My Top Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling: Hydration on the Road

All the coconuts...

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It's been hot AF these last few months in SE Asia.  I think I lose a pound in water weight instantly when I walk out the door.  I basically stopped wearing makeup because I am constantly a sweaty mess.  For that reason I've been drinking all the fresh coconuts I can get my hands on.  Here's why.

Dehydration is when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn't have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. Our brains consist of 95% water; blood is 82% water; the lungs are nearly 90% water. Water is the single most critical nutrient for health, growth, and development- critical to the balance of all the body's systems, including the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and muscles. 

Just a 2% drop in body water can cause shrinkage of the brain, which can impair neuromuscular coordination, decrease concentration, and slow thinking. Dehydration also reduces endurance, decreases strength, causes cramping, and impaired muscle response. 

Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. Estimates are that 75% of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration- the rate amongst travelers is likely even higher.  

Travel increases risk of dehydration due to dry airplane air, extra alcohol intake, traveler's diarrhea and excess sweating in warmer climates. Older adults are especially at risk because they have a lower volume of water in their bodies, and may have conditions or take medications that increase the risk of dehydration.

Downfalls of Being a Raisin: 

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dry skin
  • Dark urine
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Rapid heart rate

Perks of Being a Hydrator:

  • Healthier skin and fewer wrinkles
  • Healthier joints
  • Healthier mind and body
  • Healthier digestive system
  • Less constipation
  • Less fatigue
  • Better ability to metabolize stored fat
  • Less fluid retention 
  • Improved circulation

In addition, studies have shown that increasing daily water intake may decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50%, and it may potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. Adequate water intake may prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections.  

Hydration needs vary depending on body weight, climate temperature and activity levels.

Minimum goal:

  • 2 liters of water daily, more with vigorous exercise
  • Get electrolytes with fresh coconut water- I've been drinking a fresh coconut everyday the last 4 hot months in Southeast Asia
  • Carry a reusable water bottle
  • Start your morning with hot water and lemon which helps hydrate and detoxify
  • App for hydration reminder
  • Dehydration often presents as hunger- drink a glass of water before eating to see whether you are actually hungry or just dehydrated. 

Drink up, friends.