What if the answer to your health crisis was staring you right in the mouth? A survey of 300 British general pracitioners found that one in five patient visits resulted in a diagnosis of dehydration. If this is surprising to you, you're not alone. Water is something that even the most health-conscious among us can forget to prioritize.
It's important to remember that a dry mouth and thirst are not the only sign that you are water-deprived, and in fact, many symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and brain fog can be resolved by simply increasing your daily intake of H2O. As a holistic health coach, I passionately advocate for my clients to drink more water and less juice, soda, and other beverages. I encourage you to try it, too, and see if any of these five common symptoms disappear:
1. Headaches and hangovers.
Before you reach for the over-the-counter pain reliever, try rehydrating. Most hangover symptoms, including headaches, are widely attributed to dehydration. Many will find relief within 30 minutes of drinking 8 to 16 ounces of water while others will require additional glasses and more time.
2. Brain fog and anxiety.
Prescriptions for ADD and anxiety medications have skyrocketed. Yet, it is commonly accepted that even mild dehydration affects your mind’s ability to function and think clearly. So plump up your brain with enough water to help you manage stress, tackle information overload, and master decision making.
When your body is dehydrated, it's essentially in crisis. This means that it will pull water from areas like your colon to ensure that your brain, lungs, and heart have enough water to keep you alive. This can result in a backed-up bowel. Try adding up to a tablespoon of chia seeds to 16 ounces of room-temperature water. Let it set for 10 minutes, and drink up to motivate your colon to loosen up. Then keep up your hydration efforts throughout the day.
4. Irregular blood pressure.
Your blood is, in large part, made of water. Just like taking the moisture out of a sauce you are cooking on the stove, your blood will thicken in the absence of water. Thicker blood means your heart has to work harder to pump it through your body. Dehydration can also effect sodium concentration, which sounds the emergency bell by shutting down your capillaries and putting more "pressure" on your arteries. So get your eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day to allow your body to go with the flow.
You might think your belly is begging for a midafternoon cookie and coffee break, but did you know that hunger and thirst requests actually originate in the same part of the brain? It's true. You really might just need a tall glass of water and not a 3 p.m. sugar or caffeine rush to revive your energy and push through the rest of the day. Set up reminders on your phone or use other tools and technology to keep you mindfully motivated to stay fully hydrated throughout the day and avoid a late-afternoon energy crash.
Are you feeling inspired to drink more water, feel great, and thrive? It really can be as simple as revving up your efforts to drink enough water to keep your body looking and feeling more like a plum than a prune.
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MaryAnn Jones, HHC, inspires women to hydrate and thrive. She is the co-founder of Wear Your Wellness, a brand that creates products that mindfully motivate you to achieve your health goals. She is a recovering picky eater who has taken step-by-step action to achieve optimal health. She knows that if she can do it, you can too.