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Dehydration and Drinking at Meals

By Allen Li

Everyone has felt thirsty at some point, and usually that is the signal to go get a bottle of water or drink from a water fountain. However, this signal sent by the brain is actually a sign that the body is mildly dehydrated. Depending on the deficit of fluids, dehydration can be mild, moderate, or extreme. After long periods of time without a healthy level of fluids, the body will start to become less functional.

           Dehydration has many causes, and the reasons that people may be dehydrated vary from person to person. An unbalanced diet can cause diarrhea, resulting in dehydration due to the large volume of fluids exiting the body. Diabetes and diuretic pills can cause a person to urinate more often, which will also cause dehydration if not careful. Finally, if you are an avid athlete, excessive sweating can also be cause of dehydration, so water should always be at hand during a workout.

           The people who are most at risk for dehydration are athletes, babies, and the elderly. However, there are many ways of prevention that should be taken note of. Athletes should always exercise outside when the temperature is cooler when possible. When the body loses fluids, it also loses electrolytes. These can get replenished by sport drinks or gels. A good habit to get into is to drink an hour before exercising, drink every fifteen minutes of exercising, and drink after exercising. Dehydration is a common symptom in babies as well, especially on a warm day. Make sure that they get good amounts of fruits and vegetables every day, because they contain high amounts of water. Elderly are also prone to dehydration because their bodies store less water than those younger than them. They need to make sure to have water near or with them at all times, especially if their movement is less efficient than normal. Also, drinking throughout the day even without feeling thirsty is important to keep a reserve of water in the body. Finally, eating balanced meals should also assist in prevention of dehydration.

           Some people are under the impression that drinking water during meals is unhealthy. Under most circumstances, this is not true. Drinking before starting the meal can lessen the urge to overeat during the meal, and may be an important habit to get into when dieting. Water is also an important lubricant of the stomach and intestinal tract, which helps in the digestive processes. Water is also an important source of fluoride that is healthy to keeping strong teeth. Just make sure that when eating cold and oily food to drink water more slowly, or else there may be discomfort in the stomach due to the clashing oil and water.

            While dehydration may not be a deadly disease that everyone is worried about, learning to drink more water every day is important to leading a healthier lifestyle.


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