Dehydration is simply the loss of water and salts from your body. Our body is made up of approximately 70% water. Fluids play a vital role in majority of our bodily functions – protecting our joints, transporting oxygen to cells, maintaining body temperature and organ function. When you are dehydrated, you do not have enough body fluids for your body to carry out these normal functions easily. So, on a hot day, if proper care is not taken your body can become dehydrated quickly. In some cases, severe dehydration can be a serious problem, leading to collapse and even death.
Some common causes of dehydration in summer are
- being outside in very hot conditions
- not drinking enough before, during or after strenuous exercise or hard work on a hot day
- heavy perspiration and not replacing the lost water by drinking regularly
- vomiting and diarrhoea
Who is at risk of dehydration?
Anyone can become dehydrated, although some people can become more dehydrated than others
- Little children and babies – Children are often unable to tell if they are thirsty, nor can they get a drink for themselves. The younger the child the higher the chance of them getting dehydrated.
- Older adults – as we age, our body shrinks and with it, its capacity to hold fluids becomes smaller. Therefore, the sense of thirst becomes unreliable.
- People who work, travel for work and exercise outdoors – When it’s hot and humid, the risk of dehydration and heat illness increases. When the air is humid, sweat can’t evaporate and cool you as quickly as it normally does, and this can lead to an increased body temperature and the need for more fluids.
How can you identify if you are dehydrated?
Some common symptoms of dehydration are but not limited to
- Dry mouth, and sticky tongue
- Fatigue, feeling very tired and headache
- Feeling light-headed and dizzy
- Urine appears dark yellow
- Skin loses elasticity and is dry
How to prevent Dehydration?
To prevent dehydration, make sure you drink enough fluids. Thirst is a good guide to when fluids need to be replaced and water is generally the best choice. However, we have some cool tips for you using Zealandia Manuka Honey right at the end of the blog.
What to avoid?
- high-sugar, high-calorie drinks like fizzy drinks
- Be cautious of sports drinks as they often contain a lot of sugar and additives.
- Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages as these can make dehydration worse, as they increase urine output.
How much water to drink?
Every person is unique, and so are their water needs. How much water to drink, depends on many factors such as one’s lifestyle, health status, how active one is and where they live. General rule of thumb is 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. This is a good guide, but a better recommendation would be to use the colour of the urine to guide as to how much water should one be drinking. A light-coloured urine is an indication that you are well hydrated, however if the urine is towards darker yellow, it is likely that the water consumed is not enough.
Plain water is boring!
Drinking plain water may not be that motivating. Here are some cool recipe ideas from our team using Zealandia Manuka Honey to make water intake inspiring for yourself and for your little people! Zealandia Manuka honey when you mix it up with water and drink it, it helps with improving the gut bacteria and intestinal lining, and helps relieve any diarrhoea and stomach ache.
What you need
- Your choice of Zealandia Manuka Honey – 5 tablespoons
- 1-2 litres of water (glass jug is always better as it retains better flavour)
- Summer fruit of your choice like berries, pomegranate arils, watermelon, lemons, limes, oranges, pears, apples
- Vegetables like cucumber, gingerroot are pretty good too
- Fresh herbs like mint, rosemary to add flavour and fragrance
- Spices (optional) turmeric, cinnamon, cloves or star anise to add flavour and fragrance also
Here are our top suggested combinations with Zealandia Manuka Honey
- Cucumber + lime + strawberry + mint
- Lemon + raspberry + rosemary
- Lime + ginger root + basil
- Orange + cinnamon
- Mixed berries + mint
- Lemon + orange + rosemary
We recommend you choose organic fruits and vegetables for a better taste. Filtered cold water is better than hot water as heat will compromise the micro-nutrients in Manuka honey and in the fresh produce.
Soft fruits like citrus, strawberries, melons, are suited better for quick infusions and easy to crush using the back of your spoon. Cucumbers, pears and apples, take longer to infuse, cutting them into very thin slices helps. Stir in the herbs and spices and leave it at room temperature for a bit before popping the jug into the fridge.
If you want to jazz it up a bit, replace water with some plain soda. If you are game enough, try cucumber with mint and a hint of jalapeno or red chili! Combine these ingredients in a water jug and keep chilled, ready for you to drink as needed or simply carry it in your drink bottle.
For the little humans in your life, you could pour the flavoured water into ice block moulds and make them into popsicles for them to suck on. You could also add pieces of fruit into the moulds to add some fibre into their popsicles.