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7 things you need to know about dehydration

Some effects are known, others though can seem counter-intuitive. This is why proper hydration is important

MILAN - Did you know that not drinking enough water when we are at the wheel is equivalent to drink-driving? And did you know that if you forget to drink during the day, in the evening you can end up having bad breath? These and other curiosities were revealed by experts on the news channel CNN. That is why it is always important to drink an extra glass of water.

Bad breath

It is easy to forget to drink water during a busy working day, but at the end of the day, you may find people standing unusually far from you when you open your mouth. "Dehydration can give you bad breath - says Marshall Young, DDS, dentist in Newport Beach, California - saliva has important antibacterial properties. When dehydrated, the decreased saliva in the mouth allows bacteria to thrive, resulting in bad breath".

It makes you crave sugar

Dehydration can mask itself as hunger, particularly as sugar cravings. This may especially happen if you have been exercising. As explained by Amy Goodson, RD, dietician for the Dallas Cowboys, when we exercise in a dehydrated state we use glycogen (stored carbohydrate) at a faster rate. So once you finish exercising, you will likely crave carbohydrates to help you replenish the correct glycogen levels.

It "dries" your skin out

"Keeping your skin healthy and glowing requires drinking enough water – says Anne Marie Tremain, MD, with Laser Skin Care Center Dermatology Associates in Long Beach, California –It's best to hydrate from the inside out and depending on your lifestyle you may need to adjust your water intake". Finally, for smooth skin, the expert also suggests a small tip linked to showers: shorter duration (less than 5 minutes) and only use lukewarm water.

It may affect your ability to drive safely

Recent research has shown that the number of driving errors doubles in a two hour drive if the person who is at the wheel is not sufficiently hydrated. In fact, dehydration at the wheel has an affect similar to drunkenness. And since people often purposely avoid drinking prior to a long trip to prevent toilet stops during a journey, consequently dehydration can increase the risk of traffic accidents.

It makes you tired

A mid-afternoon slump may have more to do with hydration than you think. "When we are dehydrated heart rate increases and the blood flow to the brain slows - says Luga Podestà, MD, sports medicine specialist at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles – A lack of water to muscles also makes simpler physical tasks feel more difficult".

It sours your mood

A small study published in the Journal of Nutrition tested mood and concentration in 25 young women. Those who were brought to a state of dehydration, by taking diuretics or doing more exercise, reported signs of concentration loss and increased irritability.

It can give you the chills

It may seem counter-intuitive, but dehydration can cause the chills. "This occurs because the body starts to limit blood flow to the skin", says Dr Podesta. 

by Alessandro Michielli