Just How Much Water Do You Really Need To Drink? More Than You Realize
It seems like a new fad diet emerges every day. Weight Watchers, South Beach, Keto, Carnivore, Mediterranean, Paleo, and the Raw Foods diet all claim the ability to deliver good health, weight loss, and that body you’ve always dreamed of.
Each diet promotes and vilifies different foods. “Eat this, but don’t touch these.” The vilified foods of one diet are the promoted foods of the other. With so many conflicting ideas out there it’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t.
But one thing that’s consistent across the board no matter what diet you’re looking into is the importance of water. The exact numbers aren’t always the same, but the idea that you should drink plenty of water every day is a universal idea.
Some diets say you need at least 64oz a day, some say you need to drink your body weight in ounces in water every day, others say you only need half of your body weight. You’ll also obviously need to drink more water if you’re physically active and sweat a lot throughout the day.
So what’s the reasoning behind this? Why is water an essential part of any diet?
The short answer is to avoid dehydration. But there’s more to it than that.
Let’s take a closer look at dehydration, why it should be avoided at all costs, and the role water plays in it.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration happens when your body doesn’t get all the water it needs. This occurs when your body loses more water than it takes in. If you aren’t replacing your lost fluids, you will become dehydrated.
When you’re deficient in water, you become dehydrated, and your body loses its ability to function correctly. Dehydration can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on how much fluid is missing from your body.
Anyone can become dehydrated, but young children and the elderly are at the greatest risk of dehydration, and it’s side effects.
So how do you know if you’re dehydrated? What are the symptoms? The symptoms vary based on the severity of the dehydration. And young children can have slightly different symptoms as well.
Mild or moderate dehydration symptoms:
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Infrequent urination
- Dark yellow urine
- Dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramps
Symptoms of severe dehydration:
- No urination
- Extremely dark yellow urine
- Extreme dry skin
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Sunken eyes
- Sleepiness, lack of energy, confusion or irritability
While all of those symptoms can be found in anyone suffering from dehydration, there are a few symptoms unique to young children. They are:
- Dry mouth and tongue
- No tears when crying
- Dry diapers for 3 or more hours
- Sunken eyes, cheeks, or a soft spot on the top of the skull
If you have any symptoms of severe dehydration listed above, you need to stop reading this and see a doctor. Severe dehydration is considered a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.
How dehydration alters mood
One of the most overlooked symptoms of dehydration is the impact it has on your mood. In a new study of 25 healthy women, along with increased fatigue, and headaches, mild dehydration dampened moods. The women weren’t athletes or couch potatoes, but somewhere in between.
The women were given tests measuring their concentration, memory, and mood when they were dehydrated and when they were not. Overall, women’s mental ability was not affected by mild dehydration, but they did have an increase in the perception of task difficulty and lower concentration.
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