The importance of drinking water isn’t just a fad – it’s true. Keeping your body hydrated with fluids is crucial for your health as well as maintaining proper function of a wide range of systems and organs within the body – including the heart, brain and muscles. Aside from this, water is free of calories, fat and carbohydrates. Essentially, your body depends on water in order to survive.
Are You Drinking Enough Water?
Family physicians like Dr. Ali Ghahary recommend drinking a minimum of 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of water every day. The best way to tell whether or not you’re drinking enough water is to pay attention to the colour of your urine. If you are well hydrated, your urine should be colourless or light yellow. If you’re dehydrated and not drinking enough water, your urine will appear darker yellow or amber.
Foods High in Water Content
Aside from a good, cold glass of water, there are also certain foods that are high in water content. In fact, as much as 20% of your water intake actually comes from food. Fruits and vegetables like watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, oranges, raspberries, cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, celery, green pepper and spinach are made up of anywhere from 80% to approximately 95% of water and are great for keeping you hydrated. That being said, it’s also important to be aware of which fruits might have less benefits for your health, which you can read more about by clicking here.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
When you don’t drink enough water, you become hydrated – also known as dehydration. Depending on how dehydrated a person is, signs and symptoms of dehydration can be very minor, or they can severe and sometimes even life-threatening. Dehydration is especially concerning for young children and older adults (seniors, in particular.) Signs and symptoms of dehydration may include dry mouth, extreme thirst, infrequent urination, dark-coloured urine, fatigue, dizziness or confusion, dry skin, and even headache. If you develop a rapid heart rate, have seizures, have diarrhea (for 24 hours or more), have bloody or black stools, can’t keep down fluids, or become disoriented, you should seek immediate medical attention by seeing your doctor or going to the nearest emergency room.
What Causes Dehydration?
Along with not drinking enough water, dehydration is generally quite common during warmer months – especially the summer. As Vancouver is currently experiencing a heat wave and seeing higher than seasonal temperatures, Dr. Ali Ghahary wants to remind people about not just the importance of keeping yourself hydrated, but also about the importance of protecting yourself from the sun. Along with drinking water, if you’re going to be outdoors for an extended period of time you should also make sure you’re wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. You should also take breaks from the sun and move to shaded or air-conditioned areas whenever possible. For more tips on sun safety, click here.