We all know what dehydration is; it’s when the body doesn’t get enough water.
Water in our bodies is being lost all the time through normal bodily functions and processes such as breathing, sweating, and elimination. When our daily water intake is insufficient to replace that loss dehydration starts to set in and can usually be judged by symptoms such as: headaches and general discomfort, a loss of appetite and increased thirst, decreased urine volume and/or dark urine, unexplained tiredness or lethargy, confusion, and even seizures. Most people can tolerate a three to four percent decrease in total body water without difficulty.
But when dehydration becomes exacerbated by factors such as illness (flu, fevers, digestive ailments), physical exertion (sweating, increased body temperature), or exposure to hot and dry environmental conditions, then it becomes necessary to ensure that the problem is addressed as soon as possibly in order to minimize any damage it may cause to the body and organs.
Another dehydration factor that is not considered important by many people is a sudden change in eating and lifestyle habits. In our previous article we talked about overindulgence during the festive season and while that article may have covered most aspects and concerns regarding overindulgence, we did not elaborate much on the dehydration factor.
Think about it for minute. Alcohol is a diuretic; which means it encourages the body to lose more water than it takes on. It does this by halting the body’s production of the anti-diuretic hormone. And this is one of the primary reasons why you feel the need to run to the bathroom more often when you’re drinking – because the alcohol is causing your body to release water that it might actually have needed. Ultimately this leads to dehydration – which is also one of the main reasons why a hangover feels the way it does; it is because your body is dehydrated.
Now add to this an increased intake of foods that contain more than the usual amounts of fat, salt, and sugar, and you have a recipe for a disaster – a disaster that will see you in a constant bubble of discomfort throughout your holidays.
Luckily this is a very easy condition to combat. All you need to do is make sure that your daily intake of water is adequate enough to help your body cope with the excesses of the season. You could also be clever about it and develop a routine that, for every two to three servings of alcohol you take in, you also take in one serving of water. You don’t have to draw attention to it, just excuse yourself to the restroom, swing by the kitchen and drink a quick glass of water.
Not only will this help keep you refreshed during the rest of the evening, but it will also help lessen the after-effects of a fun night’s partying. It will also help your digestive system to manage all that rich food and it will keep your system balanced by flushing out the toxins in your body.
You can also incorporate this into your many holiday meals by having a glass of water right before the food is served. In that way you will also eat much less than you might normally do as the water will help make you feel fuller, so it will definitely be kinder on your waistline.
And be proactive and take extra water along to all your outdoor events and activities where increased sweating, exertion, and heat stress will increase fluid loss. And keep an eye on the younger and older individuals around you and ensure that they have plenty of access to drinking water at all times as dehydration affects them more easily and severely.
Take care to drink enough water and the water will take care of you!
We hope you have a Happy New Year and safe celebrations!
As a footnote to this article we do want to caution you on the following seemingly opposing information: when drinking water, try to do it in moderation as the intake of too much water in too short a period of time can also be very dangerous to your health.