Summer Season is beginning to wind down. No matter where you live, you have experienced the fire element of Summer-time; and with this there is a drying effect. The importance of hydration cannot be overly stressed. A large percentage of people move around in a state of dehydration, which takes a toll on not only the body, but also clarity of mind. It’s important to stay cool and hydrated for the whole System – dehydration causes overheating, decreased endurance and increased heart rates.
How do I know I’m dehydrated?
Hydration can sneak up on us. In fact, when you are feeling dry in your mouth and throat, chances are you have been dehydrated a lot longer than those symptoms. Is your skin chronically dry? This is another indication of the body’s hydration.
Other symptoms include: fatigue, tiredness, headaches, constipation, dullness of mind and lack of clarity.
It is better to add hydration activities to your day without waiting for the telltale signs.
Does everybody have to drink 8 glasses of water per day?
Actually, no! There are all different ideas around this. The one I like and recommend is to take your bodyweight, divide that number in half, and use the resulting number as an indicator for how many ounces of hydrating fluids to drink per day.
Drinking water in large gulps is not the best for getting to the deeper hydration; in fact, you would probably urinate out most of it. It is best for not only your deeper hydration, but also your lymphatic release, to sip water throughout the day. Warm is best for the deepest lymphatic cleansing. Both sodium and potassium are needed electrolytes for hydration. Both vegetables and fruits tend to have higher water content. A 1997 study published in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” found that rehydrating with water and a meal was more effective than rehydrating with a sports drink alone.*
If you are just drinking lots of water, especially when you’ve been sweating a lot, it may not produce the effects you want. You could end up with “water intoxication,” with symptoms such as fatigue, muscle cramps, and upset stomach. There are various products to replace electrolytes, but read labels to find the best products. I prefer pure, unsweetened coconut water.
Do certain drinks create dehydration?
Yes! Alcohol is the most dehydrating to not only the skin, but also at a deep cellular level. Not only does alcohol create dehydration, it also overloads the liver (even more so in the Summer time because the Pitta Sumer Season is much more challenging to the liver than the other seasons).
Caffeine has a similar effect of dehydrating. It is very drying to the system over time, and it contributes to the liver not doing its best job at processing out the toxins of the body. Both of these drinks can create a dullness of the skin, as well as a dryness – which is one of the first signs of toxin buildup. Both alcohol and caffeine create greater urine production, which also limits hydration.
Even non-caffeinated carbonated drinks can disrupt the digestion and are a major cause of toxins. And ice-cold drinks are also to be avoided, as icy foods and drinks can decrease digestive fire – making the body work overtime to heat up the digestive juices; which again can lead to toxins not fully releasing.
What are other ways to hydrate?
Hydration is not just about how much fluid you can take into your body. It’s also about the importance of good oils internally; and the hydration of our skin, which is the largest organ of the body. Here are some other ideas to keep you juicy, fluid and hydrated:
- Take a bath: especially in the crazy stressful lifestyles that many of us have, taking a bath time break is a way to signal to the nervous system that it’s okay to relax. In addition, the skin gets massive hydration. If you’re using bath salts, always rinse off afterwards. And, apply oil to your skin when you get out.
- Drink fruit splashes, flower waters, and herbal blends: You can add just a splash of pure pomegranate juice to fresh water. Or mix it up and make some hibiscus tea. After it cools, mix in a splash of pure pomegranate, pure cherry or some other delight; and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Infuse organic lavender or rose flowers in water – drink like this, or add it to your fruit splashes and herbal blends. Don’t forget cucumbers: sliced and infused in water for at least an hour, they provide a great level of hydration as well as cooling quality.
- Eat juicy fruits and berries. This is the Season. Look to where you live and note what’s in Season. This is one of the best ways to proceed with what your body will do best with. Remember: many of us over the years have developed allergens, sensitivities, actual issues (like Candida) and need to temper what we are eating. Too much fruit can throw off a system, especially with blood sugar issues or Candida. If this is your current reality, temper what you are eating, mostly following a low-glycemic chart of fruits and veggies.
- Go Swimming: Or just float. Summertime is the wonderful Season to be near water and enjoy water activities. If you are unable to, consider a foot bath.
- Oleate to hydrate: Using natural oils on the skin and hair are very good for maintaining hydration of the largest organ of the body – the skin. Jojoba oil is wonderful or face, mimicking the natural facial oils. Olive oil, almond oil and coconut are all very good for the skin in general. Consider it to be deep nourishment for the skin. Taking oils internally (specifically best are olive oil, coconut oil and fish oil) creates a wonderful luster and increased radiance to the skin. Eat healthy fats that are found in nuts, avocado and fish.
- Don’t forget your other orifices: Neti wash for sinuses, nasya oil to nostrils, light oil to the ears and oil pulling to the mouth are great ways to hydrate and oleate.
As the Summer-time fire element Season winds down, the Fall-time Season of air and space begin to transition in; and with this a natural tendency to feel dry. Choosing some of the techniques above now during this transition time is a positive way to work with the changing Season and your own body needs. Give it a try.
*Photo by Claire Ragozzino of Vidya Living