It is the time of season where we start to venture outside more as we are getting our gardens ready, working on fences, sheds or just enjoying the outdoors, hiking, walking, jogging, cycling…. It is also time to be aware and be prepared for the suns heat. Making sure we are using sunscreen, wearing light breathable clothing and making sure we stay hydrated. All these things can come upon us quickly. Here are some signs of dehydration.
Signs of dehydration:
- dark yellow and thick urine
- dry mouth
- dry skin
- thirst, or thirst not being quenched.
- Sweet food cravings – the reason for this is that when the body is dehydrated it cannot absorb nutrients properly. The liver needs water to release energy, so the body responds by looking for a quick energy source – glucose (sugar), hence = the sweet cravings.
Here are a few standard rules you can adhere to, that will help keep you hydrated throughout the day:
- 8oz of water x 8 times spread out throughout the day
- Do not exceed in excess of 1 liter of water in 1 hour, as that is as fast and much the kidneys can excrete in that time. This is referred to as overhydrations and has similar or same signs as dehydration.
When exercising strenuously or if you find yourself sweating a lot, add 8oz of water every 15 minutes as sweating will draw water out of the body.
If you find that your thirst is just not being quenched then your electrolytes may be unbalanced and adding in some electrolytes through supplementation like a sports drink, making your own electrolyte drink or eating certain foods can help. 20% of our water comes from food we eat and the other 80% is from a combination of what we drink.
Electrolyte balance is key to keeping you hydrated. The 3 main electrolytes are sodium, chloride (often always found together as table salt) and potassium. These are the main ones you will find in supplementation or sports drinks. The added salt and sugar in these drinks are because sodium requires glucose to be absorbed, which takes place in the colon, resulting in water re-absorption. Re-absorption is important otherwise mass amounts of water would be lost in the feces causing dangerous dehydration and diarrhea. Potassium on the other hand, does the opposite, by letting water go, keeping this important balance.
Use these simple methods to try balance your electrolytes:
- Eat high water content foods as, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes and or strawberries, as they are 90% water and will have some electrolytes too.
- Drink 2 cups water with, juice from half a lemon, 2 tsp honey and 1/8 tsp salt
- Blend watermelon chunks (1 cup), 1 cup water, 2 tsp maple syrup and 1/8 tsp salt.
- Drink coconut water, this will have all you need
- Mix 2 cups water with a ¼ cup of a sports drink should give you enough electrolytes you need, as these drinks are very high in all ingredients especially sugar.
NOTE: If you have more severe signs (vomiting, diarrhea, fever, confusion, seizures, severe headache…) SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION.
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