It’s common to feel tired and drowsy in the fall, especially after Daylight Saving Time ends. Days become much shorter, which affects our mood and energy levels. During this time, many people wish they could drink a magic potion to boost their energy.
But what if we tell you that you don’t need a magic potion? There is a common beverage that can help you feel wide awake and refreshed throughout the entire day. Read on to learn what it is.
Energy Comes From Hydration
Many people turn to coffee whenever they need a little extra energy. Although this drink has its benefits and is considered safe in moderation, consuming coffee in large quantities has side effects. For example, you could experience anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, headaches, higher blood pressure, and more.
Some people rely on energy drinks. While they can be effective, they are usually unhealthy and contain a lot of sugar and preservatives.
So, what is the one beverage that will give you a boost of energy with no side effects? The answer is simpler than you probably thought: it’s water.
Water makes up around 60% of our bodies. So it’s no wonder drinking water is essential for our overall health.
Let’s see what drinking the recommended quantity of fluids each day does for us:
- It aids in the digestion of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
- It breaks down the vitamins we consume into a form our bodies can absorb.
- It helps remove waste from our bodies (through sweating, urinating, and defecating).
- It moisturizes dry skin.
- It prevents kidney stones.
- It supports weight loss.
In addition to boosting your metabolism, drinking enough fluids makes you feel more energized. In fact, one of the first symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. According to registered dietitian Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD, people often come to her complaining about constant feelings of exhaustion. She states that one of the first factors she checks isn’t what the person is eating but their water intake.
Most of us have heard the recommendation to drink eight glasses of water each day. But how much water you need depends on your weight, overall health, environment, etc.
Kimball recommends this formula for calculating your optimal daily fluid intake in ounces: take your weight in pounds and divide it by two. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water per day. Plus, you should take in an additional 16 ounces for every pound of sweat. We recommend weighing yourself before and after working out to determine how much sweat you lost. That way, you’ll get a better idea of how much extra water you need to drink.
If you don’t feel thirsty often and your urine is almost colorless or light yellow, your water intake is adequate.
Is Water the Only Option for Hydration?
Consuming enough water will keep you hydrated. But that doesn’t mean other fluids don’t serve this purpose as well. Drinking herbal teas, smoothies, milk, and juices will also help. Plus, don’t forget that what you eat also contributes to your hydration. For example, spinach and watermelon are made almost entirely of water.
Symptoms and Side Effects of Dehydration
More often than not, people aren’t aware they aren’t taking in enough fluids. In addition to feeling tired, these are some of the symptoms you may experience if you’re dehydrated:
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Dry mouth and lips
- Dry eyes
- Urinating fewer than four times a day
- Dark-colored urine
Side effects of dehydration vary, and while some, like bad breath, might be only embarrassing, others can become life-threatening:
- Heat injury – If you’re often outside and sweating a lot but not taking in fluids, you risk suffering from heat cramps, exhaustion, or heat stroke that can be fatal.
- Kidney problems – If you don’t take in enough fluids over an extended period, you could experience urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and in severe cases, kidney failure.
- Seizures – Electrolytes typically found in fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and some types of water help produce energy and contract muscles. When electrolytes are out of balance, their normal functioning could be compromised, thus leading to involuntary muscle movements, or losing consciousness.
- Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock) – Low blood volume can suddenly decrease blood pressure, thus causing a drop in oxygen. This happens only in severe cases and can be life-threatening.
Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated
Although it sounds simple, drinking water can boost your energy levels and has a wide range of benefits for your overall health. If you often forget to consume water during the day, it’s best to always keep a bottle near you and set reminders on your phone. That way, you can keep track of how much water you drink and regulate the amount if necessary.