We all know we’re highly or lightly dehydrated at any given time, but it’s not something many people worry about. We drink plenty of fluids – even if they’re only coffee and cola – we feel fine, and we’re able to get all our responsibly taken care of. We can’t be that dehydrated, can we? And if we are, it isn’t making enough of an impact on our lives to haul a water bottle around with us all the time.
Or is it? You might be more dehydrated than you think, and you may be so dehydrated that you don’t even realize how much your life is being affected.
What are 5 symptoms of dehydration that you might be overlooking? And once you recognize them, how can you make drinking water more appealing?
Symptoms of Dehydration
Your brain is encased in a padded sack of fluid, which is designed to keep your mind safe from any jarring movements. When you’re hydrated and this sack is filled, then jarring movements have to be rather extreme to make a difference, such as with a concussion. However, if you leave your sack mostly empty, then even turning your head too fast could do it – causing headaches. Additionally, the more your organs have to work to compensate for a lack of lubricant, the more strain they’re experiencing. This strain results in inflammation, which you feel most immediately in the form of throbbing pain. If you feel a headache coming on, try drinking a glass or two of water. This could instantly cure it, or at least dull the effects as it comes on.
You can think of your skin much like a flower; if the plant isn’t receiving enough water, then the flower and its petals will begin to wilt or lose their soft texture. Your hydration levels directly affect your skin’s health, as your vital organs will be pulling water away from your skin to fuel the more important parts of your body. As a result, your skin will lose its natural glow, become flaky, and look dry. This will especially show in places where your skin is thinnest, such as on your face or hands. Not only is this unattractive, but it’s a warning sign that your organs are already putting down emergency measures to protect themselves; don’t let them be in danger as well.
Your filter organs such as your liver and kidneys require a great deal of water to operate on their own, but especially to flush out toxins and strain out the nutrients you need for a healthy existence. The less water they have, the more they fail in their directive and the more water they’ll conserve just to stay functioning. When your liver is unable to filter out the glycogens it needs for energy, it will ask for more, sparking up cravings you shouldn’t have because you’re technically full. This will leave you feeling hungry more often, setting you on the course for an unbalanced eating schedule, and make you too full to drink the water you actually need. If you find your cravings more frequent than normal, or you’re trying to lose weight, then instead ignore the craving. Get a glass of water and allow it to solve the root issue.
Most people imagine that body heat is unrelated to a glass of water, but the opposite is actually true. Your body’s circulation – and its ability to circulate well – determines how efficiently your blood is distributed throughout your body. As warm blooded creatures, if our veins aren’t carrying enough throughout our limbs, we’ll feel colder. Water is needed to create new blood and to strengthen our heart so it can properly pump it; if we’re dehydrated, then it’s operating at half strength. With that in mind, if our body is running on low when it comes to blood, this causes all the other components to struggle in their efforts to make up for the short-handedness. This causes inflammation in our joints, trauma to our organs, and headaches or migraines – all things that raise our temperature to a fever. If you find yourself exceptionally cold, then exercise will boost circulation, but more water also will. If you experience regular fevers, then it’s time to add more glasses of water to your day.
Leg cramps are caused by inflammation, and inflammation is often caused by simple dehydration. Your muscles are essentially the gears that keep your body working like a fine tuned machine. If they’re left in good temperatures, then everything progresses fine; however, if you super heat them, then they begin to strain under the pressure and become more sluggish. Eventually, the strain will be too much and they’ll seize up, causing the cramp. This is also the case with typical muscle spasms you may experience on your face or arms; the smaller muscles are being overworked, and drinking some water can give them the relief they need.
How to Make Staying Hydrated Easier
All that said, let’s face it. When it comes to staying hydrated, we often pick a soda or a cup of coffee over a glass of water. Who can blame us; water is boring and doesn’t give us the same energy boost. Or can it?
For a relaxing drink that boosts your water levels, go for unsweetened tea. Soda and coffee make you more dehydrated due to their high sugar levels which confuse your body. However, natural teas offer the nutrients you need for energy without the additives that block your water intake.
Chips and candy bars are nice and all, but they’re dry and often make us more thirsty – which is the point we turn to sodas. Instead, pick smoothies, yogurts, vegetables, and fruits to add to your daily diet. They have much higher water content and offer additional healthy benefits.
Water famously doesn’t have a taste – but we can all admit that cold water tastes better than warm water. Even more so, its icy temperature makes us more alert and gives a boost of “attention please” to your organs, allowing for better and faster digestion.
The most important part is drinking water – in the name of that crusade, you can cheat. Most flavored waters don’t offer many nutrients, but they are a way of encouraging you to drink water over cola or other high-caffeine drinks. An even better option is to add a touch of lemon juice to your drinking water, or a splash of ginger in your tea. Both of these work to detox your body of the harmful toxins you’ve packed on while dehydrated, and prevent headaches as you work back to a balanced body.
Getting hydrated again can boost your mood, improve your appearance, and most importantly, get you back up to a fighting strength you didn’t even know you had. Equipped with new techniques to make water appealing again, get a glass – your body’s begging for it.