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Article: Already drunk today? - Effects of lack of fluids

Heute schon getrunken? – Auswirkungen von Flüssigkeitsmangel | paigh | Fair & gemütlich
Ernährung

Already drunk today? - Effects of lack of fluids

This second part of my “Why Drinking Is So Important” series looks at the consequences of dehydration. We'll also discuss how you can manage to drink enough - after all, that's not easy for all of us...

Here By the way, you get to the first part of the mini-series, which is about why our body needs water at all.

How do I recognize dehydration?

If our body is dehydrated, it is less productive both physically and mentally. Symptoms such as tiredness or poor concentration are quickly attributed to other circumstances by people who do not know their bodies well or are not consciously concerned with their drinking behavior. This means that many people are often not even aware that they are not consuming enough water.

Signs of dehydration can include:

  • severe thirst or dry, “sticky” mouth
  • dry eyes or blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Signs of tiredness, confusion or anger
  • Mood swings
  • Body aches
  • Muscle cramps
  • bad breath
  • dark urine
  • Fever
  • wrinkled or dry skin
  • lack of sweat production

By the way, a feeling of hunger can actually be thirst. For example, if you feel hungry again shortly after eating, it could be that your body is actually just craving water. In such situations, it is advisable to first drink a glass of water.

I don't drink enough - now what?

If you drink too little, your body will lack the fluid it needs. Depending on the extent of the deficiency, it can range from mild mental health problems to serious health problems. I listed signs of incipient dehydration in the last section. Headaches, thirst and lack of concentration are the most “prominent” symptoms.
In the long term, dehydration leads to dehydration, also known as desiccosis. It can lead to kidney disease, persistent constipation, or even life-threatening volume depletion shock. The amount of blood circulating in the vessels decreases - the circulation collapses. Fortunately, this happens very rarely, so don't panic!

Unfortunately, what many people don't know is that if you're dehydrated, it's not enough to just drink a big sip of water. The body may take several hours or even up to a day to rehydrate. Therefore, you should also make sure to drink a lot for the rest of the day (or in general).

Woman drinks water for dehydration
Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

What does adequate fluid intake benefit me beyond maintaining my body functions?

If at this point you're still not convinced that adequate hydration is important, then perhaps this section will inspire you. If we drink enough, our body is not only satisfied, but actually really happy.

Here are a few more reasons that show the benefits of drinking water:

  • Nutrients, including oxygen, vitamins and hormones, are transported to the cells
  • digestion is supported
  • Toxins are flushed out
  • our organs can work properly
  • radiant, healthy skin
  • more energy
  • better ability to concentrate
  • we feel more balanced and awake
  • Temperature and metabolism regulation
  • reduces inflammation
  • slows down aging processes

By the way, the argument that you constantly have to run to the toilet if you drink a lot is not a real excuse. After all, we are not camels...
No, joking aside. If you don't drink much and try to drink more, this is of course a really annoying side effect. But the bladder and body adapt pretty quickly. If drinking a lot becomes a habit, your body notices it and after about seven to ten days you no longer have to go to the toilet as often.

How do I manage to drink more?

For some of us, drinking water is as easy as breathing, blinking, or chewing gum. The others (including me for a long time) simply can't manage it and have to establish drinking just like any other habit. Then one day you make a special resolution to drink at least 1.5 liters from now on, and the next day you forget the whole thing again.
Here are a few tips that helped me learn to love drinking a lot:

Develop a routine

The body loses up to two liters of water overnight! You can prevent this by drinking another large glass of water before going to bed. If you drink a good amount of water immediately after waking up, your body will be happy and you will immediately feel more energized and awake.
Drinking in the morning and evening is a great way to get fluids if you find it difficult to get to a certain amount during the day.

It can also help enormously to refill the glass/bottle immediately after you have finished drinking. If you always have a glass of water in front of you on your desk, you are more likely to drink than if there is none in sight.

It's the container that does it

The glass or bottle you drink from can make SUCH a difference! I tried out countless different containers until I found the one that was perfect for me. Factors you can vary and consider include: capacity, material, size, weight and drinking opening. That might sound nitpicky and exaggerated. But tastes really differ here. Some people fill up a huge 2 liter bottle once a day and drink from it throughout the day - and some like 0.2 liter glasses. Some people prefer the opening of a bottle to be as large as possible – and others prefer to drink through a straw.
For example, I discovered that I prefer to drink from a 0.5 liter Mason jar with a (metal) straw. I can't say exactly why; but I love it!
Find what's good for you.

Eat your water

We also consume water through food. Fruits and vegetables in particular often have a very high water content. Therefore, it is worth including extra fruit and vegetables in your diet, not only because of their many good nutritional values.

Prime examples are cucumber, celery, lettuce, rhubarb, melon, strawberries, tomatoes, grapefruit and pineapple.

Water tastes boring?

Not everyone is a fan of the pure taste of water. For some people, it may be much easier to drink more if you drink flavored water (e.g. with lemon or orange slices, mint, cucumber or berries). Coffee or tea can also be good alternatives to drinking water. However, especially with coffee, care should be taken not to drink too much of it.

Take water with you

If you're on the move or distracted all day, it's often difficult to get enough water. You don't want to buy a new plastic bottle or even think about drinking something. I've gotten into the habit of always having a bottle of water with me. I can then refill these as needed. This is also a habit that needs to be built. But at some point, packing the bottle becomes as natural as taking your keys or wallet with you. And let’s be honest – we usually have a bag with us anyway. Not wanting to carry the weight around for long is just another reason to drink the water - because then the bag will be lighter too  .

Get help

Do you have a hard time even reminding yourself to drink? Then apps like “Drink Water” or “Plant Nanny” can help you. These remind you to drink and you can track your progress (in a fun way). Of course, you can also add reminders to your calendar yourself.
Of course, you first have to be consistent with this. But once the habit has become established, you no longer need the reminders.

As you can see, all of these dehydration tips are aimed at doing YOUR THING. Try to find out what works best for you and don't be afraid to try different methods. Approach the matter in a playful way and don't be too hard on yourself. Then it will definitely work! 

If you would like to find out more about the topics of healthy eating, mindfulness or sustainability, take a look here over.

Water glass with mint and lime
Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

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