Get this: our bodies are made of 50% water and two of our vital organs needed to survive (our brain and heart) are made up of 73% water. So the statistic that 7% of Americans drink NO water in their day, should literally make you get up out of your chair and grab a glass for their sake.

Full-on dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in, and your body lacks the water and other fluids necessary to carry out basic bodily functions. Symptoms of moderate dehydration include:

– Dry, sticky mouth

– Sleepiness

– Thirst

– Few or no tears when crying

– Dry skin

– Headache

– Constipation

– Dizziness

– Lightheadedness

– Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children

– Irritability and confusion in adults

– Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes

– Lack of sweating

– Little or no urination

– Sunken eyes

– Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t bounce back when pinched into a fold

– In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head

– Low blood pressure

– Rapid heartbeat

– Rapid breathing

– Fever

– In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness

Water for the active

For the physically active, water has added benefits. It prevents achiness, and it flushes toxins from the body. “Drink in advance of activity and during and after as well,” Cartwright said. “By the time thirst kicks in, you are dehydrated.”

What about sports drinks?

Cartwright is also an adjunct faculty member with the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona. She often has to remind her college students that energy drinks and sports drinks are not the same thing. She recommends sports drinks that contain six percent glucose or less for endurance athletes as well as for people who live in extreme environments (such as college students walking all day in the Arizona heat) or anyone engaged in an activity that causes them to sweat profusely. Otherwise, water is preferable. Cartwright is leery of the smart water craze. “There’s no reason to buy smart waters,” she said. “It does have added vitamins, but for some people it makes them nauseous, and it doesn’t really do anything except cause them to spend more money.”

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