6 myths about hydration
Everyone knows how important to stay hydrated, especially during hot summer. Every single cell in your body needs fluid to function properly all the time. That’s why even mild dehydration can make you irritable, foggy-headed, and headachy. But you need to know that there are a lot of myths about hydrating. We tried to find out the truth about when, what, and how much water you really need to sip.
1. We’re all chronically dehydrated
Not if you eat a healthy diet. The truth is moisture in food contributes about 20% of the fluid you need. So if you avoid “dry” foods, like heavily processed food, eat more fruits and veggies and drink when you’re thirsty, you should stay well hydrated, even if you’re not drinking dozens of bottles of water a day. Foods packed with produce help prevent dehydration throughout the day. These are some super-hydrating foods you should eat: cucumbers (97% water), cauliflower (92% water), spinach (91% water), strawberries (91% water), and watermelon (90% water).
2. It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger
Trust your body – it knows the difference. You may think that you reach after cookies while what you really need is to drink water. But you’re unlikely to mix up true thirst and hunger because the sensations aren’t even similar. They feel different and are regulated by separate mechanisms in your body. When you’re thirsty, your cell and blood volumes decrease, and you get an unpleasantly dry, tacky-feeling mouth. Hunger, on the other hand, is driven by gut hormones, nutrients and glucose, and the signs of it are stomach rumbles and a sensation of emptiness. Just listen to your body, it will give you the signals whether you’re hungry or thirsty.
3. You need to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day
Well, that’s a random number. There’s not a lot of hard-core evidence that you have to drink this amount of water. According to The Institute of Medicine, healthy women should consume 91 ounces of water a day, but that includes intake from all beverages and food, not just plain water. Of course, you might need more if you live in a hot and humid climate, exercise a lot or are pregnant. As long as you drink when you’re thirsty and your pee is generally pale yellow, it isn’t necessary to drink that much. Again, listen to your body’s needs.
4. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated
Drink if you’re thirsty, but you’re not dying from dehydration. Some people will say that you should never feel thirst. But when you’re thirsty, it’s just your body says – let’s drink some water – that’s it. It’s totally fine to feel a little thirsty, it’s not a sign of a major problem. Actual dehydration that endangers your health comes with more serious ill effects, like migraines, dizziness and hallucinations.
5. You should drink a lot during exercise
Actually there is such a thing as overhydration. Drinking large volumes of fluid, even with electrolytes can result in hyponatremia, in which the level of sodium in your blood gets too low. It happens rarely, but can be deadly. You don’t have to drink more than your body needs, our sensor will tells us how much water we need. Let thirst be your guide. If you don’t trust your body instincts, weigh yourself before and after exercising, and then drink 16 ounces for every pound lost.
6. Drinking water will tame your appetite
Yes, eating soup or another water-rich food before your main meal will fill you up and help you consume fewer calories afterward. But plain water empties out of your stomach quickly. However, research shows that if you believe water can curb your appetite, it might.