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.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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