Did you know that water makes up two-thirds of your body weight? With the amount of water in our bodies, it’s no wonder it’s so important to us. Water has a lot of vital functions in the human body, without which we wouldn’t be able to function. For instance, water lubricates our eyes and joints, helps maintain the balance of our body fluids, aids digestion, regulates body temperature, and much, much more. Perhaps most importantly, it helps flush unnecessary toxins out of our bodies.
Many people can mistake the feelings of thirst and hunger, which can lead to mild to moderate dehydration. When this happens, we must know the warning signs to take immediate measures and fill up on water before it gets serious. Here are eight signs to look out for when you think you might be low on fluids.
Eight red flags reveal a body that lacks water.
“Drinking water is like washing out your insides. The water will cleanse the system, fill you up, decrease your caloric load and improve the function of all your tissues.” – Kevin R. Stone
1. Headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, and balance problems
When you drink enough water, you supply your brain with fluid, which surrounds it and protects it from movement and slight bumps. A drop in your hydration level means there’s less fluid to protect your brain, which results in headaches, feeling dizzy, and sometimes even losing your balance. It can sometimes trigger painful migraines as well. So, if you feel like your head hurts, don’t reach for the painkillers. Instead, go for your water bottle. As soon as you rehydrate, your headache will improve–if dehydration was the cause. However, if it persists, the issue may be more serious, so you should seek medical attention.
2. Bad breath and dry mouth
Water provides saliva production, which is essential for antibacterial protection in your mouth. When dehydrated, you produce less saliva, which means bacteria can grow, leading to stinky breath. Of course, brushing your teeth is essential, but the first step is to drink more water to improve your general mouth hygiene! Dry mouth and throat can also come from dehydration, so if you feel that, it’s a sign you need a drink of water!
3. Change in the color, smell, and consistency of urine
If you’re well-hydrated, your urine should always be a shade of pale yellow. If it looks dark yellow and appears to be more concentrated, that’s a sign that you need some water.
Also, dehydration can cause your urine to have a foul ammonia smell because the chemicals get more concentrated. After all, there’s not enough water to dilute them.
4. Constant joint and muscle pain
As we mentioned before, water is essential in lubricating our joints. In fact, joints and cartilage contain about 80 percent water! When you’re dehydrated, your joints are less lubricated, and that causes your bones to grind against each other, causing joint pain. However, your joints can withstand tremendous pressure when adequately hydrated, such as running a marathon, jumping, or sudden movements. Not just that, but studies have also proved that muscle cramps are caused by dehydration as well – so if you want good muscle tone, make sure to stock up on fluids!
5. Accelerated heartbeat
Liquids are essential to controlling blood plasma volume, and dehydration means your blood gets more viscous. High viscosity affects blood circulation, which in turn affects your heart rate.
Director of cardiac electrophysiology Dr. Shephal Doshi says, “Dehydration can cause changes in your body’s electrolytes and lower blood pressure. This puts stress on the body and, as a result, could cause an abnormal heartbeat.”
Therefore, with dehydration, the electrolyte level in your body changes, which affects the heartbeat and can also cause anxiety and panic. If you feel acceleration in your heartbeat, try drinking some water slowly, sip by sip, to see if you feel better. If it doesn’t improve, consult with your doctor straight away.
6. Dry, scaly skin
As the largest organ in our body, the skin needs a lot of hydration to stay healthy. If your skin is dry and lacks elasticity, that’s a sign that your body may need water. Not just that, but dehydration also causes excess sweating as the internal organs can’t wash away toxins due to the lack of water. It also increases the risk of acne and eczema. To ensure your skin stays healthy and well moisturized, use a good moisturizing lotion at home and drink plenty of water.
7. Sudden food cravings
As we mentioned before, we often mistake signs of dehydration as hunger. Keep an eye on your food cravings, as they usually indicate that you’re missing water rather than food. If you’re hungry for something salty, drink a sports drink with salt instead, or make your lemon water with salt. If you want to eat something sweet, opt for fruit like watermelon, papaya, or berries, as they have high levels of natural fructose.
8. Brain fog and fatigue
Our brains are made out of 90% water, so when we’re dehydrated, the brain can’t process information correctly, causing brain fog such as poor memory and loss of concentration.
Fatigue is also caused by dehydration, as lack of water limits oxygen flow to the brain. To improve these, try drinking water at regular intervals and take a break from what you’re doing.
Hydration is mainly water, but it can also come from fruit, veggies, flavored water, clear soups, and more!
10 Ways to Drink More Water
1. Keep a water bottle nearby
One of the best ways to drink more water is to keep your refillable bottle handy. Refill it regularly so you’ll always have hydration when you need it. Keep it in the fridge at home or work if you like chilled water. Having your personal bottle with you is a simple way to stay hydrated during the day.
2. There’s an app for that
If you’re trying to remember to drink more each day, you might download an H2O app on your iPhone. When you take a sip, you record how much you drank. The app keeps track using the image of a person filling up with water. You can see how much fluid you consumed over the past weeks, which helps you see patterns of how you felt compared to how much water you drank. On some apps, you set reminders to remember to take a sip every so often. So, check out your app store for an app that works for you.
3. Serve water at meals
A simple way to increase your water intake is to serve water at every meal. If you serve wine with your meal, include a glass of water because alcohol is dehydrating. Serving water at meals is especially important for kids who often forget to drink water during the day. Making water a regular part of your meals motivates you and your family to drink more water.
4. Order water when eating out
Opt for water instead of soda when you go out to your favorite restaurant. You not only save money, but you consume fewer calories, which could prove helpful in losing weight in the long run. Sipping water instead of soda also helps you enjoy the flavors of your food. So, the next time you go out, ask for a tall glass with your meal.
5. Eat water-filled foods
Even though drinking enough daily fluid is essential, eating water-filled foods helps you stay hydrated. Include these foods in your daily menu to increase your intake.
- Skim milk
6. Bubbles are okay
If you’re not a big fan of plain water, you may enjoy the sparkling variety. The fizzy bubbles make drinking water more exciting and are very satisfying. Many flavored seltzers or sparkling varieties are now available. You can even buy a soda machine to make your own favorite at home. This eliminates throwing away cans or plastic bottles all the time. For years people worried that seltzer damaged the calcium in your bones because of the phosphate in the carbonation. According to studies, no evidence suggests that the seltzer phosphate content affects your bone density or metabolism.
7. Eat salt
Sodium is an essential nutrient for your body. A recent study warned that several health organizations’ suggestion that the entire population eats a low-sodium diet isn’t healthy or necessary. According to the survey, their recommendation for everyone to eat 2.3 grams of sodium a day is too low. A more beneficial daily range is 3 to 5 grams of sodium. There is no evidence that the entire population reducing salt long-term would lower cardiovascular disease or death. In fact, no study proves fewer cardiovascular events occur when sodium is reduced to 2.3 grams a day compared to 3 to 5 grams per day.
Unless they prove otherwise, researchers say people should consume three to five grams of sodium every day. So, if you’ve been reducing your salt intake, it’s essential that you increase your salt to an average level. When it’s hot and humid, you sweat during the summer months, causing you to lose sodium and fluids. One way to replenish your water and sodium levels during hot weather is to eat healthy salty foods. Choose healthy salty foods such as:
- Goat cheese dip
- Veggie chips
- Popcorn with sea salt
- Avocados drizzled with olive oil and salt
- Homemade kale chips, olive oil, and sea salt
8. Drink water after you go to the bathroom
One simple way to drink more fluid every day is to refill your glass after each bathroom trip. People go to the bathroom frequently. This means you’ll be drinking water throughout your day regularly.
9. Water sleeve
Have you heard of water sleeves? It’s an insulated 12-ounce wet sleeve you wear on your arm. Most people use it when they’re out for a run or hiking. It’s a hands-free way to carry extra water with you when you’re outside. These sleeves make it effortless to sip water on the run. Water sleeves aren’t just for athletes. Check them out online or at sports stores near you.
10. Keep a water pitcher in the fridge just like grandma
When you were little and at grandma’s house, did you notice she kept a pitcher of cold water in the refrigerator? That’s because dispensers were not present in refrigerators back in the day. If you wanted a glass of cold water, you had to get it from the kitchen faucet and add ice cubes from the freezer.
Of course, sometimes, the little ice trays were out of ice. Grandma solved the problem by keeping a pitcher of cold water in her fridge. Why not keep a pitcher of water in your fridge like grandma did to drink all the water each day? Most household pitchers are 32 ounces. That’s four glasses of fluid a day. According to a Harvard study, most people should drink approximately four to six cups each day. So, you can drinking a pitcher and a half every day will meet your daily requirements.
Final Thoughts on the Signs of a Body That Lacks Water
Even though you know the significance of staying hydrated, getting enough hydration every day isn’t easy. If you are experiencing any of these signs that your body lacks fluids, try incorporating some of these suggestions to up your daily intake. Over time, as you make drinking water a daily habit, you’ll experience the benefits of being hydrated and feeling your best.