Memorial day is not only the milestone of summer - when beaches and pools open up there doors, but this year's long weekend also brought some seriously humid weather (at least for us New Yorkers!). Regardless of where you live, the climbing summer temperatures highlights the importance for proper hydration.
Our bodies are mostly water - in fact a whopping 70 percent!! Even more interesting, the brain is 85 percent water so hydration plays a much bigger role in our health than we may think. The body's basic processes from digestion to creating cellular energy requires water. Scan your body for signs and symptoms of dehydration:
Generalized Pain and arthritis – Pain that is not linked to injury or infection may be caused by chronic dehydration. Under normal conditions, water helps to wash away acid that is normally produced from cellular metabolism. However, when you are chronically dehydrated the acid remains and can irritate neurons, which can lead to increased perception of pain.
Poor memory and Confusion – Prolonged dehydration can change the way brain cells, or neurons, communicate. When deprived of water neurons cannot deliver neurotransmitters to nerve endings, which impair memory functions.
Constipation – the colon secretes water to improve digestive regularity. When dehydrated, cells receive preferential treatment, which reduces water availability to the colon. This results in constipation and pain in the lower left abdomen. If you suffer from constipation, you may need to increase your water or fiber intake from fruits and vegetables.
Constant Hunger, Overeating and Difficulty Losing Weight – the body cannot discriminate between signs of thirst and hunger. Many times we recognize thirst signals as hunger signals and eat when the body should be receiving water. This can lead to overeating and a frustrating weight loss journey
Migraines – can actually be caused by the shrinking of brain cells because of inadequate amounts of water. If increasing water intake does not help, ask your functional medicine doctor about magnesium supplementation and food sensitivity testing.
If any of these signs and symptoms speak to you, the solution doesn't include guzzling a few glasses of water and calling it a day :) ... rather rehydrate slowly.
Avoid drinks like coffee, caffeinated tea, sodas, diet sodas, fruit juices and alcohol, as they are dehydrating. Start rehydrating gradually - if you're completely dehydrated start with 750 mL water today, 1 L water tomorrow and so forth until you are regularly drinking at least 2 L water daily.
For my most delicious rehydration recipe, check out my citrus electrolyte spritzer here.