according to circumstances. The best way to assess your hydration level is to assess how much you need to drink to produce clear urine at least every four hours. The European Food Safety Authority recommends that as a general rule, women should drink roughly 1.6 litres of fluid and men should drink about 2 litres of fluid per day. This equates to about eight 200ml glasses for a woman and 10 200ml glasses for a man.

Another formula can help you calculate your individual resting hydration rate according to your weight. Your resting rate refers to the least amount of fluid you need when your body is relaxed or at rest, simply doing the basic tasks of everyday life. According to this formula, you need to drink half an ounce of water for every pound of your body weight. So, if you weigh 200 pounds (90 kg), your resting hydration rate is 100 ounces (2.9 litres) of water per day. If your day includes strenuous activity, fighting an illness or coping with a heat wave, then you should increase your intake from this base figure.

Learn What to Look For

To avoid hydration one must learn how to stay properly hydrated to begin with, by the time the symptoms of dehydration become clear, it is already too late.

About Dehydration

Top Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration (hypohydration) is the excessive loss of body water
“Dehydration.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 21 Jan. 2014

You might think that feeling thirsty is the number one sign of dehydration. Actually by the time you feel a sense of thirst, your body is already dehydrated.
The top tell-tale sign of dehydration is the colour of your urine. When you drink enough water, your body has plenty of fluid to keep your cells and organs healthy, so it can use the extra supply to flush out toxins and excess minerals efficiently.

When you are low in electrolytes, your motor skills start to fail

When you are dehydrated, you urinate less often, and the urine will be dark. This shows that your body is struggling to maintain your cells and organs so it cannot spare the necessary fluid to flush out toxins. So check your urine every time you go to the toilet, and keep track of time to ensure you go at least every 4 hours.
Water and lemon in a  glass
If you are chronically dehydrated, you will suffer from constipation. With a well hydrated digestive system, your bowel movements will be soft and pass easily, but when you are dehydrated, your body cannot afford to flush out the bowels properly.

Sudden dehydration can trigger an electrolyte imbalance, and you may experience muscle cramps or feel clumsy and unco-ordinated. Electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium or magnesium are responsible for nerve and muscle function as they transmit communication signals throughout your body. When you are low in electrolytes, your motor skills start to fail. Extreme electrolyte loss can affect your heart function, so you need urgently replenish your electrolyte level with a mineral-rich drink, such as coconut water.

Other signs of dehydration include fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps, lack of concentration and lethargy. Unfortunately, these symptoms are all easy to overlook or blame on other factors – but when in doubt, drink a glass of water!

When Are You At Risk of Dehydration?

Elite athletes become dehydrated when they fail to replace the fluid and electrolytes that they lose in sweat. Always keep a drink bottle with you when exercising, so you can regularly replenish your fluids.

Illness is another high-risk time for dehydration. If you have a high temperature while your cells are busy working overtime fighting infection, your fluid levels can become extremely depleted quickly. If you are feeling too sick to drink, try sucking on an ice block or ice cubes.

You are also at risk of dehydration in extremely hot weather, especially if you fail to drink enough fluid. However, the most common form of dehydration is when you fail to drink regularly, or when you choose drinks like coffee that do not actually re-hydrate your cells.

Long Term Health Complications from Dehydration

When you consider that the water you drink is responsible for nourishing cells and cleansing organs, it’s not surprising that chronic dehydration can trigger or aggravate a range of health problems, including high blood pressure, urinary tract disorders, and rheumatism, constipation and stomach ulcers.

Best Practices to Avoid Dehydration

At least some of your daily fluid intake should come from water, but it is not necessary – or desirable – that you only drink water. Sometimes, if you have lost a great deal of electrolytes, replenishing with plain water will further dilute the remaining electrolytes in your system.

It is important that you incorporate some other drinks such as juice, cordial or milk. Tea and coffee also count, although a high caffeine intake can also disrupt your electrolyte level without replenishing the fluid level of cells.

If you are suffering symptoms of electrolyte imbalance, such as muscle cramps or diminished motor skills, try drinking a beverage high in electrolytes. Coconut water is an excellent natural option, as it is rich in potassium and magnesium, it absorbs quickly into your system, and it has no artificial sweeteners. Adding half a teaspoon of sea-salt to a glass of water will replenish your electrolytes, or you could have a sports drink, although these are high in sugars and artificial flavours and colours. Juice, cordial, tea and mineral water will all replenish your electrolytes and give you some enjoyable variety.

Conclusion

Summary

Looking at it another way, drinking a glass of water is a great preventative measure to boost your digestion, mobility, blood pressure and overall health. All those health benefits in a single glass of water! So next time you have a headache, drink a glass of water, and then another glass thirty minutes later. Your headache could be a signal from your cells that they are desperate for fluid replenishment.

Reference

“Dehydration.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.

Drinking Water: The Book

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