Although India is one of the warmest countries in the world, those temperatures can rise and drop throughout the year. When the hot season starts to get a grip of us, dehydration is always going to be a danger. Even those of us who are fit and well can easily get caught out when our bodies start to overheat. It’s a fact that drinking some refreshing water throughout the day is far easier than done. Let’s face it, there are better tasting drinks to be had and plenty of them. But here we are discussing the way that dehydration can sneak up on us and deliver a massive sucker punch when the summer hits its highest temperatures. We’ll discuss how to spot dehydration and also how to avoid it. After that we are going to suggest some tips that will help you to deal with the Indian summertime without too much disruption in your daily schedule.
It’s important to understand that the human body is made up from around 60% of water and when that starts to drop, well, our whole system will suffer. The water in our body has a vital role and is responsible for looking after essential functions that include blood pressure regulation, overall body temperature as well as joint lubrication and digestive aids. If you think about the way that a motor vehicle is pretty much connected to the amount and quality of oil in the engine, you will start to understand why our bodies should never have to deal with dehydration. Once those outside temperatures start to climb, it is so important that we also increase the consumption of water accordingly. If the water we are losing on a hot day starts to increase quicker than the liquids we are drinking, that is when the problems will start to happen. Your brain is typically more than 70% of water and should that level start to drop, our minds will begin to have difficulty processing information. Cognitive functioning will break down and brain tissue is at risk.
Signs of dehydration
Okay, so feeing thirsty is a dead giveaway that we are feeling the effects of dehydration but sometimes there are other indications that are not quite as obvious. You may feel as if your appetite has disappeared even though you haven’t eaten for some time. Or perhaps that headache that just will not quit is another warning that needs to be taken seriously. When you visit the bathroom, always pay attention to the colour of your urine because if it looks darker than is normal, you are quite possibly dehydrated and need some liquids sooner rather than later. You may even start to experience a dizzy spell and that can be very dangerous especially if you are driving or operating some form of machinery. Constant dehydration can lead to memory loss and even brain damage if it goes ignored for a long period of time. Those boxers who attempt to lose weight by shedding excess body water have been known to put their safety at risk because of the way that dehydration drains the protective liquid around the brain. Please don’t ever put your own personal safety at risk and take a look at the following tips that will keep you hydrated throughout summer.
Drink water regularly
This may come across as a real no-brainer but you would be shocked to learn just how many of us either forget or just don’t seem to care about drinking water throughout the day. The important thing to bear in mind here is that you shouldn’t have to wait until you are thirsty before you take a drink. Try and prevent that thirsty feeling by having a drink every hour or so, even if you are not exercising or in the hot weather. You can monitor your hydration by looking at the colour of your urine when visiting the bathroom as a useful indicator. The recommended daily consumption as far as water is concerned is usually around 8 glasses per day, typically on an hourly basis. If you are struggling to do this, you can think about adding some form of non-sugar based flavouring to make it a little easier, but more of that later. Each glass needs to be around 400 ml in volume and this can be increased if you are exercising or at least walking around in the summer heat. It’s a smart idea to buy yourself a reusable water bottle so it can act as a reminder throughout the day.
Yes, it’s true, there are a whole bunch of food items that can help your body stay nicely hydrated throughout the day. These are pretty much all in the fruit and vegetable food groups but most are tasty enough on their own to be a nice little snack. We’re basically talking about the likes of cucumbers, celery, cauliflower, tomatoes, grapefruit, strawberries and spinach here. All of these delicious food items are both inexpensive and contain more than 90% of water. It’s best to try and eat these in their raw state as cooking tends to remove a lot of the water. Bell pepper, watermelon, radishes and broccoli are also on the list and most can be easily obtained during the warmer months. Coconut is another food item that is packed with minerals and tastes gorgeous as well. Containing the likes of magnesium, sodium and calcium, coconuts are excellent for making up those lost electrolytes that run away from our body at the first sign of warm weather and exercise.
Mix and Match
Let’s go back to water and discuss some fun and healthy ways to make it a little more interesting to drink. It’s advisable to avoid any type of flavouring that contains processed sugar but there are plenty of tasty and healthy alternatives. Why not add some fresh fruit to your glass of water and you could be doing even better whilst enjoying the drink at the same time? Squeeze a little lemon and lime into the glass and add crushed ice for a nice ‘mocktail’ to be enjoyed throughout the day and evening. You can also look at trying mineral water such as San Pellegrino for a unique tasting beverage that actually hydrates better than just plain water on its own. Carbonated water may not be your thing but that also helps to hydrate the system better than normal H2o.
It’s not only food that helps you to stay hydrated, try and think about what you are wearing on a warm day and try and opt for loose fitting clothes instead of something more body hugging. Stay indoors unless you need to be outside and remember to turn on the air conditioning when it becomes too warm inside. Yoga is an excellent way to help calm down those nerves that make us sweat in the hot weather and is also great for your flexibility as well. Look at food with high potassium levels because these do an excellent job of replenishing the lost electrolytes that escape when we sweat excessively.
What to avoid
Well, it’s one thing giving advice on what to eat and how to behave on a warm day so how about a few things that you should try to avoid at all costs? There’s a list as long as you can imagine so we’ll just keep it rather short and sweet so you’ll be able to remember the key points here:
- Cut out alcohol and cigarettes – It’s no surprise that both of these culprits are in this list because nothing really good comes from either of these products. Smoking cigarettes will do a great job of drying up the throat lining and this leads to even more dehydration. Whilst alcohol is a known diuretic that attacks the cells that line both the throat and the stomach leading to…you’ve guessed it – dehydration!
- Stay relaxed – Although it may seem a wise idea to get out in the warm weather and go for a run or a bike ride, it isn’t actually that smart of an idea. Essentially, you will risk dehydration far quicker than normal and who knows where that may end? It’s best to either wait until the temperature drops a little or get your exercise at the nearest air-conditioned gym instead.
- Spicy foods – There may be a school of thought that believes spicy food is good for staying hydrated in warm weather, we tend to disagree. There’s nothing wrong with a lovely spicy meal but it will also help you to lose those bodily fluids in a rather fast manner. So long as you keep drinking something nice and cool in between courses, then you should be okay, just make sure that it is water and not beer!
- Soft Drinks – If the only option for you to get a drink is something fizzy and fruity, then so be it but try and get access to water as quickly as you can. These soda type drinks may offer a quick fix but in the long run, they can make you even more dehydrated than before. Many of these drinks are known diuretics and these are known causes of dehydration because they tend to make us want to pass water. The same is true of tea and coffee and most energy giving drinks. It’s best to stick to good old H2o and if you get bored of that lack of flavour, look at some of our tips earlier in the article.
This article has discussed a number of proven ways to keep us hydrated during the summer months. But they can be followed all year around as dehydration can attack even in winter time. Remember to drink water before you actually feel thirsty and then you can avoid that risk that comes when you start to dehydrate. Avoid too much exercise under the direct sun and look closely at your eating habits because some foods are better than others for hydrating our bodies. If you are feeling dehydrated and none of these tips seems to be doing the trick, we’d advise visiting your family doctor and they should be able to offer a solution that works for you.