More than 70% of our body is made up of water, a totally essential nutrient for its correct functioning , since it influences numerous functions and organic reactions.
Since the human body does not have the capacity to store water and between 2 and 2.5 liters are lost each day through sweat, urine, feces or breathing , being well hydrated is key to maintaining vital balance.
The European Food Safety Authority indicates that the daily intake of fluids in adults should be 2.5 liters for men and 2 liters for women , an amount that should be increased in summer , a time when the percentage of the population susceptible to suffering a dehydration increases to 70%, according to the Hydration and Health Observatory.
Watch out for warning signs
Dehydration occurs when our body loses more fluid than we take in , a disorder more common in children, the elderly and athletes.
You have to be especially vigilant if you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea , or if you urinate a lot (in case of uncontrolled diabetes or taking some medications).
Symptoms depending on the degree of dehydration
There are different levels depending on the percentage of water that our body has lost , and each of them is associated with a series of signs that can put us on alert.
• Mild (between 1 and 5% dehydration). Thirst, dry or sticky mouth, malaise, fatigue, weakness, and headache.
• Moderate (between 6 and 8% dehydration). Dry skin, poor or cold sweat production, less frequent urination or dark-colored urine, difficulty speaking and coordinating movements.
• Severe (between 9 and 11% dehydration). Muscle cramps, balance problems, mental confusion, increased heart rate and temperature.
Good habits to follow
Increase fluid intake. It is the fastest way to recover lost water and prevent dehydration . The healthiest drink is water, but you can also drink infusions, natural juices, vegetable broths, etc.
Do not wait until you feel thirsty , drink liquids throughout the day, in small sips, and avoid them being very cold. Also bet on foods rich in water , which will help you achieve your recommended daily intake.
Garnish your drinks. A very healthy option to make drinking water easier is to add a few slices of fruit (lemon, strawberries, orange, etc.).
Limit alcoholic or sugary drinks. Alcohol contributes to dehydration, since it inhibits the action of the hormone responsible for maintaining the balance of body fluids. On the other hand, sugar increases the risk of being overweight and obese, disorders that contribute to increased sweating.
Keep an eye out during the hottest hours. Rising ambient temperatures can increase water needs by up to six times , so avoid the midday heat and wear sunscreen because sunburn can cause dehydration and make you sweat less.
Wear light clothing. Dress in cool, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing in light, preferably natural fabrics (cotton, linen, etc.) that allow the body to breathe.
If you practice sports, be extremely careful
After physical exertion , hydration is especially important , since not only is a large amount of water lost, but also mineral salts, which must be replaced quickly.
Begin the activity properly hydrated and replenish between 150-300 ml of liquid (approximately 1-1.5 glasses) every 20 minutes and use a wet towel wrapped in ice to cool off.
To recover more quickly, you can choose to drink isotonic drinks, a nutritional supplement made up of water, sugars and mineral salts that favor physical performance and help athletes recover faster after making a great effort.
Avoid rush hours. It is convenient to do physical exercise first thing in the morning or at night and get away from the hours of maximum heat.
If you play sports, drink more. The body can lose around 1.8 liters of water after an hour running or playing tennis, so increase your fluid intake while you are practicing.
True or false
There are many myths about dehydration , such as that you should not drink if you are not thirsty, and here we help you dismantle them all and learn about the data that can help you maintain the correct water levels for your body.
It is easier to drink flavored drinks
Real. A study carried out by the Catholic University of Murcia found that drinking flavored drinks increases fluid intake by 32% , since it makes it easier for us to drink the minimum number of liters per day that our body needs.
Drinking too much fluid is bad
False true. Although the kidneys easily excrete excess water, on rare occasions overhydration can occur if the body receives more water than it excretes and needs. This disorder often causes confusion and seizures and low blood sodium, which can be dangerous.
If I don’t feel thirsty, I don’t have to drink
False . With each drop of sweat, water and minerals are lost that allow us to keep our bodily functions healthy, so it is crucial to anticipate thirst to compensate for this wear and tear.
Not hydrating well affects mentally
Real. Various studies have shown that dehydration impairs concentration, reaction time, learning and memory capacity, and mood, increasing anxiety.
Caffeinated beverages are not hydrating
Fake. Caffeine is a natural alkaloid from various plants that is part of beverages such as coffee and tea, with great moisturizing power as it is composed of more than 90% water. They should not be abused because they are stimulants, but you can opt for infusions without this substance, such as rooibos.
The 10 foods richest in water
Experts recommend that 80% of hydration come from fluid intake and 20% through eating foods with a high water content.
1. Cucumber (96.7g/100g). It is the food with the most water and also provides fiber and vitamins A, B, C and E to our diet.
2. Zucchini (96.5 g/100 g). Very rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins A and C.
3. Pumpkin (95.9g/100g). It is a source of fiber, provitamin A, vitamins B, C and E.
4. Celery (95.4g/100g). In addition to its high water content, it has vitamin K, potassium and folic acid.
5. Lettuce (95.3g/100g). The queen of salads is very rich in fiber, vitamins A, C and E and minerals.
6. Radish (95.3g/100g). It provides a lot of water, carbohydrates and fiber.
7. Asparagus (94.7 g/100 g). They are diuretics and eliminate toxins from our body.
8. Watermelon (94.6g/100g). The richest fruit in water, with fiber and vitamins B and C.
9. Tomato (94g/100g). It is full of antioxidants, fiber and nutrients.
10. Eggplant (93g/100g). High in fiber, potassium and vitamins B and C.