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Did you drink enough water today? If I assume no, I know the odds are in my favor.
That’s because many of us suffer from chronic dehydration, especially during the summer months.
But what’s really surprising is that most people may not even know they’re very dehydrated…
Your body is designed to adjust to numerous environmental conditions and lack of water is a good example. Over time, the normal signals that tell you to drink water become less sensitive. You simply won’t feel as thirsty as you should. Instead, your body begins to signal you in different ways, like these:
- Constant snacking – you know, those persistent sugar cravings – are a surprising sign of a dehydration We often think we’re hungry when we’re thirsty. That’s why many people grab a sugary snack when their body is crying out for hydrating fluids.
- Allergies – most people don’t make the connection between allergies and dehydration but lack of fluids causes histamine levels to spike and subsequently, your immune system can become imbalanced.
- Digestive problems – particularly constipation but also acid reflux – are another sign of chronic dehydration. Optimal hydration is necessary to keep all functions of the digestive tract running smoothly.
- Depression, irritability or mental fog – the brain relies on a large percentage of blood supply. With dehydration, this critical supply is reduced, resulting in mental and emotional imbalances and in extreme cases, temporary mental impairment.
Don’t let your engine burn out
What are the consequences of chronic dehydration? You may feel dizzy and fatigued, suffer from headaches or experience any of the related issues above. It’s the long-term consequences that are most concerning however.
Ideally, water makes up more than half your body mass, so to say it’s important for good health would be an understatement — it’s critical. Think of blood, your most important bodily fluid. It carries oxygen throughout your body, removes carbon dioxide, transports nutrients, immune cells and antibodies. More than 83 percent of your blood volume is water, so when you’re chronically dehydrated, you simply don’t have enough blood flowing through your body.
Water is also a key driver of the body’s signaling mechanisms. Cells are constantly talking to each other: sharing information; maintaining their locations; even determining if a neighboring cell is malfunctioning. Water forms a large part of the highway by which signaling molecules travel. As a result, dehydration can have a negative effect on functions right down to the cellular level. Over time this can result in chronic inflammation and numerous degenerative diseases.
To put it simply, dehydration impacts your daily life. You feel sluggish and tired. Athletic activities become more difficult. Your mental and physical performance is significantly reduced. Your emotions can become unbalanced; you are not yourself when dehydrated.
How much should you drink? Eight cups daily is a good marker, but that’s only a starting point. As always, other factors must be taken into account, such as age, activity, body weight and environment. Keep a glass of fresh water near you while you work, and don’t let your busy schedule get in the way of good hydration. Drinking plenty of water is a very simple way to maintain long term health. It also offers rapid, noticeable results in terms of increased energy and vitality.
For more comprehensive health and wellness information, visit www.dreliaz.org.