“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Although Ben Franklin was actually referring to fire safety when he coined the phrase, these days it is most frequently used to describe an approach to our health. Taking preventative measures to maintain good health is always wise, and as the seasons change, it is important to recognize the increased probability for certain problems to arise.
With the heat of summer, comes a stronger potential for dehydration. Typical warning signs are increased thirst, reduced urination, darker than usual urine, muscle cramps, dizziness, and headaches. If not corrected, more advanced signs can include low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat or breathing, and delirium. A helpful test if in doubt – your skin should be elastic and bounce back when pinched.
Two thirds of the human body is made up of water and it is considered a vital essential nutrient for survival. Water plays many critical roles in the human body: lubricates and cushions joints and organs, regulates body temperature, transports oxygen and nutrients to cells, helps to dissolve vitamins and minerals for absorption, and flushes the body of toxins. Nearly all the major bodily systems depend on water.
So in order to remain healthy, we must maintain our internal water balance by replacing loss of water with intake of water. Seems simple, but many people are not aware that they are including diuretics in their diet which increase their loss of water. Common diuretics include caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks, some herbal teas, fruit juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and alcohol.
What to do? Either avoid diuretics or compensate by increasing your water intake. Alternate at least 12 ounces of water between diuretic drinks. Adding a pinch of sea salt (not table salt with chemical additives) to your water will also help you to retain more of the water you drink as well as help to restore your electrolytes. And contrary to popular belief, sports drinks are not a healthy alternative to water due to the high sugar content and artificial sweeteners, flavorings, and colors. Do yourself a favor and water yourself daily!