Shocking Effects of Dehydration - Tips to Up Your Water Game!

Medically reviewed by June 17, 2024| Written by

Shocking Effects of Dehydration - Tips to Up Your Water Game!

Your body loses water through several biological processes, such as respiration, sweating, and urination. You must drink a certain amount of water daily to compensate for this loss and help your body function actively.

Dehydration occurs when you don’t drink enough to compensate for the loss. Dehydration can also result inelectrolyte imbalance. Initially, it causes dizziness, dry mouth, headache, and increased thirst. You can reverse this by simply increasing your water intake. 

However, dehydration can be more severe and may even result inlife-threatening complications. So, severe dehydration is a medical emergency and the individual suffering from it requires immediate medical attention. 

But did you know you can avoid all that by following a few hydration tips and making the right lifestyle choices?

What Causes Dehydration?

Dehydration usually occurs when people don’t drink enough water while working long hours or performing stressful physical activities. However, fluid loss from the body isn't drastic in most of these cases. You can manage the condition by just satisfying your thirst.

However, certain medical conditions can increase water loss from the body, resulting in severe dehydration. These include:

  • Diarrhea is a condition in which your body makes watery stool. This causes plenty of water and electrolyte loss, increasing the risk of dehydration. Diarrhea is a common cause of dehydration in children.
  • Vomitingis when the stomach and upper digestive tract contents are discharged through the mouth. This discharge of content also involves theloss of water. Repeated vomiting due to some health conditions can cause dehydration.
  • Feverincreases the body’s temperature, which causes an increased rate of sweating, evaporation, and respiration. This can lead to dehydration. 
  • Diabetes means a person has excess glucose in the blood. To maintain homeostasis, the kidneys filter the glucose from the blood and excrete the extra glucose through urine. High blood glucose leads to frequent urination, thus causing more water loss from the body.
  • Kidney Diseases:A healthy kidney works to prevent excess water loss from the body byseveral mechanisms. However, a diseased kidney may fail to maintain water levels due to its diminished functioning.Polyuria is a common symptom of kidney problems, in which there is frequent urination and a risk of dehydration. 

How Much Water Should I Drink?

The amount of water you need to drink daily to support the body's normal functioning varies with age and some other factors.Experts recommend the daily water intake of about:

  • 3.7 liters — 15.5 cups for an adult men
  • 2.7 liters — 11.5 cups for an adult women

Remember that these values include the amount of water you get from food and other beverages. Studies show that a person, on average, gets20% of their daily water from food.

Besides the recommended levels, how much water you need depends on certain factors including:

  • The temperature and the environment you are living in
  • Your physical activity
  • Your health
  • If you are a pregnant mother or breastfeeding

What are Some Warning Signs of Dehydration?

Warning signs of dehydration in adults include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Sunken eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Dark urine

In adults, increased thirst is the first sign of dehydration that indicates you need to drink water. However, you have to look for the signs of dehydration in infants and young children as they can’t directly respond to thirst.

Warning signs of dehydration in infants and young children are the following:

  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • No wet diapers for three hours in case of infants and 8 hours for toddlers
  • Few or no tears when they cry
  • Sunken eyes
  • Sunken fontanelle — a soft spot on the head of babies
  • Rapid breathing
  • Irritability

What is the Fastest Way to Cure Dehydration?

The fastest way to cure dehydration is by drinking plenty of fluids, mostly water. Dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting also causes electrolyte imbalance, so it is also important to compensate for the electrolyte loss.

Oral rehydration solutions, or ORS, help manage electrolyte imbalance in people with severe diarrhea and vomiting. These solutions are mixed with water and consumed orally.

If they can’t drink water or ORS due to frequent vomiting,IV hydration therapy is an effective option. It involves injecting fluids directly into their bloodstream.

Tips on Drinking More Water

Here are some effective tips that you can follow to up your water game:

1. Understand Your Water Requirements

Understanding your water requirements makes you more responsible for your daily water intake. You must know how much water your body requires daily and how water is essential for normal body functioning. You must also know about the possible health complications of dehydration. 

Once you are well-informed about your water needs, following the hydration tips will be easy.

2. Make it Your Habit

Promise yourself that you will have a glass of water soon after waking up, watching TV, or sitting on the lawn reading the newspaper. Integrate water consumption into your daily activities to make it a habit. By making it a habit, you won’t have to remind yourself that you need to consume water repeatedly.

3. Set Yourself a Goal

Set a goal to drink a certain amount of water every 2 to 3 hours or each day. For example, set a goal to drink a glass of water every 2 hours or to drink 10 glasses of water each day. This will help you keep track of your water consumption and give you a sense of achievement when you meet your goal.

4. Keep a Water Bottle with You

Buy a water bottle that you can carry around easily. Having a water bottle always around you will remind you to consume water. It also helps increase water intake by making the process more convenient. 

You won’t have to walk to the dispenser every time you want to drink water. With the bottle, you will have easy access to the water whenever you desire to drink it.

5. Add Flavor to the Water

Not everyone loves consuming too much plain water. If you are among those, you can add flavors to your water to make it enjoyable. A healthy flavor choice is to add vegetables and fruits such as cucumber, lemon, lime, oranges, watermelon, and raspberries to the water.

What Foods to Avoid to Prevent Dehydration?

Have you ever noticed that you feel thirsty after eating certain foods? This is because the ingredients and nature of certain foods tend to increase water loss from the body and cause symptoms of dehydration, such as thirst.

Some foods to avoid to prevent dehydration include:

1. Coffee

Dehydration causes symptoms like headache, dizziness, and lack of concentration. When experiencing these symptoms, many people consider drinking coffee, as it haspsychoactive properties that influence how the brain works. 

However, coffee is a diuretic — a substance that causes frequent urination.Studiesshow that consuming 5 or more cups of coffee a day can cause dehydration. 

2. Alcohol

Do you wonder how alcohol causes dehydration while it is itself fluid? Alcohol has diuretic properties, and it can cause frequent urination if consumed in large quantities. 

Continuous water loss in the urine causes electrolyte imbalance and symptoms of dehydration.Studies show that the dehydrating effect of alcohol is high when you take it on an empty stomach. 

3. High Sodium Foods

Foods high in sodium, such as bread, sandwiches, bacon, tacos, and canned soups, and many processed foods, can cause dehydration. If you eat a diet high in sodium but don’t consume adequate water, the sodium will draw water from the cells, leaving them dehydrated. This condition is commonly calledhypernatremia

4. Ultra Processed Foods

Some commonultra-processed foods you probably consume daily include bakery goods, breakfast cereals, instant snacks, and processed meat. 

We know that ultra-processed foods are pleasant to our taste buds, but that’s the only good thing about these food choices. Ultra-processed foods are oftenhigh in sodium and are verylow in water content

Both of these factors increase the body's water requirements, and if you don’t properly hydrate yourself when eating ultra-processed foods, you can increase your risk of suffering from dehydration.

5. Sugary Foods

Sugary foods are rich inprocessed sugar, which causes a spike in blood glucose levels even in non-diabetic persons. The body responds to high blood glucose by drawing water into the blood from surrounding cells. Kidneys also filter more sugar from the blood and excrete it into the urine, causing frequent urination and water loss. 

What Foods to Eat to Reduce Dehydration?

Drinking plenty of water should be the first step in managing dehydration. But besides drinking, you can also meet your water requirements by eating water-rich foods. Plant-based foods, such as vegetables and fruits, are high in water and excellent for reducing dehydration.

Some water-rich plant-based foods include:

1. Cucumbers

Cucumbers contain95% of water and are very low in calories. You can eat plenty of them to hydrate without worrying about calorie count. 

2. Lettuce

Lettuce is96% water and has a good portion of fiber, making it a healthy and low-calorie hydrating food. It also contains beneficial nutrients such as vitamin K and folate.

3. Celery

Cerely has a95% water content by weight and is packed with healthy nutrients, including fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and folate. 

4. Zucchini

Remember to add zucchini to your grocery list if you want hydrating food. It is94% water by weight, and along with its hydrating qualities, zucchini is rich in vitamin C and has antioxidant properties.

5. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are94% water by weight and can be an excellent hydrating food as a part of your meal. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals, benefiting your body besides hydrating.

6. Watermelon

Watermelon is a great fruit choice against dehydration on scorching summer days as it contains92% water by weight. Its antioxidant properties are also worth mentioning.

7. Strawberries

Those glowing red strawberries in your refrigerator can be your best buddies in the fight against dehydration. Strawberries have a water content of91% and are also rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidant properties.


  • How do you hydrate before a game?
  • Theexperts recommend drinking 500 to 600 ml of water/sports drink 2 to 3 hours before a game and then 200 to 300 ml of water/sports drink 10 to 20 minutes before starting the game.

  • What are the goals of hydration during sports?
  • The goal of hydration during sports is to maximize performance and recovery by increasing endurance, regulating heart rate, and keeping body temperature low.

  • Can dehydration cause low dopamine?
  • There is little research on the direct link between dopamine levels and dehydration, butstudies show that dehydration does impair cognitive performance — short-term memory and attention.


    Dehydration is more complex than just forgetting to drink water and feeling thirsty. There can be an underlying health condition responsible for water loss and symptoms of dehydration.

    However, you can manage dehydration by following effective tips to increase your water intake, eating water-rich foods, and avoiding foods that can cause dehydration. Challenge yourself to meet the daily recommended water intake goal and enjoy its health benefits.