Newsletter Article

The Importance of Proper Hydration

Proper hydration is always important, however high summertime temperatures combined with an increase in outdoor activities require extra vigilance against dehydration.

Adequate fluid intake is vital for proper bodily function, particularly of the nervous and digestion systems. Typically by the time a person feels thirst they are already dehydrated, and it is important to rehydrate immediately to reverse any negative effects. Some initial symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, decreased urine, dry skin, and constipation. As dehydration progresses, symptoms can include hyperventilation, fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, and even loss of consciousness. A good marker of proper hydration is pale or almost colorless urine.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition examined the mental effects of dehydration. [1] Researchers concluded that even mild dehydration can negatively affect mood. The study, which included 25 healthy females with a mean age of 23 years, found that with mild dehydration, the participants experienced mood changes, headaches, exhaustion, and an inability to concentrate.

An individual’s fluid requirements depend on gender, size, and actively level. [2] Water is the best choice for staying hydrated; however sports drinks are an effective alternative, particularly during prolonged bouts of intense activity. To make water more appealing and a bit more nutritious, add some fresh sliced fruit or vegetables such as oranges, strawberries, or cucumber. Foods with high water content, such as crisp lettuce, watermelon, broccoli, citrus fruits, and cucumbers, can also help prevent dehydration. And finally, limit alcohol and caffeinated beverages, as these act as diuretics, which can lead to further dehydration.