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Dehydration and Metabolic Health: A Relation- HealthifyMe

Over half of our body weight accounts for water. About 50- 60 percent of body weight accounts for water in women while for men it’s 60-65 percent. Dehydration occurs when the body doesn’t have as much water as it requires. Without enough water, the body can not function properly, which causes problems in our daily activities. Depending on how much fluid is in deficit in your body, you can suffer from mild, moderate, or severe dehydration. 

Dehydration can occur in anyone’s body, but it is particularly hazardous for children and older adults. The most common causes of dehydration in young children are diarrhoea and vomiting. Older adults naturally have a low volume of water in their bodies. In addition, they may have conditions due to medications that can increase the risk of dehydration. Thus, even minor illnesses such as lung or bladder infections can cause dehydration.

Metabolism refers to the chemical process by which the body converts the food you eat and drink into energy by breaking down the food into small particles. During this complex process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to be released as energy for the proper functioning of your body, from moving to thinking to growing. 

Thus, we can say that drinking less water can spike one’s blood glucose levels. HealthifyPRO 2.0 helps you track your hydration levels. Also, the wearable device BIOS sends the user’s real-time blood glucose levels to the coach. Body hydration levels play an essential role in keeping one’s weight in control. However, it is usual to get confused between hunger and thirst cues. Therefore, whenever the blood glucose levels are higher than normal, it is an excellent practice to hydrate yourself with water, coconut water, or herbal teas and limit your food intake. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Hydrating yourself is vital for a healthy metabolism. It prevents several diseases and keeps you fit. Therefore, eating foods with high water content is always beneficial. You can also improve your metabolism by having a balanced diet, having protein-rich foods, and replacing carbs with lean and low-fat dairy products. Some protein-rich foods are fish, white meat, chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, egg, etc. 

Symptoms of Dehydration

The symptoms of dehydration depend on your age:

Infant or young child

  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • No tears when crying
  • No wet diapers for three hours or more
  • Sunken eyes and cheeks
  • Sunken soft spot on the skull
  • Restlessness or irritability

Adults

  • Extreme thirst
  • Less frequent urination
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Ongoing fatigue: If you have a slow metabolism, your body will burn energy slowly, and you may feel tired all the time, even after a good sleep.
  • Continuous headache: A slow metabolism can cause regular headaches or severe migraines as the thyroid glands are not active enough. 
  • Weight gain: Hypothyroidism leads to a slow metabolism. You can experience weight gain even if you exercise regularly and stick to a healthy diet. 
  • Constipation: Due to a slow metabolic rate, our body requires time to process food. As a result, this results in constipation.
  • Depression: As slow metabolism affects your gut, poor gut health impacts your mind and mood. Therefore, it can lead to depression.
  • Thin hair, brittle nails, and dry skin: People with a slow metabolism also have low thyroid hormone levels. Low thyroid levels cause issues related to skin, hair, and nail. 

Benefits of Being Hydrated

Improved brain performance

Even mild dehydration affects memory, mood, concentration, and reaction time. Adding just a few glasses of water to your daily intake can stabilise your emotions and even combat feelings of anxiety. 

Digestive harmony

Your body needs water, which helps break down the fibre and keep your digestive tract proper. Without enough water, you may experience irregular bowel movements, gas, bloating, heartburn, and other discomforts that can impact your daily activities.

More energy

Dehydration slows down circulation and affects the flow of oxygen to the brain. In addition, due to a lack of fluids, the heart has to work harder to pump oxygen throughout its body. Also, this makes you feel tired, sluggish, and less focused.

Weight loss/management 

Drinking a lot of water boosts your metabolism, which helps in weight loss. In addition, water helps break down fibre, facilitating digestive functions and improving bowel movement. For example, suppose you drink glasses of water before each meal. In that case, it will substantially reduce body weight, body mass index, and body composition. That is because water will reduce your appetite, enhance the calorie-burning process, suppress your appetite, boost your metabolism, and make exercise easier and more efficient, contributing to results on the scale.

Decreased joint pain

The cartilages in our joints are 80% water. Thus staying hydrated helps the joints remain well-lubricated, which helps reduce friction. This results in smooth movement of joints and fewer aches and pains.

Kidney stone prevention

Water dilutes the concentration of minerals in your urinary tract and even helps flush out harmful bacteria from your bladder, thus preventing the accumulation of kidney stones.  

Healthier heart

Dehydration can cause an imbalance of vital minerals like potassium and sodium, which are crucial to your heart health. In addition, due to dehydration, electrolyte level is also decreased, negatively affecting your heart health.

Improved detoxification

Proper intake of water supports your body’s natural detoxification systems. Therefore, removing waste and harmful substances through urination, breathing, perspiration, and bowel movements.

Fewer headaches 

Dehydration causes the brain to contract away from the skull, which leads to headaches and migraines in some individuals. However, being well-hydrated may help in keeping head pain away.

5 Water-Rich Foods That Help You Stay Hydrated

Watermelon

As per USDA,  per 100 grams of serving, watermelon contains: 

  • Water: 91.4 g
  • Calories: 30 kcal
  • Protein: 0.61 g
  • Carbohydrate: 7.55 g
  • Fibre: 0.4 g
  • Magnesium: 10 mg
  • Vitamin C: 8.1 mg
  • Vitamin A: 28 ug

Due to high water content, watermelons have a very low-calorie density. Studies say that foods with low-calorie density are helpful for weight loss by promoting fullness and reducing appetite. Furthermore, watermelon is a rich source of antioxidants, such as lycopene. This compound helps reduce oxidative damage to cells, which is the root cause of ailments such as heart disease and diabetes.

Strawberries

As per USDA, per 100 grams of serving contains:

  • Water: 91 g
  • Calories: 32 kcal
  • Protein: 0.67 g
  • Carbohydrate: 7.68 g
  • Fibre: 2 g
  • Magnesium: 13 mg
  • Calcium: 16 mg
  • Manganese: 0.368 mg
  • Vitamin C: 58.8 mg
  • Folate: 27 ug

Strawberries provide lots of fibre and are a rich source of disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate and manganese. 

According to studies, including strawberries in your daily diet has been shown to reduce inflammation and help in protecting against heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and various types of cancer.

You can include strawberries in your diet by blending them into smoothies or adding them into salads.

Cucumber

As per USDA, per 100 grams of serving contains:

  • Water: 95.2 g
  • Calories: 15 kcal
  • Protein: 0.65 g
  • Carbohydrate: 3.63 g
  • Fibre: 0.5 g
  • Magnesium: 13 mg
  • Calcium: 16 mg
  • Manganese: 0.368 mg
  • Potassium: 147 mg
  • Folate: 7 ug
  • Vitamin C: 2.8 mg

Cucumbers are the lowest in calories compared to other water-rich vegetables, and the high water content makes them refreshing.

According to a  study, you can have a large portion of cucumbers without adding a significant number of calories to your diet, which is also helpful in maintaining weight. You can add cucumbers to your diet by adding them to salads and sandwiches.

Celery

As per USDA, per 100 grams of serving contains:

  • Water: 95.4 g
  • Calories: 14 kcal
  • Protein: 0.69 g
  • Carbohydrate: 2.97 g
  • Fibre: 1.6 g
  • Magnesium: 11 mg
  • Calcium: 40 mg
  • Potassium: 260 mg
  • Manganese: 0.103 mg
  • Vitamin C: 3.1 mg
  • Vitamin A: 22 ug
  • Vitamin K: 29.3 ug
  • Folate: 36 ug

Celery may be a beneficial weight-loss food because of its high water content and low calories. In addition, celery contains fibre and many essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, vitamin K and potassium, which are beneficial for our health.

According to studies, vitamin K and potassium protect against heart disease, cancer, and bone-related diseases like osteoporosis.

It’s pretty simple to add celery into your diet, as you can eat it in any form, either raw or cooked. Also, you can add it to soups and salads or eat celery sticks with healthy dips such as hummus or Greek yoghurt.

Tomatoes

As per USDA, per 100 grams of serving contains:

  • Water: 94.5 g
  • Calories: 18 kcal
  • Protein: 0.88 g
  • Carbohydrate: 3.89 g
  • Fibre: 1.2 g
  • Magnesium: 11 mg
  • Calcium: 10 mg
  • Potassium: 260 mg
  • Vitamin C: 13.7 mg
  • Vitamin A: 42 ug
  • Vitamin K: 7.9 ug
  • Folate: 15 ug

The high amount of water in tomatoes contributes to their low-calorie content. Tomatoes have a rich nutritional profile and provide many health benefits such as maintaining a good heart and boosting immunity. They are also high in fibre and contain disease-fighting antioxidants, such as lycopene.

According to a study, lycopene helps lower the risk of heart disease and prevent prostate cancer development. You can include tomatoes in your diet by making soups, sauces, salad, salsa and several other dishes. 

During Cycling

According to a study, cycling in a dehydrated state can impact the body’s neuromuscular and metabolic functions. It also demonstrates that cycling in a dehydrated state decreases the athlete’s physical performance. It increases the heart rate, reduces blood volume, decreases skin blood flow and increases the rate of muscle glycogen. 

During Pregnancy

Studies demonstrate that nutrition and maternal behaviour are affected by dehydration. Therefore, during pregnancy, you must consume enough water as it is necessary to regulate metabolism and may influence foetal growth. Also, to sustain the balance of amniotic fluid, it is vital to maintain foetal well-being. 

During Early Age

Dehydration affects metabolism in different ways when we are young. According to a study, dehydration occurs in young children due to higher metabolic rates, inability to communicate their needs or hydrate themselves, and increased insensible losses. Dehydration can disrupt the digestion process which affects the absorption of nutrients by the body. Less absorption of nutrients at an early age leads to various diseases and health problems.

Advancement in Age

Dehydration can slow down the metabolism as you grow older. This leads to problems like constipation, bloating, acidity and many more. In addition, studies say that the effect on daily water intake in older adults leads to slow energy and improper body functioning. Dehydration also affects the absorption of nutrients. As a result, it diminishes energy and capacity to execute everyday duties.

Dehydration and Glucose Levels

Dehydration decreases insulin-induced glucose uptake, leading to high blood glucose levels. When you do not drink enough water, the glucose in your blood becomes more concentrated, leading to a spike in blood sugar levels.

Dehydration and Weight Loss

Water is essential for the lipolysis process (breaking down lipids in the fatty tissue) at a cellular level. When you are dehydrated, it negatively affects the process. Dehydration also restricts metabolic flexibility.

Hypohydration (low water intake) can also lead to increased body weight. In addition, dehydration decreases your metabolic flexibility (how well you utilise lipids and carbohydrates) which leads to weight gain. Hence, most fitness experts highlight the importance of hydration for weight loss.

Conclusion

Dehydration can be the primary cause of various diseases that you struggle with. It impairs the body’s ability to create and burn energy. Furthermore, it also affects glucose transportation across cell membranes and reduces insulin sensitivity. Adequate water consumption also benefits your kidneys as it helps remove toxins from your body. In addition, it also aids weight loss by reducing hunger and improving the breakdown of fats and other lipids to generate energy. Hence, cellular hydration is vital for the body’s optimal functioning. So, hydrate yourself with fruits and vegetables that contain enough water. You should also drink ample water, coconut water, and other hydrating beverages.

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