Dehydration occurs when your body has lost more fluid than you have taken in. Remaining hydrated is critical to your overall health. Every cell in your body needs water, along with oxygen, to function properly.
Anyone can become dehydrated, but those at a higher risk include infants, young children, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, endurance athletes and people living at high altitudes.
Some common causes of dehydration are vigorous exercise in hot weather, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating and increased urination.
The symptoms differ depending on whether the condition is mild or severe. Some symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration are dry mouth, fatigue, thirst, less urination, dry skin, headaches, constipation, muscle cramps and dizziness or lightheadedness.
Symptoms of severe or chronic dehydration are extreme thirst, confusion, little or no urination, sunken eyes, very dry mouth, dry skin that lacks elasticity, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing and even delirium or unconsciousness.
If not treated timely, dehydration can lead to several complications. You should seek medical help for severe dehydration, but you can treat mild dehydration at home.
Prompt restoration of lost fluids and minerals is important when suffering from dehydration. One easy way to achieve this is with a homemade oral rehydration solution (ORS).
- Add ½ teaspoon of salt and 6 teaspoons of sugar (or brown sugar) to 4 cups of drinking water.
- Stir thoroughly until the salt and sugar dissolve completely.
- Drink this homemade ORS several times a day until you recover completely.
You can also buy ORS that are approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Eat Bananas, Candy And Resins
When you are dehydrated, along with fluid you also lose minerals like potassium and one of the ways to increase your potassium levels is to eat candy and raisins.
Being rich in potassium, bananas can help restore this important mineral. In addition, it helps restore normal functioning of cramped muscles, which occur due to excess water loss in the body.
- Eat 1 to 2 bananas during the day.
- You can also drink banana smoothies.
Watery Fruits and Vegetables
When suffering from mild to moderate dehydration, increase your intake of water-rich fruits and vegetables. According to a 2009 study done at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, fruits and vegetables that are high in water content hydrate the body twice as effectively as a glass of water.
Such fruits and vegetables contain hydrating salts, minerals and sugars, hence they work in a way similar to the isotonic drinks favored by athletes.
Some fruits and vegetables with high water content are watermelon, cantaloupe, grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, cucumber, grapes, papaya, celery, lettuce, radishes, spinach, zucchini and tomatoes.
Eat these foods as snacks or add them to your salads and smoothies.
Having a glass of coconut water can also help treat dehydration. The high electrolytes in coconut water make it a very hydrating drink. It is also relatively low in calories and sugar.
According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, coconut water has a positive effect similar to sports drinks.
Drink a glass of tender coconut water a few times daily to rehydrate your body. As coconut water is rapidly absorbed by the cells, you will see quick results.
Yogurt Or Curd
Rich in calcium and anti oxidants, along with being a cooling agent for the stomach. Yogurt can be eaten on its own for combating dehydration or you can also have it as buttermilk, smoothie or the good old sweet lassi, which is a traditional Indian drink.
Add some more taste to the drink by having it sweet or salty. You can also mix it with orange syrup tocreate orange lassi or have a nourishing smoothie with banana or fruits of your choice.
Barley water is another good remedy to keep your body hydrated. The nutrients in barley help replenish minerals lost with dehydration. As it is easily digested and keeps the body cool, barley water can provide quick relief from dehydration symptoms.
- Mix 1 cup of soaked barley in 3 to 4 cups of water.
- Bring it to a boil, then simmer (covered) for 45 to 60 minutes.
- Allow it to cool, then strain it.
- Add a little lemon juice and honey.
- Drink barley water at regular intervals.