Drink more water!
You hear doctors, health gurus, and your fitness enthusiasts friends saying it all the time, but is it really a big deal?
Drinking enough water throughout the day can be difficult.
It’s easy to get bored with the taste, and when you work at a desk, frequent trips to the water cooler (and the bathroom) are inconvenient.
Take a look at this, though:
These 19 common health problems are all caused by mild to moderate dehydration.
19 Common Problems Caused by Dehydration
1: Bad Breath
When you become dehydrated, or if you’re chronically dehydrated (as much as 75% of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration) your body doesn’t produce as much saliva.
Human saliva contains natural compounds that inhibit bacterial growth, and when there’s less saliva in your mouth, halitosis causing bacteria have a chance to flourish.
Your bad breath is more than just offputting.
If it’s common, it’s a sign that you should probably be drinking more water.
Perhaps the most obvious sign that you need to drink more water is the feeling of thirst.
Did you know that if you feel thirsty, you should have already had water hours ago?
The best way to satisfy your thirst is with pure, clear water, not a sport drink, soda, coffee, or milk. Those things can actually contribute to dehydration!
When your body doesn’t have enough water to function properly, you’ll feel tired and run down.
As energy levels flag, consider reaching for water instead of an energy drink.
Staying hydrated keeps your body working well, and gives you the energy to get through the day.
Lightheadedness and dizziness, especially upon standing, might indicate low blood pressure caused by dehydration.
Your blood actually decreases in volume and blood pressure drops when you’re dehydrated.
5: Darker Urine, Especially if Infrequent
Sorry, but we need to talk about pee.
Healthy urine is almost clear, with a little bit of a yellow tinge.
Anything distinctly yellow or orange is a sure sign that you’re not drinking enough water.
Also, you should be using the bathroom between 6 and 10 times each day. If you’re not making enough trips, your body isn’t flushing out waste products, and it’s time to fill up your water bottle again.
6: Chapped Lips
Dry, cracked, and peeling lips aren’t just caused by licking them too much.
The skin on your lips is delicate, and if they’re dry and chapped, it’s a sure sign that you’re dehydrated.
Instead of reaching for lip balm, drink up!
7: Dry Skin
Just like dry lips, itchy, dry skin is an indicator that you’re not drinking enough water.
Especially if your skin is normally oily, dry patches are a clear sign that you need to drink more.
8: Reduced Skin Elasticity
You might have heard that chronic dehydration makes you look older, and this is one of the ways that lack of water will age you.
When you don’t have enough water in your system, your skin doesn’t spring back like it should.
You’ll look wrinkled, haggard, and older.
9: Sunken Eyes
The sensitive tissue around your eyes looks sunken and loose when you’re not drinking enough.
Those bags under your eyes might not be caused by lack of sleep after all.
Most people reach for a pain reliever when they feel a headache coming on, but you’re probably better off reaching for a glass of water.
Headaches, especially chronic headaches, are often related to dehydration.
11: Mental Fogginess and Confusion
Do you ever have days when you just can’t seem to focus?
Caffeine is the remedy of choice for people who feel foggy, but caffeine isn’t going to help hydrate you.
Overcome that slow, foggy feeling forever by drinking enough water throughout the day.
12: Dry Eyes
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
When there’s not enough fluid in your body, your natural body fluids are less plentiful.
You might assume that dry, itchy eyes are an allergy symptom, but it’s possible they’re trying to tell you something else.
13: Decreased Sweat
Sweat is a natural, healthy, and necessary process for your body.
If ever you notice that you’re not sweating, even during exercise, stop and drink water immediately.
Reduced sweat due to dehydration increases your risk of overheating.
The part of your brain that signals thirst also signals hunger, and since a healthy body shouldn’t actually feel thirsty, the two sensations are often confused.
Before you grab a snack, down a glass or two of water and wait 15 minutes.
If you’re still hungry after that, go ahead and eat.
15: Cravings for Sweets
This is a little technical, but when your body isn’t well hydrated, your liver has trouble producing and distributing a substance called glycogen throughout your bloodstream.
As glycogen in your blood drops, your brain triggers cravings for sugar to cause it to spike.
The thing is, you probably don’t need more glycogen.
You just need more water to help it distribute correctly in your body.
16: Stubborn Weight Gain
Dehydration stalls your weight loss and causes your body to hold onto fat.
Without getting into the science of it:
A dehydrated body has trouble burning fat, and the tendency to snack and feel hungry all the time contributes to unhealthy snacking.
For many people, just increasing water intake sparks weight loss.
17: Muscle Cramps
There are some conflicting opinions about this, but there seems to be a link between dehydration and muscle cramps.
In general, your body doesn’t function well when you don’t drink enough water, and that can cause aches and pains.
18: Fever Symptoms
Because hydration is so important in regulating body temperature, moderate to severe dehydration can cause a spike in body temperature.
That fever gives you aches, chills, and other uncomfortable fever symptoms.
19: Frequent Illnesses
Your immune system works in balance with the rest of your body.
Throw that balance off, and you’re likely to suffer from every cold, stomach bug, and illness that gets passed around each season.
Rather than being the person that gets sick every flu season, try increasing your water consumption to give your immune system the support it needs.