We all know that the human body is mostly composed of water and that we need to consume a certain amount in order to survive. Your muscles and kidneys are composed of 73% water; your blood is composed of 83% water; your lungs are 90% water and your brain is comprised of 76% water. We lose water when we breathe and daily through urine and sweat, so replenishment is important.
Much of us have been told to drink between 6-8 glasses of water a day. Normally, men should drink 3 liters (12 cups) daily and women should drink 2.2 liters (9 cups) per day for optimal hydration. Failing to consume the recommended amount can cause mild dehydration manifesting in numerous symptoms.
10 Signs You’re Not Consuming Enough Water
#1. Your Urine Is Dark Yellow
This is usually the first indication that you are not drinking enough water. Normally, urine should be a light yellow-amber color. When a person does not consume enough water, the kidneys excrete a “higher concentration of waste products in the urine, including dead blood cells, contaminants, proteins and other products that need to be eliminated from the body”, leading to darker urine.
You may also notice darker urine after taking certain medications, B-Vitamins, beets, blackberries, asparagus or food coloring. If you notice a short-term change in urine color, first consider if you have consumed something that would change the color of your urine. Next, increase your water consumption and observe if your urine color becomes lighter. If your urine remains dark for a prolonged period of time, it could be an indication of more severe health issues such as hepatitis or gallstones.
#2. Your Urine Output Is Reduced
Most people urinate between 6-7 times within a 24-hour period. When you do not drink enough water, there is less fluid available to replace the fluids being excreted from the body. The kidneys try to retain as much fluid as possible to prevent dehydration. If you urinate less than 6 times a day, think of your water intake and boost if required.
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of constipation, and constipation can often be fixed by increasing water intake. If you are not fully hydrated, your body will try to absorb water from any place it can, including your colon. A sufficient amount of water in the large intestine is essential for soft, easy-to-pass stools. Naturally, a lack of water will lead to harder stools that are tough to pass.
To prevent or treat constipation, make sure you are drinking proper amounts of water as well as increase the fiber found in fruit and vegetables. Constipation can also be the outcome of physical inactivity, hypothyroidism, intestinal inflammation and dysbiosis, food sensitivities and stress. If you are drinking enough water, consider other reasons for constipation.
#4. Your skin is dry and wrinkles are more defined
Most women depend on expensive moisturizers to keep their body soft and smooth. Some pay high prices for treatments to reduce and get rid of fine lines and wrinkles. Before spending money, increase your water consumption. According to Dr. Diana Howard, dehydration can lead to irritated, inflamed, itching and sensitive skin. In extreme cases, skin can flake and scale or become severely red with fractures and bleeds. Simultaneously, when your skin loses moisture, the cells shrivel, causing wrinkles to appear more defined and making the skin look older. The best way to revitalize your skin is to nurture it with water.
#5. Hunger And Weight Gain
The body is so intrinsically smart but has a glitch– it does not know the difference between hunger and thirst. The hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for regulating hunger and thirst, often gets confused, causing hunger pangs in response to thirst. Reaching for a snack instead of a glass of water results in excess caloric intake and weight gain.
If you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, make sure you are drinking proper amounts of water. If you feel starving, grab a glass of water before going for a snack and wait 10-15 minutes to see if the hunger has passed or if it’s still present. If you are still feeling hungry then it is true hunger and time for you to eat.
#6. Thirst And Dry Mouth
Believe it or not, feeling thirsty for water is a sign that you are already a little dehydrated. A dry mouth often occurs with thirst and represents that the mucus membranes in the body need hydration. The only way to fix thirst and a dry mouth is to drink water during the day.
When you do not drink enough water, your body will try to preserve and reabsorb water from all your tissues to make up for the lack of fluid intake. Consequently, your brain tissue loses a few of its moisture and shrinks, pulling away from the skull. Pain receptors are triggered resulting in a headache. All at once, when you don’t drink enough water, blood volume drops, reducing the amount of oxygen being carried to the brain. Blood vessels in the brain dilate in response causing swelling and inflammation, intensifying the headache.
According to a 2011 study, mild dehydration can cause tiredness, fatigue and low energy. When you’re dehydrated and the blood volume decrease, the heart needs to work harder to push oxygen and nutrients through the body. Next time you start to feel worn out, skip the coffee (which is dehydrating!) and drink a glass of water rather. Coffee, tea, soda and sports drinks are not alternatives to water.
#9. Joint Pain
Water functions as a lubricant to the joints, enabling two bones to move over each other as the joint moves. When the body doesn’t get enough water, the joint becomes nutrient deficient leading to damage of the cartilage cells. If you are chronically dehydrated, your cells will ultimately reach a tipping point and the cartilage will degenerate beyond repair. If you suffer from joint pain, be careful of your water consumption and increase if necessary.
#10. Weak Immune System
Dehydration increases the concentration of contaminants in the blood, which can weaken the immune system. Optimum hydration is important in helping in the elimination of any disease by-products and helps the immune system fend off infection.