- Everyone needs a different amount of water per day.
- It’s important to keep yourself hydrated.
- Habits, like drinking too much coffee and not eating enough fruits and veggies, can make you dehydrated.
Making sure you consume enough water throughout the day is very important, as a study published by the Harvard Medical School recommends drinking four to six glasses a day, while experts say that it all depends on lifestyle factors. Doing so helps prevent dehydration, which can cause symptoms such as weakness, low blood pressure, and confusion.
Dehydration can also cause dark urine, as registered dietitian Fiorella DiCarlo RD, CDN, explained that urine can be a good indicator of whether you are hydrated or not.
“One way to make sure you are not dehydrated is keeping an eye on urine colour,” DiCarlo suggested. Clearer is usually better, she said. If your urine is dark yellow, it means it’s time to drink up, she added.
To shed some light on these seemingly innocent rituals that could dehydrate you, we spoke more to DiCarlo and other registered dietitians about all those habits that could actually be making you more dehydrated.
Below are some of the things they recommend keeping in mind if you are indeed trying to track your water intake throughout the day.
You are drinking too much caffeine.
“Caffeine can be very dehydrating, and is found in coffee, teas, some energy drinks, and dark colas,” explained DiCarlo. For every cup of coffee you consume, try to have an extra cup of water, she suggested.
You are drinking too much alcohol.
“Alcohol can definitely cause dehydration,” DiCarlo said. Try drinking an extra glass of water per cocktail, she suggested. Not only will it help with dehydration, but she explained that it will also ward off a hangover.
You are not drinking enough water.
“It is so easy to forget to drink water,” DiCarlo said. “The best tip is to find a type you like (think sugar-free sparkling etc), put it in a visible place, and schedule times to remember to drink it with an alarm on your phone,” she added.
You are eating too many sugary snacks.
“Snacks can have dehydrating effects on the body,” DiCarlo told INSIDER. Dehydration can actually cause increased sugar cravings, which causes the cycle of dehydration further, she added.
You don’t drink water as soon as you wake up.
“If you haven’t consumed any water for seven to eight hours after a good night of sleep, you are likely already dehydrated,” said registered dietitian Alena Kharlamenko, MS, RD, CDN. Making a habit to drink water first thing in the morning is a good way to jump-start your hydration for the day, she recommended.
You don’t carry a portable water bottle with you throughout the day.
“It’s always wise to keep a portable insulated stainless-steel water bottle in your office so that you can easily drink and refill as needed,” Kharlamenko suggested.
You don’t hydrate before, during, or after a workout.
“You can lose plenty of water through sweat while exercising, so it is important to make sure you are hydrating yourself before, after, and even during a workout depending on the intensity,” Kharlamenko told INSIDER.
One way you can test your hydration level is to weigh yourself before and after a workout, she said. If you weigh less after working out, you’ve likely had some water loss and should refuel with some liquids, she suggested.
You are taking medications that are very dehydrating.
“Some medications like blood pressure medicine also act as diuretics, which causes you to urinate more,” Kharlamenko said. If you’re not drinking more water to account for this, you could end up dehydrated, she added.
You don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables.
“Fruits and vegetables contain a very high water content, so they are naturally hydrating,” Kharlamenko suggested. Strawberries, watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, and bell peppers are all very hydrating, as they have over 90% water content, she said.
You are using bouillon cubes will cooking.
“Bouillon cubes may seem like a safe ingredient at first glance, but they actually contain an alarming amount of sodium that could contribute to dehydration,” said registered dietitian Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN.
You are consuming too many fried foods.
“Consuming too many fried foods can dehydrate you,” Aguirre said. Many fried and processed foods contain a hidden amount of salt, causing you to easily go over the daily salt intake recommendation, she said.
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