Water plays a very important role in the day to day functioning of the human body. The body, after all, is made up of 70% water and this percentage should be kept in balance at all times. The only way this can be done is by drinking fresh, clean healthy water, not soda coffee or other beverages. It is easier to reach for juice or make a fresh pot of tea than pour yourself a glass of water. Beverages like sodas and coffees are highly diuretic, leaving you more dehydrated than hydrated. That is why when you are really thirsty and drink juice, no matter how many glasses you take in, you still want water afterwards. I think the main problem is, most people do not even come close to realizing the danger they put themselves in when water is avoided or substituted with other beverages. Dehydration can be fatal if not handled well, especially for babies and small children.
Dehydration occurs when an excessive loss of water occurs, resulting in a disruption in metabolic processes. When this happens, the blood becomes thicker and the heart has difficulty pumping oxygen-rich blood into the brain and other vital organs of the body. The functioning of the kidneys are also affected, resulting in highly concentrated urine.
Dehydration is mainly caused by water being lost in the body and not being replaced. Water loss occurs through exercise, strenuous activity, drinking beverages rich in caffeine and drinking minimal amounts of fresh clean water. Vomiting and diarrhea are also two common causes of dehydration.
The body is designed in such an amazing way, when something is amiss warning bells go off. The problem is society has taught us to suppress these warning bells through the consumption of medication. The more medication you take the more damage you cause to your body as in the long run, you wont hear these warning bells anymore.
Symptoms of dehydration
Growing up, whenever I complained about a headache, the first thing my father would ask is “did you drink water today”? Many of us experience headaches, dizziness and muscle cramps. Before reaching for the medicine cabinet, try and drink a glass or two of water and see if your condition doesn’t improve. Medication does not address the real issue, instead it cuts off communication in the neurotransmitters. Even though it takes care of the pain temporarily, it prevents the body from knowing which areas are the most dehydrated. More than enough evidence proves that painkillers can be addictive and have serious side effects.
Dizziness and excess fatigue
Water moves from the cells into the blood to keep blood pressure constant and to ensure that water is supplied to all the vital areas of the body. When the body is not well hydrated, there is not enough water in the cells to move to the blood, and the blood becomes thick with poor oxygen content. This blood is carried to the brain. Without oxygen-rich blood, the brain cannot communicate well with different parts of the body, resulting in the “tired” feeling and dizziness.
Dry Sticky mouth
When you are dehydrated, your mouth feels like it has been stuffed with cotton and tastes like cardboard. This is a major signs of thirst, although at this point every cell in your body is crying for some water. Ignoring this symptom could be fatal.
The colour of your urine says a lot about how healthy your water levels are. A well-hydrated body has clear to slightly yellow urine that is odourless. When you are dehydrated, your urine is a dark yellow with a slight odour. This is caused by toxins not being flushed out of your body properly. Remember that what you eat also affects the colour of your urine, so in some cases you might not be dehydrated, just eating very colourful food.
When low water quantities are available in the body, the body goes into self-defense mode and uses this water for the vital organs, meaning it will go to the blood where it is needed the most. The body will get water from any source possible, resulting in the colon drawing water out of food, which causes constipation.
A quick way to spot if you are dehydrated is conducting a skin elasticity test also known as the “pinch test”. Simply pinch your skin and pull it upwards, if it falls back into place quickly your hydration levels are normal. If it falls back into place slowly, take this as a warning sign of dehydration.
Solutions to dehydration
Water Water Water
This is the best option as it is precisely what the body needs, be careful not to overdo it though as this is dangerous in itself. In everything, moderation is key, too much of a good thing is not always good. Thirst levels vary from person to person but 6-8 glasses of water daily should keep your hydration levels normal. A quick way to avoid dehydration is to carry water with you in a refillable container. Make sure that you are drinking clean, filtered water. Tap water has a lot of chemicals that cause more harm than good to the body. It is probably wise to invest in a water filter.
Eat your fluids
There are so many fruits and vegetables with high water content like cucumbers, tomatoes, oranges and watermelons. These should NOT be substituted for water. However, since they have natural sugars and no additives, they will keep your energy up throughout the day.
Carry a water bottle
It is easier to remember to drink water if you have a bottle with you. Moving away from your computer for one glass of water is much harder than reaching across your desk for a bottle of water. Choosing the right bottle is also very important. Most water bottles available on the market are made from plastic, which has BPA or Bisphenol A, a chemical used to harden plastics. When you put water in the container this chemical is released into the water, which you then drink. BPA has been linked to hormonal disruptions, cancer, brain and behaviour problems and heart conditions. Make sure that your bottle is BPA free. Healthmakers offers a wide range of BPA free water bottles .
Water is a resource that is currently available everywhere. Drinking water helps you with so many issues that could result in hospitalisation if not well handled at home. Don’t wait until you condition is beyond repair – start now, pour yourself a glass of water and toast to good health.