By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern
The other day I was complaining of a slight headache. I’d been outside for a good chunk of the morning. Mom said, “Have you had any water lately?”
The culprit turned out to be dehydration.
Dehydration isn’t a good thing, yet many of us are constantly in a state of dehydration. With all the different drink options available today, both kids and adults have a hard decision to make: water or a tasty, sugary beverage. You can guess what most people choose, and if you can’t, it’s not water. We don’t realize how much we need water. After all, we are made up of between 55% and 75% water depending on height, weight, amount of fat, and amount of muscle; water is vital to our lives!
The symptoms of dehydration range from just being thirsty to fainting. Severe dehydration can even cause death. Typical symptoms include dizziness, weakness, decreased urination, no sweating, and dry mouth. The causes of dehydration are as numerous as the symptoms, and they are just as uncomfortable. Like I said before, you can get dehydrated simple from not drinking enough water and drinking too much soda or other sugary drinks.
Too much exercise without enough hydration can also (you guessed it!) lead to dehydration. If you’re sick and afflicted with vomiting, diarrhea, or both, you may also suffer from dehydration because you aren’t keeping enough fluid in your body.
If you are having dehydration problems from sickness, you might want to consult a doctor; but if you are having dehydration troubles because you don’t drink enough water, here are some helpful hints to get you hydrated again!
Seriously, just drink some water. It’s not always what you are craving, and you would probably rather have a soda, but you need water more. Make goals for yourself. Write down how much you want to drink over the course of the day and leave the note somewhere where you will see it as a reminder; even posting to your mirror.
According to the Institute of Medicine, an adequate intake (AI) for men is approximately 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day. A similar and more popular measure is eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day, which approximates about 1.9 liters, a bit under what the Institute of Medicine recommends. Regardless, we need to be drinking liquid.
Eat more fruit! Fruit is already tasty, but we can get a lot of the water we need daily from it! Summer is coming, and more water-packed fruits will become available. Watermelon, strawberries, and citrus fruits can help you get the water you need and enjoy a tasty, nutritious snack at the same time.
Coconut water and sports drinks. Although these shouldn’t substitute your total water intake, coconut water and sports drinks can be sipped throughout the day to contribute to the water your body needs. They should be used in moderation, but if you need a drink and want a break from water, these can be your go-to beverages. Attempt to avoid drinks containing high amounts of sugar.
Smoothies! These refreshing drinks can be a fun way to add more water into your diet. Start with a base of either water, coconut water, or fruit juice, and blend together with your favorite water-packed fruits (or veggies if you’re a vegetable person!).
Getting and staying hydrated isn’t too hard, it just takes some willpower. To take care of our bodies, we must stay hydrated, so take these tips into consideration if you are having trouble getting enough water every day. If you have any tips of your own, we’d love to hear them in the comments!