OK, so let's start here. Did you know that approximately 75 percent of Americans suffer from dehydration? And, while you might think that this article is running during the summertime because that is when we tend to be outside and perspiring the most, the reality is this could actually be published any time of the year. Why? Because there is no time on the calendar when our bodies don't need a good amount of fluids running through it—you know, being that we're made up of around 65 percent water ourselves.
But the reason why we decided to post this in the heat of July is because, when your body has the right amount of fluids running through it, not only can that help to keep you nice and cool, it can also keep your muscle and joints working at their optimal levels (you know, like while you're swimming or taking long walks along the beach 'n stuff). Plus, spending a lot of time out in the sun can definitely put you on the road to being dehydrated—quick, fast and in a hurry. If you're wondering if you already are dehydrated, but you're not sure what signs to look for to confirm it, here are 10 that tend to get overlooked, far more than they ever should.
If you've ever heard the saying, "If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated", there is actually a significant amount of truth to that. When there is a lack of fluid in our system (or too much sodium in our body), the amount of water volume that we need in order for our body to work correctly drops which makes us want to drink more. You can stay on top of this by drinking 2-3 cups of water per hour (that you're awake, of course). If you do that, you should avoid feeling thirsty or parched. And, when it comes to your body "flowing" smoothly, that's a good thing.
Word on the street is, when you're at the point of dehydration, you've already lost somewhere between 2-3 percent of your own body fluid. If that happens, it makes total sense that you would start to feel tired, drained, lethargic—fatigued. When there isn't enough fluid in your system, your blood volume drops and that keeps your brain from getting all of the blood (and oxygen) that it needs. Plus, dehydration makes your heart pump faster than it needs to as well. So yeah, if you want an energy pick-me-up, drinking more fluids is a surefire way to go.
3. A “Pop Off” Spirit
If you feel like you're about to snap on somebody, drink something first. A couple of glasses of water, if you can. While it might sound crazy on the surface, another bona fide indication of dehydration is you're in a bad mood. How do the two dots connect?
When your fluid levels are low, the neurons in your brain are able to easily detect that. As a result, they will signal to other parts of your brain what's up, including the area that regulates your moods. Hmph. Considering 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, it makes you wonder how many are irritable, short-tempered, and just plain mean, simply because they don't have as much fluid in their body as they should, huh?
4. Blurred Vision
Have you ever had moments when, while scrolling through your Instagram or trying to watch television, your eyes suddenly became blurry? Before you freak out, drink more. Our eyes need fluids in order to remain moist and comfortable. This means that when we are dehydrated and our body fluid levels drop, that can result in dry and irritated eyes. This is just one more reason why drinking more water is such a good idea.
5. Sugar Cravings
If you want to get a grasp of just how serious sugar addiction in this country is, check out Healthline's "America's Deadly Sugar Addiction Has Reached Epidemic Levels". But if you're typically not someone who is big on sugar and yet, you find yourself having moments when you can't seem to get enough of it, this could be another sign that you're dehydrated. Something that our organs need is a healthy amount of glucose. Well, when we don't have enough liquid in our body, that can make it difficult for organs like our liver to release glucose and provide our bodies with an energy boost. As a result, we might think that we need a sugar rush when really, all we need is to drink more. How crazy is that?
6. Unexplainable Breakouts
Whenever I get pimples that have nothing to do with my period, it's usually a heads-up for me that I need to drink more water. Something else that drinking more does is flush toxins out of our system and help to keep sebum from clogging up our pores. A lot of us are out here thinking that if we put everything under the sun on top of our zits that they'll go away. But the reality is if we drank more good ole' H20, we probably wouldn't have so many pimples to deal with in the first place.
7. Bad Breath
There is someone I went to high school with who had the worst breath ever. Well, she and a guy I went to college with actually ran neck and neck with this particular "award". In hindsight, something that I realize they had in common is I rarely, if ever, saw them drinking water. It was juice, soda—anything but. Here's the thing about that—when we don't get enough fluid into our system, that keeps us from producing the amount of saliva that we need in order to flush out oral bacteria.
When bacteria lingers, not only does that create a breeding ground for tooth decay, but it can make our breath smell pretty damn tart as well. Just one more reason to drink more; more specifically, drink more water. For your sake and the sake of those around you.
Quiet as it's kept, one of the leading causes of constipation is dehydration. We eat our food, it goes into our colon and, if we don't have enough fluids in our body, our colon takes in the water from the food waste, making it harder for the waste to pass through us. Constipation can ultimately lead to everything from hemorrhoids (from straining to have a bowel movement) and stomach aches to a lack of appetite and bad breakouts. All of it sucks. Avoid this by getting at least 6-8 glasses of water in on a daily basis.
9. Muscle Cramps
Do you ever get random Charley horses in your leg? Aren't they the absolute worst, especially if they happen in the middle of the night? That used to happen to me until I got more water into my system. What I discovered is, that whenever I'm dehydrated, the lack of water (and sodium) that my muscles need can result in them tightening up in a way that oftentimes feels just like cramps. This is really important to keep in mind, especially if you work out (and sweat) a lot or you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors where you'll lose a fair amount of body fluid.
10. Dry Skin
As we age, something that we definitely need to do is get more fluids into our system. When we don't, our skin starts to lose elasticity that can lead to sagginess and wrinkles. Not to mention the fact that if our skin's pores don't get enough fluid, the natural sebum that we produce can decrease, resulting in our skin becoming mad parched and looking super dry. So, if you want your skin to be soft, supple and moist, you already know what I'm gonna say, right? Water will help to prevent your skin from looking and feeling parched which can keep you looking younger than ever for a longer than expected. Drink up, sis.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood