Dehydration is a serious problem that often goes unrecognized by many people. According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, author of Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty, a dry mouth of one of the last indicators your body uses to signal dehydration. He claims that water is too important for the body to use a single mechanism (dry mouth) to signal a need for more of this essential liquid. He writes,
By the time dry mouth becomes an indicator of water shortage, many delicate functions of the body have been shut down and prepared for deletion.
In his article How Drinking More Water Can Improve Every Facet of Your Health, Dr. Joseph Mercola writes,
I can’t say enough about the health benefits of drinking pure water. Here are only a few of the many health benefits you and your family will enjoy once you make the switch to pure water:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Properly digest food and absorb nutrients from food
- Have healthy, glowing skin
- Decrease muscle and joint inflammation
- Have better circulation
- Detoxify your body naturally
He’s not alone in his belief that drinking water is a critical part of achieving optimal health. F. Batmanghelidj, M.D extensively researched this topic and wrote several fascinating books, including Your Body’s Many Cries for Water. In this book, Dr. Batmanghelidj cites Unintentional Chronic Dehydration (UCD) to be the cause of many conditions including:
- migraine headaches,
- raised cholesterol,
- chronic fatigue syndrome,
- multiple sclerosis,
- and diabetes in the elderly.
In addition, he claims that by simply drinking enough water you can naturally eliminate pains including heartburn, back pain, joint pain and the pain of colitis.
A surprising number of foods and drinks you may turn to for hydration can actually cause dehydration!
Caffeine has a documented dehydrating effect. Many people report not needing caffeine when they begin drinking enough water to hydrate themselves.
Alcohol also causes dehydration! The HuffPost reports:
“That summer sangria might be refreshing, but it’s a natural diuretic. Alcohol causes cells to shrink, which squeezes extra water out, giving drinkers that urge to hit the restroom, and fast. All those trips to the loo deplete your body’s natural water stores, which is why you might wake up with a pounding headache the morning after a big night out, says Reinagel. And if you’re drinking outside on a hot summer day, there’s even more reason to up your H2O intake, she says. “You could get behind in the dehydration game, with the effects of alcohol and the more profound cause of dehydration: sweating.”
Herbal Supplements are also reported as a diuretic; specifically, parsley, watercress, dandelion and celery seed. These may be useful if you are feeling bloated during an “in-active” time, but certainly not when hydration is important!
Asparagus I love asparagus, especially in the Spring! I do not, however, love running to the bathroom about one hour after I have had a wonderful meal!! I am not suggesting that you eliminate asparagus from your diet, as it has many VERY healthful properties. Just be aware of when you do consume it and your activities after. 🙂
Protein may also cause dehydration. Because the nitrogen in protein needs water to break it down, excessive amounts of protein may act as a diuretic. As athletes, we certainly need our protein! Just be aware and include water with your protein food.
Medications There are some medications that act as a diuretic. If you are on any medications, please check with your doctor or pharmacist to learn if yours is on the list.
This is not an all-inclusive list of foods and beverages that may cause dehydration, but they are the main culprits. The best way to battle dehydration is to drink plenty of water.