One of the blessings of living in Denver is delicious tap water. Even if you recently discovered you should be filtering your water, it is safe to drink. Dehydration may not feel like a life or death situation. But after oxygen, water is what our bodies need most. Even mild dehydration may cause disorientation and exhaustion. The longer you stay dehydrated, the worse the effects.
Most people can stay hydrated by simply drinking when they feel thirsty. Eight glasses a day? Depends on your lifestyle and environment. Eight may be too much or too little and will likely shift day to day. The best way to tell if you are getting enough water is to check the toilet. Hydration equals light yellow, almost clear urine. Dehydration may come with darker, more fragrant urine. Other signs of dehydration are:
- Bad breath
- Feeling cold
Luckily, there are easy ways to quench our body’s thirst.
1. Drink Water
Most dehydration can be cured by simply drinking more water. If you find yourself reaching for other liquids often or snacking more than you’d like, try a glass of water and see if that doesn’t satisfy those cravings. Maybe add a slice of lemon!
2. Drink Water First Thing
My favorite hydration hack is a glass by my bed. Downing it as my feet hit the floor each morning makes me more alert and has the added benefit of flushing out my digestive system.
3. Drink Water all Day
Humans have the best hydration reminder technology money can’t buy. Thirst. Unfortunately, we are also excellent ignorers. We need habits. Carry a water bottle, set reminders, get an app (I love Plant Nanny!). Try the drinking game Waiting = Water. Any time you have to wait — on hold, in traffic, in line — take a drink.
4. Eat Your Water
Berries, oranges, grapes, cucumber, greens and lots of other foods are very hydrating. Watermelon is 92% water and is full of vitamin C, vitamin A and magnesium. No wonder we feel so good on those summer days with a huge slice dripping down our chins.
5. Drink Other Liquids (in moderation!)
Water isn’t the only liquid that can amp our H2O intake. Tea and coffee in moderate amounts can actually be hydrating. After all, water is their main ingredient. And while you may want to argue the same thing about soda or alcohol, the excessive non-nutritive calories make water a better choice for most of us.
Severe dehydration can be life threatening. Even mild dehydration can significantly reduce the quality of your life. If you are constantly thirsty, are dizzy or lightheaded, pass very little urine — you need to talk to your doctor immediately. While these symptoms and the others we talked about earlier may be relieved by taking hydrating measures, they may also be indications of more serious conditions.
Remember, while the world is full of challenges, it is also full of ways we can arm ourselves to better meet those challenges and better enjoy all the delights that same world has to offer. So, grab your water bottle. “Cheers” to staying hydrated and staying well.