Oman wellness: Protect yourself from dehydration
June 10, 2017 | 7:52 PM
by Jishy Seby
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than you take in.

Summer’s here and sometimes it can be difficult to prevent dehydration. Water makes up over two-thirds of the healthy human body. It lubricates the joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps the skin healthy. The human body consists of nearly 60 per cent water; brain tissue is said to consist of about 85 per cent water. This is why drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day helps our body function efficiently.

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than you take in. When the normal water content of your body is reduced, it upsets the balance of minerals (salts and sugar) in your body, which affects the way it functions. When a person isn’t properly hydrated, their body can’t work as well as it should as a whole. It can affect blood pressure, muscle tension, dexterity, and chemical balance overall.

Some of the early warning signs of dehydration include: Feeling thirsty and lightheaded, a dry mouth, tiredness, having dark coloured, strong-smelling urine, passing urine less often than usual.

The climate, the amount of physical exercise you are doing (particularly in hot weather) and your diet can contribute to dehydration. The heat makes you sweat, which cools you down, but that also means you’re constantly losing fluid.

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Drink water throughout the day to prevent dehydration or over exhaustion. Use the colour of your urine to guide if you’re hydrated enough — the clearer the better. Drinking water helps lower your body temperature and replace the fluid you lose through sweating. It should be drunk before you get to the stage of feeling thirsty.

Drinking water is one of the most important ways to stay hydrated, but it’s not the only one. Foods are also excellent sources of hydration. All natural juices without added sugar not only provides hydration but also important nutrients are there to keep you active in hot weather. Drink naturally cooling beverages like coconut water, lemon juice, buttermilk, sugarcane juice, rather than aerated soft drinks, caffeine, and alcoholic beverages as they contain sugar and other preservatives which act as diuretics (increase the flow of urine) and can cause loss of water from the body.

Fruits and vegetables are easy to digest and are often high in water content. Salads and other dishes rich in seasonal produce will keep you feeling light and hydrated.

Have a bowl of salad for lunch which includes veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, and other greens to increase the water content in your body.

Avoid peak hours of sunlight when the temperatures and UV rays are at their highest, normally between 10am and 4pm. That’s the best time to head inside, get food and water, and let your body cool down.

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Jishy Seby is diet consultant at Kims Oman Hospital

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