Don’t let dehydration sneak up on you

Most of us feel that we don’t need to worry about dehydration unless we’re outside on a hot, sunny day or exercising. And most of us are wrong.

Your body needs a constant supply of water to thrive, yet so many people unknowingly spend their days dehydrated. Even though you may not feel thirsty, a nagging headache, occasional constipation and darker urine are just a few of the common signs that you haven’t gotten enough H2O.

A new study published in the Journal of Physiology says that the human brain takes steps to protect itself from the effects of dehydration.

Dehydration reduces blood flow to the brain, but the study found that the brain compensates by increasing the amount of oxygen it takes from the blood.

“We can now see that blood flow to this vital organ is significantly affected by dehydration. But we can also see that this is when the brain kicks in, preserving its own oxygen consumption to ensure it sustains its function,” said Steven Trangmar, a researcher at Brunel University.

This study highlights the importance of proper hydration. Water makes up 60 percent of our bodies and is needed to control body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure.

It’s imperative to remember that thirst isn’t always a reliable gauge of the body’s need for water.  According to The Mayo Clinic, the best test is to check the color of your urine. Clear or light colored urine means you are well hydrated. Dark yellow or amber urine signifies dehydration.

The signs of dehydration are:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
  • Dry mouth
  • Little or no urination; darker than normal urination
  • Sunken eyes
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Fever

Drinking six to eight glasses of water per day is recommended for adults. Other good water sources include fruits, vegetables, milk, soup, juices without added sugar, or coffee.

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Cara McCarthy

By Cara McCarthy

Cara McCarthy has been working in the natural health industry since 2010. She studied Marketing Communications at the University of Mississippi. Her goal is to provide people with the information they need to live the healthiest, happiest lives possible.