6 Weird Dehydration Remedies To Know About For When You’re Thirsty As Heck
If you've ever forgotten your water bottle during a strenuous, mid-July run or, like, been hungover, you know the feeling of being dehydrated. Your body needs a lot of water to function, and when you don't absorb enough fluid, or sweat out a bunch, you'll start getting a headache or dry mouth, which can usually be dealt with after a big swig of water. But water isn't the only way to hydrate again, though it's one of the more efficient; these weird dehydration remedies can help when you're feeling thirsty as heck.
Dehydration can be dangerous, which is why it's important to keep an eye on your fluid intake. If you're seriously dehydrated, rehydration salts in water and a trip to the hospital are likely the best way to make sure you replenish your energy and don't cause yourself too much damage. Anybody who's delirious, had rapid breathing, or keeps fainting needs to be seen by a doctor immediately. If you've just partied too hard — the problems of hangovers are largely caused by dehydration — or spent too long in the sun, there are a few non-water ways in which you can restore your hydration levels and keep your body happy. Here are a few unexpected things that'll help kick dehydration to the curb.
1. Drink Milk
Milk might not seem like a good beverage when you're dealing with cranky dehydration-induced headaches, but science tells us it's actually a pretty good method of raising hydration levels. A study in 2011 found that it could be particularly effective in children, but it's good for adults too.
The New York Times reported in 2016 that a study of various beverages found that fat free milk and whole milk were more effective than water in rehydrating the body. They both had significantly better rehydration 'scores' than plain H2O, coming in level with the specific rehydration treatment Pedialyte. Milk likely has an advantage because of its high levels of sodium and potassium.
2. Reach For The OJ
The same study found that orange juice is actually better than water at rehydrating humans, though not as good as milk or Pedialyte. Orange juice contains natural sugars and other ingredients, and it's important to remember that you don't just lose water when you're dehydrated; you're also running low on valuable salts and chemical compounds.
OJ, with its fruity sweetness, appears to be a good method of restoring those elements. However, not all sweetness is equal; the study found that sweetened soda didn't rehydrate as well as water, so fructose appears to win out over refined sugar in the rehydration stakes.
3. Seek Out Some New Orleans Yak-a-mein
A fascinating bit of research presented by the American Chemical Society in 2013 looked at the value of a New Orleans favorite: the Chinese-Creole soup Yak-a-mein, traditionally eaten as a hangover cure after a heavy night. It involves lots of spiced broth, noodles, meat, and eggs, and the ACS found that it's actually a pretty great rehydration method. “It may be a good example of intuitive science — an effective remedy, and with the scientific basis revealed only years later," said lead scientist Dr. Alyson Mitchell. The salty broth plus the protein of the eggs appear to be very effective in battling the dehydration of a hangover.
4. Combine Sweetened Drinks & Crisps
Can't get your hands on any OJ? The Health Service suggests a sweet-salty combination instead: "a sweet drink can be useful for replacing lost sugar and a salty snack, such as a packet of crisps, can help replace lost salt." Go for sweet fructose drinks like apple juice or put a little agave nectar or honey in a hot drink, and pair them with a packet of your favorite chips to help you feel better post-dehydration.
5. Brew Up Lemon-Ginger Tea
Water on its own isn't actually as effective at battling dehydration as it could be — but if you don't want to break out the Pedialyte, you can make your own rehydration brew at home. A recipe from Epicurious combines lemon, ginger, lime, agave, sea salt, and mineral water to get you a sufficiently replenishing dose of sugars and salts. You can also make it into a warm, tea-like beverage, if that suits your palate; the temperature of your beverage doesn't increase dehydration. Just don't be tempted to turn it into a cocktail; alcohol, as we all know, is pretty dehydrating.
6. Nosh On A Serious Salad
Got some OJ, milk or rehydration tea? Pair it with some water-heavy foods. The Cleveland Clinic notes that dehydrated people may find some relief in noshing on cucumber, celery, lettuce, and cauliflower, and following it up with some watermelon and strawberries; they all contain high amounts of water, paired with sugars, to help replenish diminished fluid levels in the body. You shouldn't rely on them as a complete dehydration cure, but they'll certainly help your fluid intake.
Dehydration can get serious if it's left untreated, so if you're feeling a bit achey and think it's due to a lack of fluids, reach for the nearest milk carton — or giant slice of watermelon (though just remember that water won't hurt).