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Are you dehydrated?

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

Dehydration is due to a lack of proper hydration in or heightened fluid loss out. When we think about hydration most of us think- am I drinking enough water? But, there are a variety of factors that come into play when talking hydration- such as, the level of exercise we do, the kind of environment we spend our time in, the foods and liquids we are eating and drinking, and of course our mineral status!



It's important to be able to identify if you are dehydrated. A quick test you can do at home is checking your urine. Hydrated urine is light yellow to clear. A deep dark yellow apple juice looking urine…. It’s time to drink up!


Symptoms of Dehydration:

Headaches/migraines

Decreased energy

Dry lips and skin

Dry and brittle hair and nails

Muscle weakness and cramping

Poor circulation

Lack of sweat when hot or exercising

Irritable/agitated mood

Lack of focus

Constipation


More serious and chronic cases can include increased risk of heat stroke, urinary track infections, kidney stones, gallstones, seizures, increased blood pressure, hypertension, and so on.


Our environment and lifestyle plays a role


The first thing that probably comes to mind are those hot summer months when we seem to be sweating all the time. With all that heat and sweat we must be losing fluids and minerals right?… of course! But what about the winter months?

During the winter, you are likely losing more fluids than you think. Many people drink less water, let’s face it- it’s not as appealing to grab a nice cold glass of water when it’s snowing. Not only does the thirst response decrease during the winter months, but you probably aren’t sweating as much either. As a result, you don’t feel like you need to hydrate as much. What about when we do sweat? Can you see your breath during that crisp morning run… that’s water you are losing! Sweat evaporates faster in cold air- although you might not feel as sweaty- you are certainly losing fluid.

If you are an endurance athlete or workout daily you also want to be mindful of your hydration status. With consistent sweat sessions it is important we replenish our body both with fluids and electrolytes (we will discuss electrolytes in a minute).

Now outside of exercise and sweating, that heater you have pumping to heat your home or office is warming you up but distributing very dry air (very different than the heat that leaves the skin dewy in the summer. The summer is hot but there’s also more humidity). A big reason why you might need a humidifier in your room and your skin is probably screaming for a thicker moisturizing cream during those colder months.

Do you fly on planes a lot? If you travel often or are back and forth on work trips, hydrate up! There are a few reasons why flying leaves you so dehydrated, but the most prominent is how the airplanes filter the air. These filtration systems cause a huge drop in humidity- when humidity is low water leaves the body more quickly and before you know it you’re reaching for a bottle of water.


Electrolytes and Diet


Just because you are drinking water doesn’t mean you are hydrated. Electrolytes are electronically charged minerals- sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate, that help the body send signals or in other words, communicate. More specifically, our body relies on electrolytes, to regulate fluid balance, maintain hormonal balance, produce energy, help muscles contract and relax, maintain healthy bones, and aid in nutrient absorption and utilization. If we don’t have enough electrolytes, things can get wacky.

Now, if you are eating the standard American diet filled with packaged/processed foods and sugary beverages you are likely getting enough sodium but missing out on getting all your other minerals. Not only that, but you are also being exposed to the other problematic ingredients that negatively impact your health- like additives, preservatives, artificial colors, empty (nutrient-less) calories, and high levels of processed/artificial sugars. These foods can trigger increased gut inflammation, reek havoc on our endocrine system, and spike our glucose levels.


It’s best to eat whole foods! Not only do these foods provide an abundance of vitamins and fiber for you gut, but they contain electrolytes naturally!

Eat to hydrate


There are lots of whole foods that are naturally so hydrating. These foods contain vitamins and minerals that help our cells absorb and use all that water we are drinking!

Fruits high in fluids: melons (all kinds- watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew), strawberries, peaches, citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges), grapefruit.

Vegetables high in fluids: cucumbers, zucchini, leafy greens-iceberg lettuce, kale, spinach, and swiss chard, broccoli, celery, jicama, tomato, bell peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, squashes, beets.

For those of you who are athletes, eating a low carb diet, practicing intermittent fasting, fly on airplanes often, drink alcohol frequently, or are typically loaded up on coffee, you might be more dehydrated than you think. Diet alone may not be enough to ensure adequate electrolyte status. You may need to add an electrolyte supplement to your daily routine.

Additional how to hydrate: tips and tricks to up your intake

Elevating your water:

In order to absorb the water we drink our body needs an adequate level of minerals. If you feel like you have been upping your water game for quite some time, but still seem to be peeing it all out after consumption… you may need a mineral boost!

These are my favorite ways to up your water and give it a boost while also making water more appealing to drink:

-Lemon and/or cucumber Infused water: Both anti-inflammatory with naturally occurring electrolytes and rich in vitamin C

-Other whole food add ins to consider: oranges, watermelon, cantaloup, honey dew, parsley, lime, cranberry.

-You can add a dash of natural sweetener to taste such as blackstrap molasses (iron and mineral rich), honey (anti-microbial properties), or maple syrup (mineral rich, zinc and riboflavin)!

-Add some coconut water (NO SUGAR ADDED): contains wonderfully nourishing natural sugars and lots of minerals.

-Add a dash of Celtic sea salt to your water in the morning

-Flavor your ice: Puree your favorite fruits in a blender. Pour 1/2 puree and 1/2 water into ice cube tray and freeze! Use the cubes to spice up your water or add it to smoothies.

-Make popsicles: fill popsicle mold half way with water, add some fruit puree or chopped fruit and freeze for a nourishing treat.

-Electrolyte Supplements: Elemental labs, Goodonya Hydration, Concentrate minerals


Additional tips to up fluids

-Make it a habit to drink an 8oz glass of water as soon as you get up.

-Carry a water bottle! If you have water around you are more likely to sip throughout the day

-Add a straw! This makes sipping on your water even easier. It seems silly but not having to open and close a cap makes drinking water even easier.


Hope this Helps!






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