by Grace T. Kim
When preparing for hot climate, most people only think of protecting themselves from the UV rays of the sun. What many forget is the importance of increasing their fluid intake to ensure avoiding dehydration. Here are some overlooked signs that will tell you if you are not drinking enough water.
- Bad breath: Apart from the usual suspects like pungent food and detoxification programs, an overlooked cause of bad breath is dehydration. When you drink insufficient amounts of water your body produces less saliva, which aids in the cleansing of the mouth. As soon as you have a dry mouth, the bacteria inside multiplies and causes the bad odor. This is why we get morning breath, because saliva production stops during our sleep.
- Irritability: Ever wonder why people who visit hot climates seem irritable? Apart from the unaccustomed heat, irritability is actually a neurological response to dehydration. A study was conducted on two groups of women where one group drank water and the other took diuretics with their water. After both groups had a workout, the women who were just one percent under normal hydration levels reported to have headaches, irritability, and loss of focus. So if you want to have a pleasant day outside, make sure everyone is hydrated.
- Dark urine: Hardly anyone pays attention to their urine, but if you’re in a hot climate like in Thailand, it’s best to monitor it. The normal color of urine is hay or lemonade yellow. If you don’t drink enough water, the waste that comes from your kidneys becomes concentrated, which creates the dark yellow or orange tinge.
- Muscle cramps: There are other factors for muscle cramps – like overuse of a muscle and side effects from medications – but, when you’re sweating outside, chances are you could simply be lacking water and electrolytes (mineral ions). The best liquid to drink for this is coconut water due to its naturally existing electrolytes. Just make sure that you get coconut water without added sugar.
- Cravings: Did you know that feelings of hunger and thirst both activate hypothalamus of the brain? As we get older, the brain is less able to differentiate hunger signals from thirst signals. So if you start getting cravings for a snack, chances are that you really need a glass of water. Try hydrating ten minutes before having a snack or a second helping. If the hunger pains go away, then you’ll know that it was a matter of dehydration.
Although it’s common sense to drink plenty of water everyday, seldom do people actually practice it. Perhaps we’re too busy to be mindful of our bodies and more focused on work or taking care of others. But without proper hydration your skin will get dry, your mind will get foggy, and your body won’t flush out its toxins. So here are a few tips to ensure that you stay hydrated throughout the day:
- Drink a tall glass of water first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This will allow your body to purify itself from a whole night of cleansing and healing.
- Carry a 500 ml thermos or tumbler filled with water wherever you go. This will reduce plastic waste, and carrying it around will be a constant reminder to hydrate.
- If you sweat a lot, drink pure coconut water at least once a day to ensure that you replenish essential electrolytes that are released during perspiration. Drinking too much plain water can also deplete your electrolytes, so sip water in moderation.
- Find an app on your phone to schedule water breaks. This might sound ridiculous, but you’ll be surprised that a simple reminder can make a difference in your wellbeing.
If you’re still not sure about how much water you need to drink in a day, 3.7 lts of water for men and 2.7 lts for women will do the trick – that’s about 10 to 13 glasses of water everyday.