Its a very hot summer and many of us are suffering from symptoms of dehydration.
Here are some thoughts on why staying hydrated is so very important!
From infants to the elderly, symptoms of dehydation can include tiredness and fatigue and may seem unrelated to insomnia, irregular heart beats, headaches, cramp and muscle pain. These are just a few of the symptoms that may occur. Using the naturopathic approach to health, we ask questions so that we understand the bigger picture attached to your health problems.
Dehydration is the term used when there is a harmful reduction of water in the body. As our bodies are made of about 60% water, and all of our billions of cells need water to function properly, dehydration is always something to avoid for general health at the very least. We are all vulnerable and those with chronic health conditions even more so. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water! so if you want to think straight – drink water Some symptoms of dehydration are:
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Sunken eyes, cheeks
- Listlessness or irritability
- Extreme thirst
- Less frequent dark-colored urine urination
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Fatigue and low blood pressure
- Dizziness and confusion
When preventing dehydration, it’s important to be aware of what you’re putting into your body (water, hydrating foods) as well as what NOT to eat to cause further dehydration.
- DO drink lots of water every hour preferably with a quality medicinal tea like Artemis Digestive Tea or Heart Tea, or a vegetable juice, not fruit as it is too high in sugar.
- DO enjoy a broad range of colourful vegetables that are full of minerals and when necessary an electrolyte supplement (ensure they state no sugar, colours or artificial flavourings)
- Do prepare a very large salad each morning, ready to be used for lunches and dinners – an efficient use of our energy
- DO consider one of the Bodywise electrolyte powders – talk to us about which one is best for you or your child
- DO take a good B complex for a gentle and sustained energy lift as opposed to lots of coffee.
- DO add a pinch of salt (unless you have hypertension) to a glass of water, to alleviate fatigue and cramp
- DO take herbs to promote circulation and a higher blood pressure (for those with low blood pressure) – see Bridget our naturopath herbalist to discuss your options
- DO cool babies down with a cool flannel – babies don’t usually experience the heat as much as adults unless left in very hot conditions. They also need a sip of water, even the very young ones. Watch them closely.
- DO apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the back of the neck
- DO eat lots of fresh vegetables and a little fruit, and grass-fed meats – it takes energy to keep cool
- DO take homeopathic Belladonna or Gelsemium for persistant headaches from heat exhaustion, and take in more fluid.
- DO keep up gentle exercise in the cool mornings and evenings, to avoid the stress of exercising in the heat – there is no point stressing your body further. Swimming is also a great way to exercise and cool down.
- DO shut the curtains to keep your house cool, and open windows on opposite sides of the house to create a draft
- DO place fans with their back to the cool breeze to propell the cool air to the right places
- Do watch the elderly when out and about. Their thirst reflex is greatly diminished.
- DON’T drink alcohol and coffee, this will only cause more dehydration.
- DONT consume sugary foods and drinks or too much fruit as it increases blood sugar levels that lead to fluid retention. A protein snack is best with a vegetable topping.
- DON’T exercise strenuously in the heat of the day, in direct sunlight. Listen to your body, when it tells you enough is just that, enough
- DONT sweat the small stuff – it will only increase the stress levels and promote more sweating