Dehydration can occur any time of year, but it becomes especially problematic in high summer when the temperature peaks. While some signs like dry skin are a no-brainer, others aren’t so obvious. We tapped NYC-based internist (and founder of the probiotic skincare line Tula) Dr. Roshini Raj to share these often-overlooked indicators so you can prevent them from interrupting your day. In short: Drinking up will save you from a whole host of problems.
"Saliva has antibacterial properties, but dehydration can prevent your body from making enough of it. If you're not producing enough saliva, bacteria overgrowth can cause halitosis."
"Changes in electrolytes, sodium and potassium levels can lead to cramping—this occurs when the nerves that connect to the muscles become hypersensitive, causing involuntarily contractions or spasms."
"When there's not enough fluid in your colon, you can become constipated and have hard, dry stools. Increasing your water intake will help your digestive system run smoothly and help move things along."
"When you're dehydrated you can actually get food cravings. While it could be anything from chocolate to a salty snack, a desire for sweets is more common, because your body may be experiencing difficulty with glycogen production."
"Whether you're working out or working a desk job, your body needs water to perform and keep cool. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated. Drink water throughout the day so your urine stays light-colored. Have at least two cups of water an hour or more before a planned physical activity. Then sip throughout."
Dr. Raj suggests adhering to the following practices.
- Keep your water bottle nearby. Having it close will remind you to hydrate.
- Kick up plain water. If you're not a fan of regular H20, add fresh fruit chunks, mint leaves or a splash of juice to make it more palatable.
- Snack smart. Opt for bites like fruit, yogurt, smoothies and veggies, which have a higher water content than chips and pretzels.
- Pack on the produce. At mealtime, fill half your plate with fruits and veggies to ensure a healthy serving of water. Foods such as cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, celery, lettuce and leafy greens, zucchini, tomatoes and bell peppers are great choices, as they're 90% water.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine. These can dehydrate you, so try to avoid on hot days especially.