How to tell if you’re not drinking enough water

How to tell if you’re not drinking enough water

If you’re not drinking enough water, the Louisville area’s summer heat and humidity could cause issues with your body’s hydration.

Drinking enough water — without over-drinking — varies among individuals. Ways to monitor if you’re not drinking enough water include:

  • What color is your urine in the morning? The color of lemonade or straw indicates good hydration. Any shade darker, with an appearance of apple juice, indicates you’re not drinking enough water. A vitamin supplement can lead to a bright yellow color.
  • If you sweat heavily during exercise, it may be beneficial for you to check your weight before and after activity. If there is weight loss, drink more, and if there is weight gain, drink less.
  • Aim for 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, your goal should be 90 to 180 ounces (more than a half gallon to almost 1.5 gallons) of water per day or your choice of hydrating drink.

Signs of dehydration

Early signs include:

  • Thirst
  • Flushed skin
  • Premature fatigue
  • Faster breathing and pulse rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Decreased exercise capacity

Late signs include:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Labored breathing with exercise

Healthy hydration choices

  • Choose water! There’s still, sparkling and flavored. You can make your own infused water with fresh fruit, herbs or frozen juice cubes.
  • Sports drinks are great for rehydration, but should be used under specific circumstances like during high-intensity activities. Read the food labels so you can avoid unnecessary ingredients like artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. You can make your own electrolyte beverage at home, like this lemon-ginger electrolyte drink.
  • Coconut water contains a variety of electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Look for one that has no added sugar.

Heather D. Leger, M.S., R.D., L.D., is a clinical nutritionist for Norton Healthcare’s employee wellness program, N Good Health.