AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Most of us appreciate a “dry” sense of humor. Dry toast is healthier than its buttery cousin. And nothing beats a dry set of clothes after being caught in the rain. Sometimes dry is a good thing. When it comes to the inner workings of your body, however, dry or “dehydrated” isn’t good at all. In fact, it can prove quite dangerous.

hydrated Stay Hydrated Stay Healthy

You can last roughly 8 to 10 weeks without food, but only 100 hours without water.

It is important, particularly in the warm summer months, to pay close attention to your fluid intake and ensure that you keep yourself properly hydrated.

Why do I need to stay hydrated?

As Nutritional Consultant, Elizabeth M. Ward, reminds us in her article Drink Up! Why Hydration Matters, that “the body cannot make water, so it must come from beverages and food.” And since water plays a key role in your body’s internal workings–the very workings that sustain your life–it is important to ensure that you get enough.

    • Cardiac Health. Water is necessary to keep your blood from thickening up and becoming difficult to pump through your arteries–putting a strain on your heart. This thickening can also contribute to the buildup of plaque–a major contributing factor in heart attacks.


    • Maintaining Bodily Fluids. Your bodily fluids consist of water. Dehydration destroys the balance of your internal fluids–fluids that keep your body temperature at a steady 98.6 degrees, enable you to digest the food you eat, dispose of waste, lubricate your joints, and insulate your vital organs.


    • Protect your Kidneys. Adequate hydration has been linked to a decreased incidence of kidney disease.


    • Appetite Control. Drinking water before meals can aid in weight loss, making you feel fuller longer.

How do I recognize the signs of dehydration?

Once you “feel” the symptoms of dehydration, it is important to act right away. A dry mouth or throat, thirst, dark and/or strong smelling urine, and a headache are all early warning signs. If you begin to experience little to no urination, fatigue, dizziness, light-headedness, or an increased heart rate, you are likely quite dehydrated.

How can I remain hydrated?

1. Choose the right beverages.

2. Choose the right foods.

Some water-laden foods are also great hydrators. The cucumber holds the title as the “solid food with the highest amount of water,” coming in at a whopping 96.7 percent H2O. Watermelon likely earned its name due to the fact that it is 91.5 percent water. And, while dieticians tell us to eschew Iceberg lettuce in favor of more nutrient-rich greens, this lowly lettuce on the nutritional totem pole reigns supreme when it comes to water content, weighing in at 95.6 percent. Oranges, grapefruits, pomelo, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, tomatoes, and celery are also filled with hydrating juices.

3. Avoid dehydrating culprits.

  • Booze. The throbbing headache, bed spins, and overall horrible symptoms that we call a “hangover” can be largely attributed to dehydration. Yes, nothing sucks water out of your body quite as much as alcohol. When you feel the need to imbibe, try to have one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume.
  • Caffeine. Yes, coffee, tea, and cola are wet. And, yes, they do provide a certain amount of hydration. But, it is important to remember that caffeine also has diuretic qualities, which means that it flushes water from your system–hence, the frequent urination. Try to limit your caffeine intake to 2 or 3 cups per day.
  • Water. Nothing beats water when it comes to keeping your body hydrated. Keeping a bottle of water to sip on throughout the day is a great idea. Be sure to hydrate before and after a workout. Have a glass of water when you wake up and right before you go to bed. And if the thought of “boring old water” doesn’t suit your palate, try adding a wedge of lemon or lime, a sprig of mint, or some cool cucumber for flavor.The amount of water required varies between individuals, but if you are exercising or you are in a warm climate, you will need to up your fluids intake. A good way to make sure you’re always hydrated is to invest in some personalized water bottles so you can carry water on you at all times. Another rule of thumb is called “70/70”–if the temperature climbs to above 70 degrees and the humidity exceeds 70 percent, you will need to drink more, particularly during exercise.
  • Other Beverages. Fruit and/or vegetable juices, low fat milks such as skim, 1%, and 2%, and soups–particularly those with low quantities of sodium–are also great options to incorporate into your water intake regime. Herbal teas are great for hydrating too. While sports drinks can be high in sugar, their ability to replace your electrolytes is beneficial if you have been engaging in high impact sports or if you suffer from diarrhea.

Are you feeling thirsty?

What are your waiting for? Go grab yourself a cool glass of water. It’ll do your body good.

What is your favorite thirst-quencher?


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