The 5 Best Ways to Rehydrate Quickly
It's important to rehydrate after any activity that causes heavy sweating, such as an intense workout, sauna session, or hot yoga class.
Rehydrating is also crucial for preventing the damaging effects of dehydration if you have the stomach flu or are recovering from a night of drinking.
This article discusses the signs and symptoms of dehydration and the best ways to rehydrate quickly at home.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body requires water to function.
Water helps regulate body temperature, lubricate joints, transport nutrients, remove waste, and circulate blood. That means your body can't properly perform these functions if you're dehydrated, which happens when you lose more fluids than you take in.
For example, you can become dehydrated from sweating, vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, or taking diuretic medications that increase fluid loss.
Certain populations are more prone to dehydration than others, including children, older adults, and people with certain medical conditions like diabetes and kidney disease.
The signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
- increased thirst
- dry mouth
- infrequent urination
- dry skin
Urine color is also a common indicator of hydration status. Generally, the paler the color, the better hydrated you are. That said, the color can change for reasons other than your hydration status, including diet, the use of certain medications, and some medical conditions.
Studies have shown that urine color is a valid indicator of hydration in children and young adults but not in older adults.
If you're worried about your or someone else's hydration status, here are the 5 best ways to rehydrate quickly.
While it likely comes as no surprise, drinking water is most often the best and cheapest way to stay hydrated and rehydrate.
Unlike many other beverages, water contains no added sugars or calories, making it ideal to drink throughout the day or specifically when you need to rehydrate, such as after a workout.
It's worth noting that a variety of factors, including genetics, cause some people lose more sodium via their sweat than others. You might be a "salty sweater" if you get frequent muscle cramps with exercise or if your sweat stings your eyes.
If either of these apply to you, make sure to replace not just the fluid you lose through sweat but also the sodium, particularly after intense or long bouts of exercise in hot environments.
That said, unless you're participating in a long, intense activity like an ultra-endurance event in a hot environment, the sodium you lose through sweat can easily be replaced through a balanced diet.
For most people, drinking water is sufficient to rehydrate. If you're a salty sweater, be sure to replace both the sodium and fluid you lose through sweat, preferably through a balanced diet.
2. Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea contain the stimulant caffeine, which can be transiently dehydrating in excess amounts, as it acts like a diuretic.
However, drinking coffee and tea in moderate amounts can be as hydrating as drinking water and serve as an energizing alternative.
Caffeine becomes dehydrating only in doses around 250–300 mg, the equivalent of two to three 8-ounce (240-ml) cups of coffee, or five to eight 8-ounce (240-ml) cups of tea.
In a study, 50 regular coffee drinkers drank 4 cups (800 ml) of coffee containing 1.8 mg of caffeine per pound (4 mg per kg) of body weight daily. It observed no significant differences between coffee and water in regards to hydrating ability.
If you don't like these beverages plain, try adding unsweetened almond milk to your coffee, or herbs and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or lemongrass to your tea.
Drinking moderate amounts of coffee and tea have similar hydrating properties as water. Plus, their caffeine content may give you an energy boost.
3. Skim and Low Fat Milk
In addition to supplying a host of nutrients, milk has excellent hydrating properties.
Milk naturally contains high concentrations of electrolytes, which help balance the amount of water in your body.
Research has shown that skim and low fat milk rehydrate you as well as popular sports drinks after intense exercise, all while providing protein and other important nutrients.
The high quality protein in milk also makes it an ideal post-exercise beverage for kick-starting muscle repair and the rebuilding process.
Just keep in mind that consuming milk after exercise may cause stomach discomfort like bloating. Plus, it's not an appropriate option for people who are intolerant to lactose or certain milk proteins.
Milk — namely full fat milk — might also not be a good option if you're experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, as it could worsen these conditions.
Skim and low fat milk can be used as an effective post-workout or general rehydration beverage if you don't have lactose intolerance or a milk protein allergy.
4. Fruits and Vegetables
Comprising 80–99% water, fruits and vegetables make for a perfect hydrating snack.
For comparison, highly processed foods like cookies, crackers, cereals, and chips contain only 1–9% water.
Fruits and vegetables with the highest water content include:
Stock up on a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and keep cubed watermelon in your fridge for easy and convenient access.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, and in some cases, they're more nutritious.
It often takes days or even weeks before fresh fruits and vegetables make it to your plate. During that time, oxidation can cause nutrient loss. On the other hand, frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen shortly after harvesting, which retains most of their nutrients.
For example, one study showed that frozen green beans and blueberries contained more vitamin C than their fresh counterparts.
Try making a hydrating, nutrient-packed smoothie by combining your favorite fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables in a blender along with milk or Greek yogurt.
Due to their high water content, both fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables make a perfect hydrating snack.
5. Oral Hydration Solutions
Oral hydration solutions are specialized formulas used to prevent and treat dehydration caused by diarrhea or vomiting.
They have also been promoted to bolster exercise recovery and prevent or treat hangovers.
These solutions are water-based and commonly contain electrolytes like sodium, chloride, and potassium, as well as sugar, typically in the form of dextrose. Some commercial solutions also contain other ingredients like prebiotics and zinc.
While these rehydration drinks help replace lost fluids and electrolytes, they can be expensive.
Fortunately, you can make your own using these common kitchen ingredients:
- 34 ounces (1 liter) of water
- 6 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Combine them in a large bowl or pot and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. You can use flavor enhancers to improve the taste if desired — just keep in mind that they may contain artificial or natural sweeteners and flavors.
Oral hydration solutions contain water, electrolytes, and sugar. You can make your own simple rehydration solution at home using water, salt, and sugar.
The Bottom Line
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in.
For most people, drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated and rehydrate.
Other options include coffee, tea, milk, fruits, vegetables, and oral hydration solutions.
Don't hesitate to speak with your healthcare provider if you're concerned about your or someone else's hydration status.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Laura Beil
Consumers have long turned to vitamins and herbs to try to protect themselves from disease. This pandemic is no different — especially with headlines that scream "This supplement could save you from coronavirus."
Vitamin D<p><strong>What it is: </strong>Called "the sunshine vitamin" because the body makes it naturally in the presence of ultraviolet light, <a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/vitamin-d-supplements-lose-luster" target="_blank">Vitamin D is one of the most heavily studied</a> supplements (<em>SN: 1/27/19</em>). <a href="https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/appendix-12/" target="_blank">Certain foods</a>, including fish and fortified milk products, are also high in the vitamin.</p><p><strong>Why it might help: </strong>Vitamin D is a hormone building block that helps strengthen the immune system.</p><p><strong>How it works for other infections:</strong> In 2017, the <em>British Medical Journal</em> published a meta-analysis that suggested a daily vitamin D supplement <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.i6583" target="_blank">might help prevent respiratory infections</a>, particularly in people who are deficient in the vitamin.</p><p>But one key word here is <em>deficient. </em>That risk is highest during dark winters at high latitudes and among people with more color in their skin (melanin, a pigment that's higher in darker skin, inhibits the production of vitamin D).</p><p>"If you have enough vitamin D in your body, the evidence doesn't stack up to say that giving you more will make a real difference," says Susan Lanham-New, head of the Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Surrey in England.</p><p>And taking too much can create new health problems, stressing certain internal organs and leading to a dangerously high calcium buildup in the blood. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 600 to 800 International Units per day, and the upper limit is considered to be 4,000 IUs per day.</p><p><strong>What we know about Vitamin D and COVID-19:</strong> Few studies have looked directly at whether vitamin D makes a difference in COVID.</p>
Zinc<p><strong>What it is: </strong>Zinc, a mineral found in cells all over the body, is found naturally in certain meats, beans and oysters.</p><p><strong>Why it might help: </strong>It plays several supportive roles in the immune system, which is why zinc lozenges are always hot sellers in cold and flu season. Zinc also helps with cell division and growth.</p><p><strong>How it works for other infections: </strong><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6457799/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies of using zinc for colds</a> — which are frequently caused by coronaviruses — suggest that using a supplement right after symptoms start might make them go away quicker. That said, a clinical trial from researchers in Finland and the United Kingdom, published in January in <em>BMJ Open</em> <a href="https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/10/1/e031662" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">did not find any value for zinc lozenges</a> for the treatment of colds. Some researchers have theorized that inconsistencies in data for colds may be explained by varying amounts of zinc released in different lozenges.</p><p><strong>What we know about zinc and COVID-19:</strong> The mineral is promising enough that it was added to some early studies of hydroxychloroquine, a drug tested early in the pandemic. (Studies have since shown that <a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/covid-19-coronavirus-hydroxychloroquine-no-evidence-treatment" target="_blank">hydroxychloroquine can't prevent or treat COVID-19</a> (<em>SN: 8/2/20</em>).)</p>
Vitamin C<p><strong>What it is: </strong>Also called L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C has a long list of roles in the body. It's found naturally in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus, peppers and tomatoes.</p><p><strong>Why it might help:</strong> It's a potent antioxidant that's important for a healthy immune system and preventing inflammation.</p><p><strong>How it works for other infections: </strong>Thomas cautions that the data on vitamin C are often contradictory. One review from Chinese researchers, published in February in the <em>Journal of Medical Virolog</em>y, looked at <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jmv.25707" target="_blank">what is already known about vitamin C</a> and other supplements that might have a role in COVID-19 treatment. Among other encouraging signs, human studies find a lower incidence of pneumonia among people taking vitamin C, "suggesting that vitamin C might prevent the susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections under certain conditions."</p><p>But for preventing colds, a 2013 Cochrane review of 29 studies <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4/full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">didn't support the idea</a> that vitamin C supplements could help in the general population. However, the authors wrote, given that vitamin C is cheap and safe, "it may be worthwhile for common cold patients to test on an individual basis whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial."</p><p><strong>What we know about Vitamin C and COVID-19: </strong>About a dozen studies are under way or planned to examine whether vitamin C added to coronavirus treatment helps with symptoms or survival, including Thomas' study at the Cleveland Clinic.</p><p>In a review published online in July in <em>Nutrition</em>, researchers from KU Leuven in Belgium concluded that the <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4/full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">vitamin may help prevent infection</a> and tamp down the dangerous inflammatory reaction that can cause severe symptoms, based on what is known about how the nutrient works in the body.</p><p>Melissa Badowski, a pharmacist who specializes in viral infections at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy and colleague Sarah Michienzi published an extensive look at all supplements that might be useful in the coronavirus epidemic. There's <a href="https://www.drugsincontext.com/can-vitamins-and-or-supplements-provide-hope-against-coronavirus/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">still not enough evidence to know whether they are helpful</a>, the pair concluded in July in <em>Drugs in Context</em>. "It's not really clear if it's going to benefit patients," Badowski says.</p><p>And while supplements are generally safe, she adds that nothing is risk free. The best way to avoid infection, she says, is still to follow the advice of epidemiologists and public health experts: "Wash your hands, wear a mask, stay six feet apart."</p>
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By Elliot Douglas
In early October, Britain's Prince William teamed up with conservationist David Attenborough to launch the Earthshot Prize, a new award for environmentalist innovation. The Earthshot brands itself the "most prestigious global environment prize in history."
The world-famous wildlife broadcaster and his royal sidekick appear to have played an active role in the prize's inception, and media coverage has focused largely on them as the faces of the campaign.
“Rather than a Moonshot 🌕, we need Earthshots 🌍 for this decade.” Watch Prince William’s @Tedtalks talk in full:… https://t.co/m5NCj6TQzH— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge)1602408749.0
But the pair are only the frontmen of a much larger movement which has been in development for several years. In addition to a panel of experts who will decide on the winners, the prize's formation took advice from the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and the Jack Ma Foundation.
With more and more global attention on the climate crisis, celebrity endorsement of environmental causes has become more common. But why do environmental causes recruit famous faces for their campaigns? And what difference can it make?
'Count Me In'
"We need celebrities to reach those people who we cannot reach ourselves," says Sarah Marchildon from the United Nations Climate Change secretariat (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany.
Marchildon is a proponent of the use of celebrities to raise awareness of environmental causes. In addition to promoting a selection of climate ambassadors who represent the UN on sustainability issues, Marchildon's team has produced videos with well-known narrators from the entertainment world: among them, Morgan Freeman and Mark Ruffalo.
"We choose celebrities who have a lifestyle where they are already talking about these issues," Marchildon explains.
"Sometimes they reach out to us themselves, as David Attenborough did recently. And then they can promote the videos on their own social channels which reach more people than we do — for example, if they have 20 million followers and we have 750,000."
Environmental groups focused on their own domestic markets are also taking this approach. One Germany-based organization that uses celebrities in campaigns is the German Zero NGO. Set up in 2019, it advocates for a climate-neutral Germany by 2035.
German Zero produced a video in March 2020 introducing the campaign with "66 celebrities" that supported the campaign, among them Deutschland 83 actor Jonas Nay and former professional footballer Andre Schürrle. They solicit support as well as financial contributions from viewers.
"Count me in," they say, pointing toward the camera. "You too?"
"We are incredibly grateful for the VIPs in our videos," says German Zero spokeswoman Eva-Maria McCormack.
Assessing Success Is Complex
But quantifying the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement of campaigns is not a straightforward process.
"In order to measure effectiveness, first of all you need to define what is meant by success," says Alegria Olmedo, a researcher at the Zoology Department at the University of Oxford.
Olmedo is the author of a study looking at a range of campaigns concerning pangolin consumption, fronted by local and Western celebrities, in Vietnam and China. But she says her biggest stumbling block was knowing how to measure a campaign's success.
"You need a clear theory of change," explains Olmedo. "Have the celebrities actually helped in achieving the campaign's goals? And how do you quantify these goals? Maybe it is increased donations or higher engagement with a cause."
A popular campaign in China in recent years saw famous chefs Zhao Danian and Shu Yi pledge to abstain from cooking endangered wildlife. While the pledge achieved widespread recognition, both Olmedo and Marchildon say it's difficult to know whether it made any difference to people's actions.
"In life we see a thousand messages every day, and it is very hard to pinpoint whether one campaign has actually made a difference in people's behavior," she explains.
Awareness Is Not Enough
Many campaigns that feature celebrities focus on raising awareness rather than on concrete action — which, for researcher Olmedo, raises a further problem in identifying effectiveness.
"Reach should never be a success outcome," she says. "Many campaigns say they reached a certain number of people on social media. But there has been a lot of research that shows that simply giving people information does not mean they are actually going to remember it or act upon it."
But anecdotal evidence from campaigns may suggest reach can make an active difference.
"Our VIP video is by far the most watched on our social media channels," McCormack from German Zero says. "People respond to it very directly. A lot of volunteers of all ages heard about us through that video."
However, some marketing studies have shown that celebrity endorsement of a cause or product can distract from the issue itself, as people only remember the person, not the content of what they were saying.
Choosing the Right Celebrity
Celebrity choice is also very important. Campaigns that use famous faces are often aiming to appeal to members of the public who do not necessarily follow green issues.
For certain campaigns with clear target audiences, choosing a climate scientist or well-known environmentalist rather than a celebrity could be more appealing — Attenborough is a classic example. For others, images and videos involving cute animals may be more likely to get a message heard than attaching a famous face.
"We choose celebrities who have a lifestyle where they are already talking about these issues," says Marchildon from the UN. "You need figures with credibility."
McCormack cites the example of Katharine Hayhoe, an environmental scientist who is also an evangelical Christian. In the southern United States, Hayhoe has become a celebrity in her own right, appealing to an audience that might not normally be interested in the messages of climate scientists.
But as soon as you get a celebrity involved, campaigns also put themselves at risk of the whims of that celebrity. Prince William and younger members of the royal family have come under fire in recent years for alleged hypocrisy for their backing of environmental campaigns while simultaneously using private jets to fly around the world.
But Does It Really Work?
While environmental campaigns hope that endorsement from well-known figures can boost a campaign, there is little research to back this up.
"The biggest finding [from my study] was that we were unable to produce any evidence that shows that celebrity endorsement of environmental causes makes any difference," says Olmedo.
This will come as a blow to many campaigns that have invested time and effort into relationships with celebrity ambassadors. But for many, the personal message that many celebrities offer in videos like that produced by German Zero and campaigns like the Earthshot Prize are what counts.
The research may not prove this conclusively — but if the public believes a person they respect deeply personally cares about an important issue, they are perhaps more likely to care too.
"I personally believe in the power this can have," says Marchildon. "And if having a celebrity involved can get a single 16-year-old future leader thinking about environmentalist issues — that is enough."
Reposted with permission from DW.
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