Dehydration occurs when the body has lost more fluids than it needs. Dehydration could be considered as mild, moderate, or severe depending on how much fluids have been lost. Severe dehydration could be fatal and, in such a case, immediate medical attention would be needed.
Anyone could get dehydrated. However, people with a higher risk factor of getting dehydrated include; endurance athletes, people living in high altitude, people with chronic diseases, infants, young children, and elderly.
Common causes of dehydration include; vomiting, diarrhea, fever, excessive perspiration especially after an intense workout, and excessive urination (due to medication or uncontrolled diabetes).
Symptoms of mild or moderate dehydration include; fatigue, thirst, dry mouth, constipation, headaches, dry skin, giddiness, or muscle cramps.
Symptoms of severe dehydration include; severe thirst, sunken eyes, little to no urination, increased heartbeat, low blood pressure, rapid breathing, dry mouth, very dry skin, and possible delirium or unconsciousness. It is important to seek medical attention if you notice a person is severely dehydrated.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with dehydration;
- Endeavor to consume a lot of water daily especially when the weather is hot.
- If anyone in your family is ill, attention should be placed on how much water they are drinking.
- If you are vomiting or have diarrhea or fever, you should be drinking plenty of fluids. You do not have to wait for signs of dehydration before you start drinking a lot of fluids.
- If you feel that you are getting dehydrated, you should rest in a cool place and stop any rigorous work you are doing.
- Avoid consuming alcohol if you are prone to dehydration. Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on our body.
- Strive not to workout during the hottest times of the day. Preferably, exercise during the early mornings or late evenings.
- Avoid taking coffee, sugary beverages, or soft drinks as these may exacerbate the dehydration.
Below are natural ways and home remedies to treat dehydration naturally;
1. Homemade ORS
Oral rehydration therapy (ORS) helps to treat dehydration caused by diarrhea. It involves preparing a solution with the modest amount of salt and sugar. Since sugar has high glucose content, it allows more uptake of sodium to replace the lost water. Just add three tablespoons of sugar and a half teaspoon of salt in a glass of water, stir well, and then drink the solution. You should not take more than 3 liters of ORS.
2. Pickle Juice
Pickle juice helps to soothe muscle cramps by keeping you hydrated. It’s loaded with sodium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin C which are beneficial to your body after a sweaty workout session. Not only that, pickle juice has antioxidants which can boost your immune system. Most athletes use this drink as a recovery aid. The juice is not suitable for young children.
Buttermilk is prepared with curd, water, salt, and spices. It possesses high amounts of electrolytes (zinc, potassium, and calcium) which aid in fighting dehydration. It’s also heart-friendly and contains less fat. To make your buttermilk solution, add two tablespoons of yogurt in a cup of water and some salt. Furthermore, you can add some ginger powder in your cup of buttermilk. Consume this remedy 1-2 times a day.
4. Take More Water
Water comes with an array of benefits like waste removal, maintaining body temperature and lubricating the joints. Moreover, water helps to flush out the toxins from your body. For these reasons, you should keep your body hydrated to replenish your body’s water store especially after engaging in strenuous activities. Some of the red flags that your body is dehydrated include a sticky mouth, thirst, muscle cramps, headache, and dark urine. When you notice any of these signs, you should take lots of water.
5. Barley Water
Barley water is an incredible beverage loaded with soluble and insoluble fibers. Additionally, it contains high amounts of antioxidants and minerals which help to restore the water lost to dehydration. To make this healthy drink, mix one cup of barley with three units of water and simmer for one hour. Once it cools down, add flavor boosters, like honey, and drink at regular intervals.
When your body is dehydrated, potassium is lost too. Since bananas are rich in this important mineral, they can treat mild dehydration. At the same time, they restore the normal functioning of cramped muscles. To replenish lost fluids and electrolytes in your body, take a banana alongside your meals. Furthermore, health experts recommend that you take the fruit before engaging in any strenuous activity. You should also include a banana in your infant’s diet.
7. Green Tea
Green tea is rich in potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants which prevent dehydration. Unlike other caffeinated drinks, green tea helps your body to replenish lost fluids during dehydration as opposed to dehydrating your body as other caffeinated drinks do. To make this tea, put some green tea leaves in hot water, steep for 10-15 minutes and drink up to 3 times a day. Ideally, three cups of tea will give you around 300ml of polyphenols. Don’t give the tea to infants since it’s likely to increase their heart rate.
8. Water-Rich Fruits And Vegetables
Apart from water intake, you can rehydrate your body by taking lots of fruits and vegetables. Examples of water-rich fruits and vegetables include watermelons, papaya, grapes, cucumber, strawberries, oranges, lettuce, spinach, radishes, and tomatoes. They are much better than energy drinks since they don’t contain any preservatives. To prevent the sluggishness caused by dehydration, you should eat any of the above fruits and vegetables alongside your meals. You may also want to add them to your salads and smoothies.
9. Coconut Water
Coconut water is free from fat, has low calories, and most importantly has more potassium than a banana. Best of all, it has less sugar compared to most sports drinks. This means whether you are doing a strenuous or a moderate exercise, a coconut can help to rehydrate your body. To combat dehydration, drink coconut water as part of your everyday regimen.
10. Eat Yogurt
Yogurt has electrolytes which help to treat diarrhea, heartburn, and vomiting. Furthermore, it has high levels of potassium and sodium which helps to relieve dehydration. Moreover, since it contains the healthy bacteria, in the form of probiotics, yogurt helps to soothe your stomach. To keep your body rehydrated, eat natural yogurt every day. You can also include cottage cheese. Alternatively, you can eat boiled rice with some yogurt.
If you are looking for one of the best remedies to combat dehydration, soups should be on top of your list. In winter months, most people are not able to take the recommended 8-10 glasses of water due to the harsh cold. Thankfully, they can increase their fluid intake by taking hot or warm soups. For instance, chicken soup has sodium which helps to replenish the water lost after a rigorous workout. You can also use soups to treat dehydration in babies (6 months and above).
12. Orange Juice
Orange juice is loaded with electrolytes (potassium and magnesium) which help to rehydrate your body. In addition to that, this fruit juice supplies your body with sufficient vitamins that aid in flushing out toxins from your body. Since during an exercise your body uses up your stored potassium, it’s crucial that you keep your body hydrated by taking some orange juice. Only take unsweetened orange juice.
13. Apple Juice
Apple juice is commonly used by pediatricians to treat gastroenteritis in children. Also, apple juice has large amounts of magnesium and potassium which aid in restoring fluids lost during dehydration. If your child (above 6 months) has diarrhea or is vomiting, you should give them diluted apple juice. The juice can also be consumed by adults.
14. Rice Gruel
This is a traditional dish in most Asian countries. Furthermore, it can be used to hydrate the body in patients suffering from diarrhea. To stabilize the electrolytes in the body, you should eat rice gruel. For quick results, you can add some salt.
15. Lemon Water
Lemons have numerous benefits in the body including weight loss, immunity boost, reducing inflammation and maintaining of a healthy gut. What’s more, lemons contain high levels of fiber, potassium, as well as vitamin B and C which helps your body to overcome dehydration. To restore lost electrolytes in your body, squeeze some lemon juice in a cup of water and drink 2-3 times every day.
16. Essential Oils
Essential oils like lemon oil, wild orange oil, and peppermint oil contain large amounts of potassium and magnesium which helps to keep your body healthy and dehydrated. They also have cleansing properties which ensure your immune system is functioning at optimal levels. To combat dehydration, add a few drops of any essential oils in a glass of water and drink throughout the day. Avoid giving peppermint essential oil to children below 10 years.
17. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice contains antioxidants as well as essential sugars and electrolytes which help to clean our systems. To ensure your body is well hydrated, take 2-3 glasses of unsweetened cranberry juice every day. However, note that drinking too much cranberry juice can cause diarrhea and stomach pain so you should limit your consumption. Avoid cranberry juices that contain flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives.
18. Epsom Salt Bath
While this may sound a bit surprising to many, it does work. Epsom salt has anti-inflammatory and exfoliating properties which help to treat many health issues. Besides that, you can use it to create a therapeutic home spa by making it part of your bath recipe. This way you increase the magnesium level in your body which plays a vital role in combating dehydration. Just add a half cup of Epsom salt in your bathing tab and soak your body for 20-30 minutes. You can also use this remedy in children above the age of 1 year.
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