75% of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration, nutritionists say, and more often than not, we don’t realize we’re becoming dehydrated until it’s too late.
Before you begin suffering from chronic headaches, exhaustion, constipation, blood clots, or worse, learn how to easily spot the start of dehydration and know when you need to replenish your personal hydration levels!
- Cracked, chapped lips — Before you reach for that Burt’s Bees, take a moment to think about when the last time you had a cup or two of water. Was it 4 hours ago? Was it this morning? Maybe you’re like me and it was during dinner the previous evening? When our bodies become dehydrated, vital organs begin taking fluids from less vital body parts, including the lips, skin, and eyes. When you notice your lips becoming taught, flaky, or cracking, and it’s not dry and frigid outside, remind yourself to drink some water, in addition to applying a lip balm.
- Dry eyes — Just like with lips, the body begins to pull hydration from the eyes, resulting in your eyes feeling dry. You’ll find that, in addition to slight fatigue, your eyes don’t want to open all the way. In addition to applying your eye drops or simply rubbing your eyes, take a moment to think about the last time you drank water and drink an extra glass at that moment.
- Constipation — When we are constipated, it is due to two reasons, not consuming enough of both types of fiber and not drinking enough water. To make matters worse, much of the dry, processed foods that we introduce to our bodies require rehydration once inside of the body, further compromising the hydration levels of our own bodies. These dry foods, even if they are high in fiber, are not adding hydration; in fact, they are removing hydration. If you find yourself constipated, replace dry fiber with fresh fruits and vegetables. The water content of those items adds to the body’s water content, further aiding in regular bowel movements. Round out your new diet with an increased water intake!
- Sluggishness or unrealistic fatigue — Have you noticed yourself waking up a few days in a row feeling tired, despite getting more than 7 hours of sleep? Are your eyes dragging and feeling dry? Do you feel depressed or exhausted for no particular reason? Think about the last time you drank water. Water neutralizes and dilutes sodium and other minerals in the blood, as well as lubricates the functions of the body. When these functions become less fluid, they become sluggish or slow. This creates a ripple effect through the body, causing you to become tired, as a whole. Think about how much water you typically drink and reassess your routine.
This list provides a great way to keep yourself hydrated throughout the week. While 8 glasses isn’t a set amount, because each body is different, it’s a great starting place to learn what your body needs! Happy drinking!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. My information comes from personal experience, doctor’s approvals, and research. This article is not intended to replace a doctor’s care or insights. If you suspect that your ailment could be something worse, please consult a physician.