Staying hydrated as we age.

Plus: Recipes to help keep you hydrated!

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"Hydration is the foundation of health, and age should never dry up our diligence."

Wednesday. It turns out the story behind The Blind Side, the popular book and movie starring Sandra Bullock, is a lie. Retired NFL player Micahel Oher says the couple never adopted him, as depicted in the movie. Instead, he signed conservatorship papers giving them the right to make business deals in his name. Yikes — you can’t believe anything nowadays. But here is something you should believe — your body changes as you age (duh). But how do those changes impact your ability to stay hydrated? Let’s dive in.

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Aging and Dehydration

Aging is a process some of you may already be familiar with. And even if you haven’t experienced the signs of aging just yet, these things are inevitable, so we might as well talk about it. Sagging skin, decreased muscle mass, and frequent memory lapses are some of the changes that come with time. How soon those signs become a reality depends on how much you take care of your health today, but eventually, we all get there.

However, an often overlooked change that significantly impacts our health and longevity is the decline in our ability to stay hydrated.

Many understand the immediate consequences of dehydration. These can range from dizziness, fatigue, confusion, and even a sudden drop in blood pressure. If this state persists or is severe, the implications can be more serious, leading to kidney damage, heightened hypertension, and even deep vein thrombosis.

Dehydration might not be a big deal for most people, but for the elderly, it can put them at greater risk of experiencing severe symptoms that can lead to life-threatening injuries.

Our bodies have a delicate balance of managing fluid intake and output. When we're thirsty, our body is signaling to us to hydrate. Once hydrated, our bodies get rid of excess water through various means like sweating, breathing, and urination. The color of our urine, for instance, often indicates our hydration levels. Darker urine is a sign that we might not be drinking enough water.

Yet, there are situations when our body's regulation system fails. Fast and intense fluid loss from activities or environments — like this scorching summer weather or donating blood — can lead to dehydration. Alcohol can also play tricks on our system by preventing our kidneys from conserving water, leading to dehydration. But another critical factor affecting our hydration is age.

It's concerning how aging affects our hydration levels. Elderly individuals often don't feel as thirsty as younger ones, even when they are dehydrated. A study from 1984 highlighted this by showing that older men felt less thirsty and drank less water than their younger counterparts, even when both groups were dehydrated.

Additionally, as we age, our urine output doesn't decrease as efficiently in response to dehydration. This change is due to a reduced response to a hormone that helps in retaining water. As you age, bathroom breaks become more frequent, which can spell trouble if you aren’t hydrating enough.

A shift in our body's composition as we age further complicates things. With aging, our muscle mass decreases while fat increases. Since muscle cells hold more water than fat cells, this shift means our bodies retain less water overall. Even slight dehydration can have notable consequences with less water in our system.

So, what can we do to prevent dehydration as we age? The answer is straightforward: we must be more conscious about drinking fluids. Simply relying on our body's signals may not be enough as we age. And, of course, it's vital to maintain muscle mass as well. This not only ensures our bodies can hold more water but can also help in avoiding falls or other accidents caused by dehydration.

The key takeaway? The aging process brings along many changes. As the years go by, being aware of our hydration needs and addressing them proactively can make a world of difference to our health and longevity.

Tonic Shots

1. Staying Hydrated With… Pizza?!

Sure — this isn’t your average pizza, but it is a fun way to get some watermelon in and stay hydrated with a fun nutrient-packed snack!

2. Hydrating And Refreshing

Stay hydrated with this Strawberry-Cucumber juice! Yum!

3. Spirulina Is Packed With Nutrients!

This smoothie has it all (nutrient-wise)! Give it a try!

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