5 Reasons So Many Vegans Are Chronically Dehydrated

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Being vegan is supposed to be healthy, but there's a big mistake among the vegan community that is chronic and will have a negative effect long-term. This condition is chronic dehydration. Hydrating is more than just drinking eight glasses of water a day, which is why many vegans have gotten into poor habits when it comes to maintaining their health.

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Many believe being vegan is about restriction, when really it’s about abundance. For example, vegans if they desire, can eat more varieties of plant-based foods and eat them more frequently, than their animal-eating counterparts, without ever feeling sluggish, or heavy.

In fact, the more plant-based foods a vegan eats, the more energized they become. You can't say that about animal protein. Yet, despite the frequency of eating, one thing that still happens for vegans is dehydration. Although many vegans are eating plenty of non-animal foods, they’re still, chronically dehydrated.

Over time, chronic dehydration can lead to many complications, These are:

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Thickening of the blood

Related: Vegan Diets Promote Good Gut Health

Studies show up to three-fourths of Americans are dehydrated. According to the Institute of Medicine, men are advised to drink 13 ounces of fluid, while women require nine ounces per day. The 5 reasons vegans find themselves dehydrated begin with the following habits:

Drinking Coffee

If you’re drinking coffee you are likely chronically dehydrated despite how much water you drink. Yes, we all know coffee is a plant-based beverage as well as a morning pick-me-up, but the disadvantage of coffee, especially if you’re drinking several cups each day, is that it is dehydrating. More than being an intestinal irritant coffee also has a mild diuretic effect, causing the need to eliminate. The downside of this is chronic dry or cottonmouth, thirst and ultimately gum recession. While coffee doesn’t cause more fluid loss than the amount ingested, drinking coffee is an added offense to the dehydration of eating processed and cooked foods.

Processed foods

Although veganism is a ramped up form of vegetarianism, any vegans are not vegans because they love vegetables – they’re vegans because they’re against the harm of animals. So if a processed food doesn’t contain animal products– think Oreo cookies – vegans feel entitled to eat it. Often, vegans who eat lots of processed foods get so off track that they often end up dehydrated. Throw in a coffee habit and you can see how the dehydration process builds on itself.

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Eating Too Many Cooked Vegetables

Many vegans, if they’re not raw vegan or raw till 4, eat high amounts of cooked foods. Cooked foods are essentially dehydrated foods. When a food is cooked, it is denatured, which means a lot of its natural juices and nutrients are cooked out. This is another reason for chronic dehydration -- although vegans are eating plenty of vegetables, they’re not eating enough raw vegetables, which are loaded with hydration.

Not enough fruit.

One of the biggest offenses of the vegan movement is not eating enough fruit. Especially fruits high in minerals salts like cucumbers and melon. Fruits are quickly and easily digested and assimilated by the body as both a source of nutrients and hydration. Fruit hydrates you at a cellular level. The vitamins and minerals in fruit are cell food, hydrating and replenishing your cells so that they can be replicated healthily. Not many foods can accomplish this like fruit. The amount of fruit to shoot for best hydration should be at least 7-10 fruits each day, either eaten juiced or incorporated in a smoothie.

Drinking Alcohol

Wine and beer are both technically plant-based vegan beverages, but that doesn't mean they’re good for you – in fact alcohol is incredibly dehydrating. Alcohol decreases the body's production of ADH -- an anti-diuretic hormone, which is used by the body to reabsorb water. With less ADH available, your body loses more fluid than normal increasing your need for urination.

Related: How Not To Need Healthcare

How To Not Be Dehydrated

However, it is important not to drink water when you’re eating. Drinking with meals impedes digestion. Instead, eat your water and hydrate according to your level of thirst. The way to do this is to limit coffee consumption, or avoid it entirely, and to eat more of fruit. You can eat fruit straight up or juice it, puree it have in a smoothie. Whichever raw way that you enjoy fruit be sure to incorporate as much as you can into your daily intake. To repeat, fruit is the ultimate form of hydration and it hydrates you on a cellular level, particularly melon and cucumber (yes, cucumber is a fruit) and it’s also high in minerals salts, which the body needs for replenishment.

Eating more raw greens like spinach and any lettuce you prefer will help to get more hydration into you. Lettuce is mostly water and this makes it a preferred hydrating food. Eating one or more salads, along with your fruit a day is a terrific way to ramp up your hydration.

Drink lemon water

If you must hydrate with water, squeeze a lemon into it. This will jack up the water’s hydrating abilities. Replenishing with lemon water takes hydrating to a new level. Contrary to popular belief, lemon is highly alkalinizing, and contains high amounts of vitamin C. Taken as the first drink of the day lemon water is a gentle detoxifier. Either way you drink it, you can never go wrong drinking lemon water.

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