Saturday, November 18, 2017

Staying hydrated

woman drinking water in sunsetThe summer in the Caribbean tends to be hot and humid and this summer is no exception. Luckily the north coast of the Dominican Republic is blessed with wind, which makes life much better. So much so that some may even forget that they are losing copious amounts of liquid because of the heat every day, and are at risk of dehydration. Find out more about the risks of dehydration, how to spot it and what to do to stay hydrated.


 What is dehydration
The first symptoms of dehydration will be thirst and a dry mouth. If ignored other symptoms will arise like headache, tiredness, dizziness and even nausea. As your body gets more dehydrated your blood will get thicker, making it harder for the heart to do its job properly. People who are already at risk of having a heart attack are much more likely to have one in these circumstances. Chronic dehydration may even lead to a reduced blood supply and manifest in the brain as mental and emotional imbalances.

Many people are reported to be chronically dehydrated without even knowing it. As they have ignored their body's thirst signals for so long, they tend to confuse thirst for hunger. Constant snacking, and especially constant sugar cravings, can be one hidden sign of a dehydration imbalance.

Another sign is allergies. With dehydration, histamine levels can increase and the immune system can become imbalanced, creating the perfect storm for dust, pollen, mold, and animal allergies to manifest.  Also, digestive issues such as acid reflux and constipation, are signs of chronic dehydration. Staying properly hydrated is essential to keep all functions of the digestive tract running smoothly.

Water with fruits

Check if you’re properly hydrated
Monitor your hydration status by examining the color of your urine. If you're hydrated your urine should be of a pale yellow color and almost clear. If your urine is dark yellow or cloudy your body is dehydrated.

How to stay hydrated
The necessary amount of water intake differs for everyone as this depends on your age, weight, activity level, and environment, but the accepted minimum intake is set at eight glasses of water every day. These fluids can come from drinking liquids but also from eating fruits and other foodstuffs.

All liquids will hydrate your body at varying levels, except alcohol and coffee. Typical food items that are full of water and great to eat on a hot day include cucumber, watermelon, tomatoes, starfruit and strawberries.

The easiest way to stay hydrated is to drink water. In the Dominican Republic most bottled water is purified and therefore has no minerals in it. Although this water helps dilute the blood, it does not provide the body with the minerals it has lost through sweating. Isotonic sports drinks can help solve this issue but because they tend to be really high in sugar, many health practitioners discourage this use. Instead, reach for mineralized water or filtered tap water.
Luckily, as also food hydrates the body, certain food stuffs can provide those all-important minerals. Adding milk, eggs, nuts, cereals and green leafy vegetables to your diet will help you replenish your mineral stock.
fruits and vegetables water in a glass with lime

Other tips
To avoid dehydration or worse heat stroke, be sure to dress appropriately for the heat in lose fitting clothes and by staying out of the sun during peak hours.

Stay away from alcohol during the day, as this is extremely dehydrating.

An interesting tool to see how much you should drink during a sports activity is the Camelbak hydration calculator.

our body is 70% water









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