As summer heats up, it’s time to drink up.
Here are 7 Fun Facts about hydration.
1. Vitamin C Makes You Pee
Vitamin C in high doses is a diuretic, which means it tells your body to eliminate fluids. It’s such a powerful diuretic that a medical treatment for drug overdoses is high amounts of vitamin C to flush the body and enhance the excretion of drugs in urine. Gentle diuretics are great when you have fluid retention, like bloating or swollen ankles, but only for short uses or they cause dehydration.
Another side effect of too much vitamin C is that it decreases your blood pressure. Because blood is made of fluid, when you get dehydrated, your blood pressure goes down.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for adults is 90 milligrams. The proper amount of vitamin C can help you maintain hydration because of osmosis. That’s why a lot of electrolyte packets contain vitamin C. If you are drinking those packets with vitamin C, I recommend drinking extra water. I like the brand Trace Mineral Research Power Pak because they contain trace minerals. And everyone feels better when their minerals are in balance. You can find them here in my online store. Let me know if you need help signing in!
2. Eat Your Water
Eating hydrating foods count towards your daily water intake. Super hydrating foods include watermelon, cucumbers, celery, brothy soups, spinach, yogurt, cottage cheese, blackberries, lettuce, carrots, and grapefruits. The more hydrating foods you eat, the less water you have to drink.
If you are having lots of caffeine, alcohol, dry foods (like crackers or chips), or if you are in hot, dry weather, you probably need more water. Listen to your body and guesstimate your water intake needs daily.
3. Hidden Diuretics
Watch out for hidden diuretics like apple cider vinegar and mannitol. If you are taking ACV or any vinegar regularly, maybe increase your fluid intake if you feel like it’s dehydrating you.
Mannitol is a synthetic sugar diuretic that’s in a lot of low calorie food. It also tells your gut to eliminate fluids, which can lead to diarrhea.
4. Dehydration Stinks
Bad breath can be an indication of dehydration because when you're low on fluids your mouth doesn't make enough saliva to flush your mouth. This can cause bacteria to build up in your mouth and create a strong odor.
Symptoms of proper hydration are zero thirst, clear and copious urine, elastic skin, and fresh breath.
5. Sports Drinks Are Not Health Drinks
Sports drinks are high in sugar, food dye, and electrolytes. Unless you are running a marathon, you don’t need that much sodium - it can raise your blood pressure. Want a healthier, hydrating drink? Check out my recipe for a
refreshing blackberry spritzer.
6. Love Thy Self
I’ve had patients over the years who won’t drink water because they don’t want to take a break from work to go to the bathroom. If you are putting other priorities over your health, you’ll be a second class citizen in your own body. It takes strength and determination to make yourself a priority.
Hydration is an act of self respect. Any repetitious act of self care is an act of self love and respect. Regular self care takes effort and dedication. In order for something that takes that much energy to be sustainable, it has to have strong motivation, like self respect. Need guidance on discovering self respect? Reach out to me!
7. Double Trouble
Caffeine and alcohol together are double trouble for hydration. Caffeine and alcohol both cause dehydration but they do it in different ways. Alcohol tells your brain to pee more, while caffeine tells your kidneys to pee more. When you are using both alcohol and caffeine, like a red bull and vodka, you are doubling your dehydration. This double dehydration also happens when you drink alcohol at night, then the next morning you have coffee or tea.
I’ve heard countless times patients tell me they need to have a drink at the end of the day to unwind or to sleep. And the next morning, they just have to have their coffee. This need for a nervous system depressant in the evening and a stimulant in the morning is a dysregulation of the nervous system. It is common but not really healthy. So, let me know if you do this.
People who regularly drink alcohol at night and caffeine in the morning have to potential to be chronically dehydrated. The symptoms of chronic low grade dehydration are persistent dry mouth and dry skin, upset digestion, headaches, poor immune system, tight muscles, weak bones, fatigue, temperature dysregulation, heart rate/blood pressure dysregulation, poor immune system, and brain fog. If you are on a prescription diuretic, like 50% of Americans, be on the look out for dehydration.
Feel thirsty yet? Time to grab a glass of water! Interested in more tips on how to stay cool this summer, check out this blog post.
Happy hydrating to you!
Dr. Heather Bird