How can you tell if you’re hungry or dehydrated?
California Institute of Technology scientists have now mapped the circuit of neurons in the brain that regulates thirst.
One of the pathways allows the measurement of the sodium content of the blood, which indicates the level of hydration. There’s also a circuit that is involved in acute satiety of thirst.
“When you are dehydrated you may gulp down water for several seconds and you feel satisfied. However, at that point your blood is not rehydrated yet: it usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes,” says Yuki Oka, one of the researchers. Listening to your body when it comes to thirst is important.
Often what people think is hunger is actually thirst. A good way to know if you are dehydrated or not is to take the urine test.
Your urine should be fairly clear – if it is dark yellow, it could be a sign you need to drink more water. Here are three signs you aren’t drinking enough water:
Your feel fatigued or disorientated
When we expel fluids, our body is also getting toxins out of our system.
If we don’t have enough fluid to do this, there can be an imbalance in the electrolytes in our system, which can make us feel dizzy, confused or have difficulty concentrating.
Similarly, being dehydrated can also cause fatigue as our blood circulation decreases.
Your mouth, eyes and skin are dry
We are constantly losing fluid from our body throughout the day. If we do not replenish our levels enough, then our mouth, eyes and skin can all suffer from lack of moisture.
Read all about the importance of hydration for healthy skin here.
You have a headache
Our brains are 80% water. When you are dehydrated, your brain tissue loses water, causing brain shrinkage and pain surrounding the brain.
Dehydration also lowers blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which can dilate blood vessels and cause swelling and inflammation.
Next time you have a headache, try having a glass of water first before reaching for painkillers.