To be hydrated or dehydrated depends on kinds of foods and fluids one is taking in. According to Private Kamanzi, a nutritionist at Amazon Complimentary Therapy in Remera, Kigali, consuming fluids such as water, juices and other fruits is recommended to keep the body hydrated.
He says for one to be hydrated, there is no need for special foods; rather good fluid intake will keep one hydrated always, thus prevent them from developing other conditions related to being dehydrated.
“Drinking liquids isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. One gets about 20 per cent of their water each day from food,” he says.
Kamanzi, however, says there are foods that reduce the water content of the body.
For instance, he explains that if one is consuming foods that have lots of sugar, they need a lot of fluids to dissolve the sugars taken in.
“Intake of table salt, which is composed of sodium chloride also is not healthy when it comes to maintaining the water content the body requires,” adds Kamanzi.
On the other hand, Joseph Uwiragiye, the head of nutrition department at University Teaching Hospital, Kigali (CHUK), points out that consuming a lot of saturated fatty acids should be avoided, especially when it comes to maintaining hydration of the body.
He explains that when taken in high quantity, when in the body these foods form solid particles, which requires a lot of water to dissolve them.
With such kind of mechanism, Kamanzi says the body will lose water that is needed to maintain the hydration of the body. He says saturated fatty acids mainly originate from animal products like butter, cream, whole milk dairy products as well as fatty meats, which also contain dietary cholesterol.
Uwiragiye says consuming fruits such as cucumber which are composed of 95 per cent water and are low in calories content is important in helping one to remain hydrated.
“Cucumber also helps in fighting inflammation and might even slow the aging process, which comes about as a result of one not taking in a lot of water as recommended, eight glasses per day,” he says.
However, Uwiragiye warns against taking alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, which include coffee. He says they are not good for hydration.
“This is because such drinks tend to pull water from the body and promote dehydration. Fruit juice and fruit drinks may have too many carbohydrates, too little sodium, and may upset the stomach, so they should be taken in moderation,” he says.
Dangers of not being hydrated
According to Rene Tabaro, a nutritionist at King Faisal Hospital, Kigali, when one has lost a lot of water or the body doesn’t have the needed fluids, they can suffer from different diseases, which can pose complications to such individuals.
For instance, he says the main problem that is likely to come about due to being dehydrated is kidney diseases, most commonly kidney failure. Here, he explains that for the kidney to function well, it requires a lot of water in order to regulate the water in the body.
Another problem brought about by dehydration, Kamanzi says, is diabetes insipidus.
“It’s a disease in which the secretion of or response to the pituitary hormone vasopressin is impaired, resulting in the production of very large quantities of dilute urine, often with dehydration and insatiable thirst,” he says.
Rene says being dehydrated can lead to complications when it comes to digestion.
“Among the symptoms or complications that come due to the digestion problems is constipation which might lead to hemorrhoids,” he adds.
When the body lacks enough fluids, Kamanzi says one can suffer from high blood pressure.
“This is because when the body has a lot of sodium, and there are no fluids to dissolve that. This can result in the accumulation of sodium in the muscles and cells, which may cause one to develop high blood pressure, as well as diabetes 2 and 1,” he explains.