Wooo-weee! The summer heat is kicking into high gear, and as always, beating the heat is a top priority! If you happen to find yourself in a desert, you may even experience hallucinations of the sacred liquid that brings life to everything on Earth. What we're saying is, no matter what, drink plenty of water!
Now, while water is important, the truth is that most of us won't be in a desert setting where water is so scarce. In this case, we are really thinking more about eating foods that won't get rid of the water we already have in our bodies. Dehydration, which occurs when we don't have enough water inside, can occur from many things like heat or overexertion. But many people don't realize that it's quite possible for the very foods we think are nourishing our bodies as being responsible for the dehydration in the first place. And the main culprits? Sugar and salt.
Why Does Sugar Dehydrate You?
Increased sugar intake will cause your body to transfer water out of the cells and increases urination. This, in turn, dehydrates you. High sugar levels also cause your kidneys to work overtime; when the kidneys can’t keep up with the demand to filter the sugar, the excess is eliminated in your urine and pulls your body's fluid along with it.
Why Does Salt Dehydrate You?
Similar to sugar, salt pulls water out of the cells. And again, the kidneys are working to keep your body in balance but when they cannot keep up with the demand they are forced to eliminate more water to take the salt along with it.
Dehydrating Foods and Drinks
Dehydration is a very scary thing, but in most cases, can be prevented with ample water intake and the diligence to stay away from sneaky foods that contain a lot of salt and sugar. The following are common foods and drinks that cause a diuretic effect, meaning they increase the release of water from our bodies.
- Full sugar and diet sodas actually pull water from your tissues.
- Soda with caffeine will act as a diuretic and increase the frequency of urination.
- That delicious, iced coffee has diuretic effects, causing you to urinate more and lose fluid.
- Can potentially promote dehydration due to the sugar content.
- The high level of carbohydrates can actually make you feel sick to your stomach and worsen the feeling of dehydration.
- The super trendy coconut water is misleading in its superior ability to hydrate the body. Experts say that despite bold claims, water is sufficient.
- Like with caffeine before, coffee has a diuretic effect. It will also work to prevent sodium reabsorption which is necessary to pull water into your tissues.
- Another trendy beverage on social media for its touted benefits of flattening your belly, many detox teas actually work as a laxative which will in turn cause you to lose more water.
- A summertime mojito or margarita may sound delightful, but alcohol promotes dehydration by pulling water from your body.
Note: We know that drinking can be a fun social activity; make sure to mix in plenty of water throughout the night.
- The amino acid asparagine found in asparagus will cause your pee to smell strange and also causes more frequent urination.
- While chorizo might be great on your charcuterie board, they are loaded with salt and sugar that will sap your water supply.
- Between the salty fried potatoes and the sugary ketchup condiments, you’ll be tempted to wash it all down with a sugary soda which can cause big problems for hydration.
Other Snacks to Avoid
Popcorn, Chips, Pretzels, Salted Nuts
- All are high in sodium which will draw the water out of your cells.
- Quick and easy but usually high in sugar and salt.
- Another culprit that sounds healthy but may produce a laxative effect and cause diarrhea, leading to dehydration.
Healthy Snacks To Eat When Dehydrated
Cucumbers, celery, and zucchini are packed with water so they'll help to provide nutrients while being relatively low in salt and sugar. Watermelon is made primarily of water and contains lycopene which can even help protect your cells from sun damage. And lastly, iceberg lettuce — we typically turn towards romaine, kale, and spinach for a healthy salad option, but iceberg lettuce is actually packed with 95% water. And if iceberg lettuce isn't your thing, spinach is 91% water by weight.
Most importantly, if you haven't noticed the theme yet — DRINK MORE WATER!