Are you REALLY drinking enough water? Staying hydrated is always important, and it's especially vital as the weather heats up and you find yourself outside in the sun more.
In addition to feeling thirsty (which can mean you are already dehydrated), there are other health and body signs that can indicate you are either dehydrated or experiencing mild dehydration (which occurs when you lose just 1 to 2 percent of your body's water). HuffPo's health experts share surprising signs you are not getting enough water
Smelly breath or dry mouth - These issues are not always linked to dehydration, but when we do not have enough water in the body, less saliva is produced and food is not properly rinsed from the mouth, and bacteria can grow and lead to bad breath. Also, frequent dry mouth or if your mouth feels constantly sticky or parched could be a sign you need more water,
Muscle spasms or cramps - The experts believe muscle cramping and pain are linked to dehydration and electrolyte depletion. When the body is low on sodium and potassium, our pH levels and nervous system functioning can be affected.
Headaches and migraines - This is a classic sign of not drinking enough water and the experts believe when we are dehydrated, brain tissue temporarily shrinks and causes pain in the form of a headache.
Dark urine - The color of your urine is an easy way to check if you are drinking enough water. Pale yellow is a sign you are properly hydrated and the darker the urine is the more dehydrated you likely are. *Medications and certain foods can also affect the color of your urine.
Unexplained flu-like symptoms - Is it a case of a summer flu or are you just dehydrated? Symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, fever, and chills can all be linked to dehydration.
Hunger - The experts note if you feel hungry soon after eating this could be a sign you're not getting enough fluids and stress it is easy to confuse hunger and thirst. Next time you are feeling hungry -- before you eat more -- consider drinking more water.
Feeling tired - Getting adequate water in your body throughout the day helps keep your body moving (along with delivering nutrients to cells and helping your organs function) while also maintaining energy levels.
So how much water do you need to drink in a day?
The Doctors previously noted that while 8 glasses of water during the day is what you have likely heard, it depends on many factors like age (older people need less water, your diet (consuming diets high in protein, sodium, and fiber require more water), the climate you live in, and the medications you take (which may affect the amount of water you need).
In her book, "Simply Real Eating" Sarah Adler writes in order to find out how much water you should be drinking, divide your weight in pounds in half and this will give you the approximate number of ounces of water you need to drink in a day. She also suggests divvying up your water intake throughout the day and suggest something like:
- 16 ounces of water before breakfast
- 16 to 23 ounces before lunch
- 32 to 40 ounces before dinner
Also, remember you can "eat your water" with foods like berries, melons, citrus, vegetables like cucumbers, zucchini, celery, and lettuce, and greens. Also, try adding fruit to water or use frozen fruit chunks instead of ice cubes. Additionally, foods like soups, stews, chili, broth, smoothies, and popsicles -- aim for low-sugar and low-sodium options -- can help boost hydration.
Another pro-tip from the water experts - for every cup of coffee or alcoholic beverage you drink, follow it with a cup of water to avoid dehydration.