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Stay Hydrated – Recognizing the Subtle Signs of Dehydration


Drinking enough water to stay hydrated is crucial because it regulates body temperature and helps produce sweat, which cools the body. It also helps keep joints lubricated to reduce friction and help prevent aches and pains.

Try drinking water with every meal or snack. If you prefer a flavor boost, add a squeeze of lemon or lime to plain water, and choose water-rich foods like cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, and lettuce.


The amount of water your body needs varies by many factors, such as climate and health. But there are some early signs of dehydration levels have fallen off.

Thirst is one of the most prominent indicators that your body needs some H20 top-ups. But it’s important to remember that other symptoms of dehydration can often mask your thirst.

For example, if you’re craving salty foods, it could be because your body is confused about the need for fluids. Likewise, sugar cravings are often due to dehydration as the body uses glycogen stores more rapidly when it’s low on water. It can lead to an energy crash. A glass of water will usually satiate these cravings.

Craving Sugar

While it is essential to drink water, other beverages can help you meet your daily hydration goals. These include low-sugar fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, milk, healthy smoothies, juices, and soup broths.


Sugar cravings can indicate dehydration, as your body is trying to compensate for the lack of fuel from its glycogen stores. Adequate hydration can prevent this by allowing your organs to release stored glucose more efficiently, which can reduce or eliminate sugar cravings.

Keep a water bottle with you and sip it steadily throughout the day. Aim for four to six glasses a day when it’s hot outside, and talk to your doctor about how much water you should be drinking, depending on your health and activity levels.

Bad Breath

When dehydrated, the body conserves whatever water it has left by robbing Peter (your skin) to pay Paul (other organs). As a result, the fluid that normally circulates in your bloodstream is lessened, and your blood pressure is also affected. Feeling dizzy or faint is common, especially during physical activity in hot weather.

A dry mouth and bad breath are other early signs of dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, saliva production slows down, and the body produces more bacteria, leading to a bad taste in your mouth. Pay attention to the color of your urine, too. If it’s darker than usual, you may need more water. The symptoms of dehydration, such as nausea, vomiting, and fever, require immediate medical attention.


Being tired is one of the most obvious signs that your body needs hydration. A lack of fluids causes your blood pressure to drop and slows your heart rate, making you feel drained.


Unexplained bad breath (halitosis) is another sign you might need to drink more. Dehydration forces your body to prioritize using available water, which can leave your tear ducts dry and trigger cravings for salty foods.

Another indicator is how often you visit the bathroom. Healthline explains that if you need to pee more than three times a day, it’s time to start hydrating. To encourage you to drink more water, try putting a bottle or glass in every room you frequent and keep it within reach so you can sip regularly.


If you’re feeling cranky or anxious, your body may try to tell you it needs water. Research shows that dehydration can cause a spike in stress hormones, affecting your mood.

When dehydrated, your body prioritizes fluids for organ function over the skin, making it feel tight and doughy. This is also why your eyes may look puffy and dry.

Bad breath, or halitosis, is another sign of dehydration because dehydration decreases saliva production, which helps keep bacteria in check. You can also get dehydrated by overexerting in hot weather, suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, or having certain health conditions. Hydrating foods like fruits, vegetables, milk, and herbal teas can help you stay hydrated.