Summer, the peak season for dehydration
To our delight, the sunshine has finally returned, however, be careful, as the flip side of the summer weather means you could be on the road to dehydration... There are several precautions you can take to avoid feeling the negative consequences of the heat.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration is a lack of water, caused by an imbalance between intake and loss. Water represents 65% of human body weight: it’s the body's primary component. Each day, you lose between 2 and 2.5 litres of water through urine, faeces and exhalation. And when it's hot, you also lose it as you sweat! This additional loss can mean that you lose up to 1 litre more water each day. Water enters the body through the food and drink we consume. And, logically, if you absorb less water than you lose, you will become dehydrated very quickly.
The first sign is being thirsty. But unfortunately, not everyone feels it (e.g. elderly people) or pays enough attention to it (e.g. Sunday morning sportsmen and sportswomen). You then start to experience different symptoms of increasing severity: fatigue, cramps, fever, accelerated pulse, dizziness, low blood pressure, impaired alertness, confusion, kidney failure, coma, death.
So, what can we do to prevent it?
Drink, drink, drink. The golden rule: you don’t have to wait until you feel thirsty to have a drink.
Water is of course the best drink you can have to stay hydrated. It regenerates our cells and encourages blood circulation. Although everyone is different when it comes to their water intake needs, it is advised to drink a large bottle of mineral water per day, which is about one and a half litres. This corresponds to around 8 glasses of water. And in really severe heat, force yourself to drink even more.
Admittedly, there are more enjoyable things to do than drink water all day. One alternative is to add any fruit that you can get your hands on (lemons, raspberries, kiwis, strawberries, blood oranges, etc.) to your glass of water. It’s easy to do, kind to your health, and to your taste buds, inexpensive and super trendy at the moment: detox water!
But why not sip on a frosé, another one of this summer’s hottest drinks trends, a rosé and raspberry-based slushie? Sorry to break it to you, but, as with all alcoholic drinks, it’s not one of the best ideas if you want to stay hydrated. Alcohol produces a hormone that drains water from the body and eventually leaves you dehydrated. Similarly, in the summer it is advised to stay away from coffee, tea, and fizzy drinks, as they also encourage the body to lose water.
Go for flavoured drinks like coconut water, composed of more than 90% water and...sugar, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytohormones, a real source of goodness for the body! Even more original, why not try cactus water, which also does wonders for the skin. You can also buy a whole range of flavourings and sweeteners to add to your water to suit your individual tastes.
Finally, don’t forget that you can also stay hydrated through eating. Fruit and vegetables that are rich in water, such as melons, peaches, nectarines, and cherries are highly recommended.
So, take these small but precious pieces of advice and enjoy a hiccup-free summer!