Drinking water? You might still be dehydrated

WASHINGTON — Staying hydrated is important, especially during the heat of summer. But even if you drink a lot of water, other factors might be working against you.

Health.com examined some of the factors that can lead to dehydration and ways to combat it, too.

  • If you’re under a lot of stress, the adrenal glands that pump out stress hormones become exhausted, causing dehydration and low electrolyte levels. While upping fluid intake can help, limiting stressors is the best long-term solution.
  • If you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, you’re not getting the water they bring along with them. Fill up half your plate at each meal with produce — it could give you an extra cup of water a day.
  • Some prescription medications can cause dehydration as a side effect. Many medications act as diuretics, which increase urine output and a risk of dehydration.
  • Eliminating carbs from your diet can decrease the number on a scale, but it could lead to dehydration, too. Carbs such as oatmeal, whole grain pasta and brown rice soak up water during the cooking process, which can increase hydration levels.
  • Any type of workout can lead to dehydration. If you are sweating out more than you are drinking water, there is a risk of dehydration. Health.com says to weigh yourself before and after exercise and for every pound lost, drink 16 to 20 ounces of water.
  • Taking certain kinds of dietary supplements can send you to the bathroom more often, causing a loss of fluids. To combat dehydration, speak with a nutritionist or doctor about any potential side effects.
  • As you age, it gets harder to stay hydrated and harder to tell whether you’re really thirsty. Keep a bottle of water near you at all times and, each day, keep a running total of how much you’ve consumed.

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Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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