Are you drinking enough water? You often forget it and drink coffee, juice, milk drinks, or soft drinks instead. However, these drinks do not have the same effect as water. On the contrary. A lack of water is the result and can be an important cause of many chronic diseases. Here are the signs you can use to tell if you’re not drinking enough water.
Symptoms of Dehydration: How to Tell If You’re Drinking Enough Water
Dehydration is unhealthy and can cause numerous symptoms. When you see these symptoms and signs, you don’t usually think of a lack of water, but rather use all kinds of tools, in the worst case medication, to tinker with it. The “therapy” could often be very simple: drink a glass of water regularly!
Since most doctors are unlikely to ask about your water consumption (unless you have a kidney problem), it would be helpful if you could see for yourself whether you are drinking enough water and whether your symptoms may be due to a lack of water.
You are not sick, you are thirsty!
The Iranian doctor Dr. medical In the early 1990s, Fereydoon Batmanghelidj (1931 – 2004) wrote the book You Are Not Sick, You Are Thirsty! In it, he reports on his experiences during his three-year stay as a political prisoner in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
When, over the years, fellow prisoners kept falling ill (particularly with stomach pains) and he could only give them water to drink due to a lack of medication, he discovered the enormous healing power of water. Two glasses of water were enough – and the prisoners’ pain was gone after a few minutes.
Subsequent therapy consisted of drinking two glasses of water every three hours, which resulted in the pain not returning. After his release, Batmangelidj continued his research on the subject of water and found again and again that water could improve or even cure many of the diseases that are so widespread today.
Drink a glass of water – then it shows whether you are still ill
professor dr Karl J. Probst – naturopathic doctor, speaker, and author – confirmed Batmangelidj’s statements at a lecture in Stuttgart in 2002, when he talked about the habit of some Israeli doctors, who first give their patients a large glass of water to drink in the waiting room and wait half an hour. For many patients, the symptoms would improve so massively that they could leave the practice without even having seen the doctor.
Of course, there are other causes of malaise and illness. Nevertheless, the experiences of the doctors mentioned and also many patients indicate that water shortages could be more widespread than one suspects.
It’s best to try it out for yourself! If you are already suffering from a chronic illness or if you suddenly develop acute symptoms such as headaches, difficulty concentrating, cold symptoms, flatulence, stomach pain, heartburn, or whatever, then drink more water!
Coffee, spritzer, and beer cannot replace water
Of course, this tip applies in particular to people who have previously drunk little water – and instead prefer to consume soft drinks, spritzer, juices, coffee, milk drinks, or even alcoholic beverages. Yes, because of these drink preferences, there are a great many people who never drink water.
However, human beings are made up of 60 to 70 percent water and not coffee, cola or buttermilk, or beer. There are always studies that show that coffee can also be used as a source of liquid and only dehydrates (removes water from the body) if you drink large amounts (more than 1.2 liters). Still, there are clear differences between water and coffee (or other beverages).
Do Your Own Study: Which Drink Can Heal?
Just do your own study: whenever you suffer from a headache, stomach ache, heartburn, coming cold, or any of the symptoms listed below, drink two large cups of coffee, two large glasses of beer, two large glasses of strawberry-flavored yogurt, or two large glasses of water – and see how you are doing, both short-term and long-term!
Observing the long-term effect is particularly important with coffee, as caffeine contains a psychoactive substance, i.e. a drug that naturally has an immediate effect (causes a feeling of well-being, wakes you up, makes you concentrated, laxative, etc.), but without the real need of the body to be taken into account.
Because caffeine does not work because the body is currently suffering from a caffeine deficiency (except for headaches caused by caffeine withdrawal, which is a sign of an existing addiction), but because it stimulates and puts the body under stress. In November 2017, a study found that caffeine causes stress even at the cellular level, namely increasing oxidative stress levels. However, oxidative stress is considered to be an important cause of all chronic diseases.
These symptoms can indicate a lack of water
Basically, a lack of water can be the cause of all complaints and make them worse or make recovery more difficult. By the way, we speak of a lack of water or dehydration when 1 to 3 percent of the body weight has already been lost in the form of water and can no longer be replenished.
In the following, we therefore only present a selection of symptoms and diseases that could indicate a lack of water and explain why water can have a soothing effect:
If you have bad breath, drink more water!
Water is necessary for saliva production – and sufficient saliva is necessary to prevent bad breath. If you drink water regularly, you also use it to rinse your mouth again and again and ensure a healthy environment there. Harmful bacteria can no longer settle so easily, and teeth and gums remain healthy.
If there is a lack of water, harmful bacteria take over, multiply in the gum pockets, lead to inflammatory processes and form a coating on the tongue. Bad breath develops quickly. Even the best dental hygiene can no longer do anything here if it is not finally recognized that the body is suffering from a lack of water and simply needs more water.
The first measure against bad breath is, therefore: to drink more water! Only if this step does not bring any improvement after a few days can you start looking for other possible causes. Of course, it would be ideal if you not only changed your drinking habits but also changed your diet. Because an unfavorable diet is also very often the trigger of bad breath.
Drink more water if you are chronically tired and lack concentration
Blood is 90 to 95 percent water. So how is your blood supposed to flow if you don’t drink enough? When there is a lack of water, the blood volume in the body decreases. So your blood practically shrinks and becomes thick. Thick blood, however, means that your heart has to pump harder, ie the blood pressure increases, in order to send the viscous blood through the circulatory system at the usual speed and still supply all organs with sufficient oxygen.
If this does not succeed, the organs suffer from a lack of oxygen. The lack of oxygen in the brain and muscles is felt particularly quickly. You get tired, you can no longer concentrate and you no longer have any motivation to move. So if you’re constantly tired or have trouble concentrating, check your drinking habits and consider drinking more water.
Try drinking a glass of water instead of the obligatory coffee to get you going and see if that can help too – without caffeine.
High blood pressure can be a sign of dehydration
The previous section explains how a lack of water can increase blood pressure. Of course, higher viscosity of the blood not only increases blood pressure but also increases the risk of vascular and cardiovascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, or embolism.
So if you suffer from high blood pressure or other cardiovascular problems, including varicose veins or high cholesterol, then drink more water! Because lack of water is an important contributory cause of all these complaints.
If you have advanced cardiovascular disease, remember to ask your doctor beforehand how much water you can drink per day. You may want to start slowly by increasing your water consumption so that your circulation, heart, and kidneys can get used to it again.
Drinking water often helps with headaches and migraines
Even a slight loss of water of 1 to 3 percent of body weight can impair a number of brain functions and promote or even trigger headaches and migraine attacks.
In fact, a headache is considered one of the most common symptoms of dehydration, according to a 2018 study. In it, 40 percent of the nearly 400 participants developed headaches when they drank too little water.
In a corresponding study, it was observed in athletes that a loss of fluids of just 1.4 percent after training caused both their mood and their ability to concentrate to plummet and also increased the frequency of headaches.
At the same time, there are already studies showing that headaches and migraines can be improved with the help of water, for example, a study from 2012 in which 102 male migraine patients drank 1.5 liters of water daily and 47 percent experienced significant improvements in their experienced migraines. In the control group (who didn’t drink as much water), only 25 percent of patients reported improvement.
If you have a headache, drink two large glasses of water first (before you reach for the headache pill) and two more large glasses two to three hours apart. Do the same for migraines.
If you are prone to headaches or migraines in general, get used to the rules below for drinking water properly. You will soon notice the first effects!
If you have a weakened immune system and are more susceptible to infections, drink more water
Water is an important means of transport in the body. In the form of blood, it not only supplies every cell with oxygen and nutrients. It is also used for detoxification and drainage via the lymphatic fluid. Only with enough water in the body can toxins, metabolic waste products, unmasked cancer cells, harmful bacteria, or superfluous minerals and vitamins be eliminated quickly.
If this is difficult or incomplete due to a lack of water, the entire body system is significantly weakened and overloaded, since some of the harmful substances now remain in the body. The body’s own detoxification capacities are exhausted more quickly, the immune system no longer works at full strength and people become susceptible to all kinds of diseases – both acute infections and long-term chronic complaints.
So if you want to relieve your immune system with simple means, promote your body’s own detoxification, and/or fight an increased susceptibility to infections, then drink more water!
If you are chronically constipated, be sure to drink more water
A good supply of water promotes intestinal activity and thus digestion very well. However, if you forget to drink enough water, constipation sets in quickly because when you are dehydrated, your body pulls as much water as possible from the stool to literally stay afloat. The stool dries up and becomes hard, which makes excretion significantly more difficult.
So before you resort to a laxative for constipation, first increase the amount of water you drink each day. This measure alone is often enough to stimulate intestinal peristalsis, allow fiber to swell, increase the volume of the stool and thus lead to easy bowel movements.
Mineral waters that are particularly rich in magnesium and sodium can bring relief to stubborn constipation.
Even with flatulence, it often helps to drink water immediately and avoid other drinks (such as coffee, juices, soft drinks, etc.).
A poor complexion can indicate a lack of water
Every cell is filled with water – and continues to shrink when too little water is drunk. This is particularly evident in the skin cells. This is because the skin becomes dry and wrinkled more quickly if too little water is drunk. Fine lines form and the skin loses its elasticity. If you then remember the daily six glasses of water, the skin often blooms again. The skin cells fill with fluid and the skin looks younger and smoother.
Toxins and metabolic waste can now be drained much better from the skin cells, which then also leads to an improvement in skin problems such as impurities or even acne.
Since skin problems often indicate an unhealthy intestinal situation with disturbed intestinal flora and regular drinking of water has such a positive effect on digestion and intestinal health, water can also have a very good effect on the complexion via the intestines.
If you have a craving for something sweet, drink water first
Not drinking enough water can lead to cravings for sweets and other carbohydrate-rich foods. This is because a lack of water makes it difficult for the body to convert its carbohydrate stores (glycogen) back into glucose. The probability of hypoglycemia phases increases – and the usual cravings can become noticeable.
Therefore, if you feel like eating chocolate bars, donuts, biscuits, sweets, etc., first drink a glass of water. Then wait 10 minutes and during this time consider whether it might not make more sense to plan the next healthy meal now instead of giving in to the greed for an unhealthy snack – a measure that of course also contributes very well to weight control.
If you are overweight, drink water regularly
Drinking water on a regular basis definitely helps with weight loss – and for a variety of reasons. We have already listed some of them above, such as promoting digestion and curbing food cravings.
If you drink a glass of water several times a day, this also promotes your feeling of satiety and boosts your metabolism. In a study from 2013, for example, 50 overweight young women drank an additional 500 ml of water three times a day – always before meals, for 8 weeks. The measure led to a significant weight loss and also to a reduction in body fat percentage.
The timing of drinking water for weight loss appears to be very important. Studies have shown that drinking water is particularly effective if you practice it half an hour before meals.
In a study from 2010, those who wanted to lose weight drank half a liter of water before meals, just like in the study above. They lost 44 percent more weight over 12 weeks than the control group who didn’t drink water before meals.
Frequent urinary tract infections, as well as bladder and kidney stones, can be signs of dehydration
When you’re dehydrated, meaning you don’t drink enough water, your kidneys retain as much water as possible to at least maintain their own functions. If there is not even enough water for this, kidney stones can develop much more easily.
The bladder can no longer be flushed properly if too little water is drunk. Bacteria can colonize and urinary tract infections can develop. Bladder stones can also form.
If you drink little water, your urine will turn dark in color and also have a strong odor. As soon as you drink water regularly again, the urine becomes almost odorless and colorless and your risk of kidney and bladder stones and urinary tract infections drops to almost zero!
Note: If you take vitamin B supplements, the urine will remain bright yellow. (Of course, there are also foods or medications that can change the appearance of urine, such as beetroot (reddish urine) or the pain reliever indomethacin (green urine)).
Avoid running out of water while driving
If you have a long drive ahead of you, you tend to drink little to avoid the not-always pleasant restrooms. But now we know that not only tiredness and missing breaks increase the risk of accidents, but also lack of water. A study from 2015 showed that dehydration during long car journeys led to driving and concentration errors and thus increased the risk of accidents.
So drink enough water regularly while driving, otherwise, an (avoidable) accident could endanger your health (and that of other road users).
The rules for proper water drinking
What is meant by drinking water properly? How much should you drink daily to stay hydrated? Most of the time you read that you should definitely drink xy liters of water a day. However, general figures in liters are not really helpful, since everyone has different water and drinking needs in different situations.
The individual water requirement depends i.a. on the following factors:
- The water content of your diet (if you eat a lot of salads, vegetables, and fruit, you need less water)
- The salt and seasoning content of your diet (salt and seasonings increase water requirements)
- The amount of sugar in your diet (sugar makes you thirsty)
- From the temperature (sweating increases the need for water)
- From your activity (rest, sport, work, etc.)
- Your state of health (the worse you are, the higher the need for water is often)
The following recommendations could serve as a rough guide:
- Drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day or 30 ml per kilogram of body weight and increase this amount during heat, sport, a diet low in water or spicy foods, and also when you are ill.
- If you have a craving for stimulants (sugar, alcohol, caffeine) or cigarettes, first drink a glass of water, then wait 10 minutes. Usually, then the desire for the respective stimulant disappears.
- Instead of starting the day with coffee, start the day with a glass of water (200 to 250 ml of water).
- Whenever you feel like any other drink, have a glass of water. If you panic at the thought of only having to drink water instead of coffee or beer from now until the end of your life, then try this idea for a short time, e.g. B. 10 days and see how you do with it.
- Whenever you drink coffee, alcohol, soda, or juice, always drink the same amount of water afterward (or at a different time of the day) to compensate for the harmful potential of these beverages.
- Don’t drink your estimated daily ration of water all at once, for example, don’t drink 2 liters of water in the morning so you don’t have to think about drinking water again. Instead, drink your daily ration evenly divided into several portions throughout the day, e.g. B. a 250 ml glass every three hours. If necessary, set a reminder on your computer or smartphone.
- Also, do not simply pour the 250 ml quantity into yourself. Drink as slowly as possible.
- Increase the amount of healthy water-rich foods, so eat more vegetables, salads and fruits.
- Don’t add so much seasoning and salt!
- Reduce sweets!
- Drink good water, such as quality spring water or tap water if you live in an area with good tap water or filtered tap water.
- Your drinking water may well be carbonated, as we covered in our article on the pros and cons of carbonated water.
- Stay in touch with your body! Feel for yourself when and how much water you need.
- Be critical of specific cravings and consider whether it’s your body needing an espresso, mulled wine, or glass of juice, or whether it’s not much more a habit or your brain’s craving for stimulation.
- Keep reminding yourself to drink some water!
What if you don’t like plain water?
If you don’t like water on its own (sparkling or sparkling), you can add some lemon juice to your water or make your own vitamin water.
You can also drink light herbal teas. However, you have to be a bit careful here, since the teas can of course always have their specific effect on the herbs used. Some, for example, can also have a draining effect if you drink plenty of them, e.g. B. nettle tea.
We would therefore recommend using herbal tea blends, which avoid taking too much of a single plant, e.g. B. basic herbal tea mixtures. Then do not steep the tea for 10 minutes (as is usual for the desired healing effect), but only 3 to 5 minutes, which is enough to flavor the water accordingly.
Take turns and don’t drink the same herbal tea over and over again. Because herbs are more of a remedy, the healing effect of which the body could get used to with daily consumption, means that the effect – if you should ever need it – is only weakly noticeable or does not occur.
Do you have to drink a lot of water all the time?
The above tips do not mean that you should force yourself to drink water or have a glass of water every three hours throughout your life. Rather, it is about carefully supplying the body with the individually required amount of water.
Once you have been detoxified, when your symptoms have improved and you have reached your desired weight, and when you have also optimized your diet (more water, less salt, more vital substances), then you no longer need as much water and no longer have to pay close attention to it to drink regularly.
After a few weeks or months, with the above tips, you will also slowly and automatically be drinking the right amount of water again, as you pay more attention to your body’s signals and correctly interpret them as a thirst for water (and not as hunger or thirst alcoholic beverages, soft drinks or similar).
Our tips should therefore help you to make the transition to a healthy relationship with your body without any problems.
A water overdose is very unlikely
In connection with water, warnings are often given of water poisoning, which is ultimately supposed to be fatal. Usually, the few case reports that exist worldwide are then cited, which describe the death of people after consuming absolutely huge amounts of water. So death from too much water is extremely rare and will not affect anyone following the recommended tips above.
There are reports of betting victims, psychiatric patients, athletes (who drink too much water in a short period of time without thinking about taking minerals at the same time), or cases of child abuse (when children are forced to drink large amounts of water).
To poison yourself (or others) with water, you have to drink more than your kidneys can process and eliminate. Not only the amount of water plays a role, but also the period of time during which the water is drunk.
Korean researchers wrote in a detailed case report on the subject in the journal Annals of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2013 that the kidneys can drain around 24 liters per day, but no more than about 0.8 to 1 liter per hour.
It is, therefore, possible to safely drink 10 liters of water in the course of a day, while it can indeed be dangerous to drink 3 to 4 liters of water within e.g. B. half an hour to drink.
Then the water dilutes the mineral level in the body, especially the sodium level, to such an extent that hyponatremia occurs (sodium deficiency with less than 135 mEq/l sodium in the blood). This can result in fatal swelling of the brain or impaired contractility of the muscles. Since the heart is also a muscle, it can come to a standstill.
Case reports are z. For example, soldiers who were showing symptoms of hyponatremia because they drank at least 1.9 liters of water per hour, a 9.6-year-old woman who was forced by her stepfather to drink within 1 to 2 hours 3, drinking 6 liters of water, and fatalities from drinking 10 to 20 liters of water within a few hours.
You can see that these are unnaturally high amounts of water that hardly anyone will drink as long as they are not forced to do so and are in full possession of their mental abilities.