You see them everywhere. Handed out during outdoor events and games. Lugged around by office workers and stay-at-home parents alike. For sale at restaurants, stores, and parks.
We’re talking water bottles. Society has heard the message that staying hydrated is important, and most of us are never far from a quick sip.
Despite this, water is an often overlooked part of a well-balanced diet. Many adults don’t get the recommended 64 oz. each day, even if they do have the latest water bottle on the market. With water being a basic human need, you would think we’d be better at staying hydrated, but it’s still something that’s commonly overlooked.
What hydration does for the body
Water does more than quench thirst. Here are just a few of its many roles:
Regulates body temperature
Carries nutrients to all cells in the body
Keeps organs functioning as they should
Keeps our senses working properly
Supports memory, mood, and focus
In short, water is the jack of all trades. It’s there to support every system of the body. So when you start to run low, you could feel the effect in a variety of ways.
5 signs of dehydration to watch out for
It’s not always obvious right away that you’re dehydrated, and it’s easy to blame symptoms on something else. If you experience any of the below symptoms, use it as a reminder to drink some extra water.
1. You’re hungry. Sometimes that hunger you feel is actually thirst. Before opening the snack drawer, drink a glass of water and see if your hunger subsides.
2. You have a headache. Headaches can happen for all sorts of reasons, one of them being lack of fluids. Even being mildly dehydrated can cause headaches in some people, so make sure you’re drinking throughout the day.
3. You can’t focus. Ever have one of those afternoons where you had trouble concentrating on the task at hand? Drinking some extra water can help. Water is one of the things that helps keep each system in the body working as it should, and nowhere is that more important than in the brain.
4. You’re low on energy. Dehydration can slow down circulation, which affects the flow of oxygen to the brain. Your heart may have to work harder to pump blood throughout the body, leaving you tired and irritable. A glass of water or two may be all you need to get that pep back in your step.
5. You’re having digestive troubles. Water helps your body break down food and keep things moving in the right direction. If you’re experiencing irregular bowel movements or other unpleasant symptoms, drinking more water is always a good idea.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to ensure your body is getting the fluids you need, beyond just a general recommendation to drink more water.
8 ways to stay hydrated
1. Wake up to a glass of water. Keep a glass of water on your nightstand so it’ll be ready for you when you get up. A glass of water first thing in the morning helps get your digestive system moving and rehydrates you after a night of sleep.
2. Drink water with every meal. This can be alongside the usual beverage you like to drink with your meals. The important thing is to make sure you have something to drink during meal times. Not only is this a convenient time to stop and rehydrate, drinking during meals also helps the body break down food so it can absorb the nutrients better.
3. Drink before you’re thirsty. Thirst is a sign that you’re already dehydrated. Drink smaller amounts throughout the day to keep your hydration levels consistent. (This is where always having that water bottle nearby really comes in handy.)
4. Add fruit or flavoring. Drinking nothing but water day in and day out can get boring after a while. To mix things up, add a slice of lemon or orange to your water to give it a refreshing, citrusy flavor. Sugar-free powders can provide some flavor variety as well, and they can be a good way to get other nutrients you’re low on too. Unicity’s Super Green + is a good option because it delivers on all counts with a subtle flavor alongside antioxidant and immune support benefits.
5. Drink something besides water. Milk, 100% fruit juice, and some sports drinks can help you stay hydrated when you need a break from water, and they also help replenish nutrients you need, like calcium, vitamin C, and electrolytes. However, steer clear of drinks that are high in sugar—this includes lemonade, hot cocoa, energy drinks, and even smoothies. The added sugars will end up doing you more harm than good. Limit caffeine and alcohol too, as they actually have a dehydrating effect on the body.
6. Eat more fruits and vegetables. That’s right, you’re not limited to liquids when it comes to staying hydrated. Most fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water. Tomatoes, celery, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, peaches—you’ve got a lot of options. Get in the habit of adding fruits and veggies to all of your snacks and meals.
7. Sip soup. A broth-based soup gives you something warm to sip and more of those vegetables to eat!
8. Rehydrate after exercising or sweating. Be mindful of when you’re losing fluids too. You’ll need extra water after exercising or sweating to replace the fluids you’ve lost.
Staying hydrated is important because it affects how our body functions, and therefore how we feel, in so many ways. “Rehydrate” is a good first line of defense for any issues that may come up.