Many women suffer from chronic internal dehydration because we aren’t able to stay hydrated. The organs are inflamed, and this makes the muscle tissue more susceptible to soreness and pain.
A good friend of mine, who never gets cramps, says that she downs extra water around the time of her period; the one time she did get cramps, she knows she hadn’t drunk enough water. She downed a bunch of water and it went away. However, there is more to staying hydrated than most people think. Many things in our diet dehydrate us.
Sugar is dehydrating
Refined sugar is a diuretic, but most people don’t know this. Basically, this means that it makes us pee more, ladies. We could be drinking all the water in the world, but the sugar in our diet is not allowing us to keep any of that water in our bodies.
Soda, chocolate, desserts and the sugar pump we add in our caramel frappuccinos make our cramps worse! Try switching to raw honey, which is full of minerals, and if you have a craving for something sweet, reach for fruit.
Caffeine is dehydrating
Caffeine is also extremely dehydrating. A woman I knew drank iced tea all day and started blacking out randomly. She didn’t know that she had chronically dehydrated her organs. Every time she reached for a thirst-quenching iced tea, not only was it going to make her more thirsty, but it was wreaking havoc on her internal organ tissue. Yikes!
Energy drinks can be replaced with superfood smoothies, which are full of nutrients that give us energy. Adults should not have more than 100-200 milligrams of caffeine daily, which is no more than one or two cups. Don’t get me wrong: I like my coffee, but I keep it in check.
Alcohol is dehydrating
While this one is quite obvious, we may not have made the connection between our wine and our cramps. Alcohol is extremely dehydrating, and if you are used to having a glass of wine with our meal, or more than one, it could be making your cramps way worse.
Try switching to sparkling water for a month and see how your cramps improve. Many of us just take a pill hoping that our cramps won’t be bad enough to make us crawl into bed, but the bottom line is that we are suffering; if we are more careful with our diet, we can control these pesky cramps much more.
Fruit and raw vegetables contain more hydrating water
Fruits that have a high water content—like melons, apples, oranges, pineapple, pears, plums, mangos, grapes and berries—can help us to stay hydrated much better than drinking water.
Certain vegetables are also very hydrating. Celery and cucumbers as well as raw spinach and kale contain water. The reason eating fruits and vegetables is more hydrating than drinking water is because the water molecules are contained within a jellylike substance that stays within your digestive tract longer than water by itself.
Not all waters are created equal
First of all, you don’t want to down a bunch of water all at once. You’ll just pee it right out. Try drinking small amounts throughout the day. Some restructured waters, which are referred to as micro clustered are more hydrated.
The water molecules are closer together with less air between them, so you actually can drink less water but are more hydrated. You’ll notice how smooth this type of water is. You can buy it at a store.
Water stores, especially, are a great place to buy water because the toxins are filtered out, and they usually add the naturally occurring minerals as well. Tap water is not very hydrating, and it’s acidic. Most bottled waters are just acidic tap water, but no one knows that. Look for alkaline artesian water if you’re buying bottles or go to a water supply store.
Look at your lifestyle
Our bodies are comprised of many intricate systems that need a healthy balance of relaxation, nutrients, water and exercise. Balance is key, so try to get at least 20 minutes of exercise each day that will increase your heart rate to get your blood pumping throughout your body and increase the oxygen in your blood. This will help to stimulate your digestion and reduce inflammation that can increase period cramps because of toxic buildup in the blood.
Make this a daily habit
Remember, our bodies change over time, so you can’t just drink water when you have cramps and expect them to go away. You need to make this a daily thing, and over time your body’s cells will become hydrated. You will become more hydrated over a couple days, but these habits might take a while to really adopt.
It’s a lot to think about: we talked about eating fruits and vegetables that have a high water content, reducing sugar, alcohol and caffeine and drinking alkaline restructured water in small quantities throughout the day. Do this for a few months, and over time you will notice the difference as your body changes. Try to drink at least two liters of water each day to stay adequately hydrated.
Listen to your body
Remember to allow your body to rest when it feels tired. We need to respect our bodies and not ignore the way we feel. If we get in tune with the needs of our bodies and look at our skin and cuticles, it can indicate if we are, in fact, dehydrated. This is all about self-love here, and maybe bad cramps are our bodies telling us to love ourselves more.
This is important information to share with other women. They could be saved from unnecessary pain. It’s empowering to know that our diet and lifestyle can change our cramps. It’s good to know that we don’t have to be reliant on pills to keep us from the pain.
Keep in mind that your hormones will also play a role in this, so managing stress will help as well. Regular exercise and a lot of it is going to be another crucial part to reducing your cramps. There is no one magic bullet, but the dehydration aspect is one that is most often overlooked.