7 warning signs you might be dehydrated

Nutrition Digestion

This blog discusses 7 warning signs of dehydration and 3 benefits of drinking water. Click below to read more.

You're trapped in the desert, it's 40 degrees and the sun is beaming down on you. You're dripping with sweat, your mouth is dry and you're dreaming of a nice cold glass of refreshing water. This is the usual image people conjure up when thinking about dehydration. 

Dehydration can occur in hot or cold weather, when you play an intense game of sport and even on days where you do very little. Every day your body loses water through urine and sweat but many people are losing more water than they are drinking.

Logically, when you think about the fact that you probably spent around 8 hours asleep under warm blankets without a drink of water, it’s probably a good idea to start your day with a glass of water. And yet, it’s something very few people do. 

But I drink!  

It's true, people do love to drink! However, the question isn't whether you drink but WHAT you drink. You see, not all drinks are made equally.

Caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and energy drinks are diuretics which means they actually make you MORE dehydrated instead of helping to rehydrate you. In the same way, have you ever noticed how sugary sodas, fruit juices and other sweetened drinks leave you still feeling thirsty?

So how do I tell if I might be dehydrated?

Below is a list of seven of the most common symptoms that can suggest your body is dehydrated:

1. Constantly feeling thirsty

2. Dry, cracked or dull skin

3. Dark coloured urine

4. Fatigue and/or mood swings

5. Digestive disturbances such as heartburn and constipation

6. Confusion or anxiety

7. Back or joint aches

Not sure if the symptoms are related to dehydration?

One thing that I noticed is that if you never find yourself feeling thirsty, your body is likely chronically dehydrated. If this is the case you may want to seriously consider sitting a bottle of water at your desk and sipping 1-2 litres over the day. Gradually you should start to hydrate your body and thirst will return while symptoms like those listed above will disappear.

Another way to work out just how badly dehydrated you are is to take note of how many times you go to the bathroom and the colour of your urine. Frequent bathroom breaks and pale urine are usually good signs that your body is well hydrated!

3 great reasons to start your day with a glass of water

1) Detoxification

Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to help your body to eliminate toxins. Whilst you sleep, your body is actually busy repairing and preparing for the next day. This means that in this time, lots of toxins are dragged out of cells, bad and old cells are killed and broken down and other waste materials are being temporarily stored until they can be eliminated.

Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning helps your body to eliminate these toxins in a number of ways. The main way this is achieved is because it helps to clean out the colon which has the added benefit of making it easier for you to absorb vitamins and minerals from your breakfast. Another advantage is that it revs up the lymphatic system which is responsible for maintaining good immune function.

2) Improved digestion & weight loss

By starting the day with a glass of water, you gently wake up your digestive system before actually putting food in your stomach. This means that by the time you do sit down to breakfast your digestive system has already woken up so that it is better able to break down food and absorb nutrients.

When it comes to weight loss, a glass of water helps in two ways. Firstly, by drinking water, the water takes up space in your stomach meaning that you will feel fuller faster and physically won’t be able to fit as much food as you may otherwise have eaten. Secondly, in revving up your digestive system, it helps you to burn more energy more quickly. In fact, drinking just one glass of water first thing in the morning has been shown to fire up your metabolism by 24% for 90 minutes and to then continue to increase your calorie burning potential throughout the day.

3) Improved brain function

Since 75% of the brain is made up of water, dehydration means that you are more likely to feel flat and foggy. It’s one of the reasons why so many people feel like zombies for a good hour after waking and why many rely desperately on caffeine to give them a jump start. However, something as simple as a glass of water is the perfect way to wake your brain. Think of it kind of like a cold shower (but much more pleasant!). By boosting your water intake, you’ll feel more alert and focused, making it easier to think and jump straight into the day ahead.

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