Hydration is one of those things you know you should be on top of, but you may not fully understand why.
“Hydration is important because our bodies really function [best with] adequate water balance,” says Shilpi Agarwal, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician in Washington, DC, and the author of The 10-Day Total Body Transformation. “Most organ functions require water in the right proportion to work — meaning your muscles, heart, and kidneys all need water and also need the body to be adequately hydrated in order to work properly.”
And what about dehydration, to some a scary word that may be associated with health issues big and small? “Mild dehydration can lead to dizziness, fatigue, flushed skin, headache, impaired physical performance, and confusion,” explains Malina Malkani, RDN, who lives in Rye, New York, and is the creator of Solve Picky Eating, a program for parents of finicky eaters. If unaddressed, more extreme dehydration can even cause problems like labored breathing, increased body temperature, poor blood circulation, and seizures, Malkani adds. And according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, dehydration can contribute to urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
To clear up confusion around hydration and dehydration, here are 10 things you must know to keep your health in tip-top shape.
The best content delivered directly to your inbox.