Are You Dehydrated?
Many Shanghai residents suffer from regular dehydration. Not drinking enough water is quite common. Here in Shanghai, we tend to sweat a bit more due to the humid, crowded conditions. Coffee drinkers or those indulging in an occasional glass of wine or a cocktail suffer from further dehydration due to the diuretic effects of caffeine and alcohol. Patients sometimes remark that they don’t like to drink too much water when out and about due to fear of not being able to find a convenient bathroom. All of this means that dehydration is quite common – especially now that summer is here - and may be affecting you in ways you don’t realize.
Sign of Dehydration
You might be surprised to learn you’re dehydrated, but symptoms like mild headache, difficulty regulating your own body temperature, sore/tight muscles, hunger and feeling fatigued often indicate dehydration.
In chiropractic work, we often discover that patients’ muscles are extremely tight and showing obvious signs that they are not well hydrated. The musculoskeletal system relies on the body’s fluids for optimal functioning. Since our body is made up mostly of water, our systems don’t function properly without enough water and we suffer in surprising ways.
√ Carry around a bottle of water. Make it as convenient as possible to drink water by always having a supply with you.
√ Get a glass of water (or bottle) with meals. Many people worry about drinking the water here, but the risk of problems is low in Shanghai. Many restaurants provide boiled or filtered water. If that worries you too much, bring your bottle of water with you or purchase one first thing when you are out.
√ We need a proper balance of sodium and potassium, but most of us get 10-20 times the sodium we need and not enough potassium. Eat foods that are high in potassium, such as bananas and green, leafy vegetables. Try to reduce sodium intake when possible. Restaurant meals tend to have double or triple the sodium of a home-cooked meals, so considering cooking at home or eating fresh foods to balance out processed, over-seasoned foods is a good option.
√ Try to stay away from most energy drinks, many of which have a lot of added sugar without many benefits. Water is really the best option to stay hydrated. Drink more water when you have coffee or alcohol, which deplete your body of liquids.
Herman Szeto is a pain management specialist who offers a variety of chiropractic treatments such as soft tissue and joint manipulation. He also educates patients on ergonomics and posture, nutrition, use of health supplements, and other lifestyle modifications. Contact us to schedule an appointment with him.