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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Health Issues and Diet >>  Dehydration

Dehydration Diet, Nutrition

When an individual stops drinking water or loses more fluid than the amount consumed, the result is dehydration. Excessive vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating due to hot weather or exercise can make one lose a lot of fluids from the body. Unless the lost fluid is replaced with an adequate intake of water or juices, the blood cannot transport nutrients to various organs nor can the kidneys help to remove toxins from the body. After an episode of severe vomiting or diarrhea, it is vital to include a large amount of fluids in a dehydration diet to replenish the body. A dehydration diet plan should include, besides eight glasses of water, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, melons, lettuce, cucumbers and squash, with each meal to benefit from their high water content and the vitamins and minerals they contain.
Soups, broths, stews, and herbal teas are foods to eat after dehydration caused by vomiting or strenuous exercise, as these help to restore the electrolyte balance in the body.

Foods To Avoid Dehydration

Many people are not aware that caffeine is a diuretic, which causes the body to produce more urine. Drinking coffee, tea, or colas that contain caffeine can actually make you lose more fluids from the body, and they are often considered foods that cause dehydration. Foods to avoid with dehydration include diet sodas, alcohol, especially beer, and even apple cider vinegar as these are diuretics, and they can increase urine output. High protein diets are also known to cause dehydration, particularly in athletes who lose a lot of fluids through sweat. Eating fried food after drinking alcohol can increase dehydration and also put a strain on the digestive system. Dehydration and food poisoning related vomiting can cause a sudden drop in the fluid levels in the body and can be dangerous unless sufficient water is ingested continuously in small sips to replace lost fluids.


When dehydration occurs because of diarrhea or vomiting, it is vital that the patient be given food that is easy to digest and that is rich in vitamins and minerals, like yoghurt, fruit sorbets, and vegetable soups. Vitamins for dehydration patients become doubly important because they help replenish depleted reserves and boost the body’s immune system. Juices, smoothies, and shakes enriched with vitamins C and D help to revitalize the body. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, nutrients that may be lost in a bout of vomiting or diarrhea. Fresh lime juice or cold water flavored with a few sprigs of mint or a couple of fresh slices of pineapple or oranges is not only refreshing, but it also comes enriched with vitamin C. Salads garnished with nuts and beans are rich sources of vitamin B for those unable to eat meat and poultry because of diarrhea.

Nutrition For Dehydrated Person

Nutrition for dehydration patients is given in a form that is easily absorbed by the body, usually in liquid form as oral rehydration therapy. A solution of a teaspoon of salt, three tablespoonfuls of sugar, and one quart of water is the most basic nutritional therapy for dehydration as it provides the body with the required amounts of sodium and potassium to restore electrolyte balance. Coconut water is considered an ideal drink to use in nutritional therapy for dehydration as it contains a wealth of micro nutrients.


Vitamin and mineral supplements help to bolster the immune system and prevent infections, which may lead to diarrhea or vomiting, the major direct causes for dehydration. Thus, supplements for dehydration would include vitamin supplements containing vitamin C, D and B and minerals such as potassium and sodium. Drinking plenty of water is the best way to prevent dehydration. Sports drinks containing potassium or oral potassium supplements may be of help to those who sweat profusely during exercise or when they play vigorous sports, so that they can avoid dehydration. It is best to consult a doctor for dosage based on your requirements.


Among the herbs for dehydration treatment, licorice root tea is the most common. Fresh mint or mint oil mixed in cold water is another popular remedy for dehydration. Powdered dry ginger mixed with buttermilk is soothing for those with dehydration caused by diarrhea. Chamomile tea or basil tea sweetened with honey is said to reduce inflammation and help rehydrate the body. Parsley and fennel, herbs used to treat water retention, are diuretics or dehydrating herbs, and they are best to be avoided.


Though the severity of dehydration symptoms may vary depending on the geographical location and climatic conditions, age, weight, and level of activity pursued by the individual, certain symptoms are common. These are as follows:

  • Thirst, though by the time we feel the urge to drink water, dehydration has already set in.
  • Dark colored urine produced by the kidneys, which require water to rid the body of toxins through the urine.
  • Dry skin is one of the indicators of dehydration. Chapped lips are also a sign of dehydration, particularly in winter when we do not drink enough fluids.
  • A dry and sticky mouth and the absence of saliva make chewing and swallowing difficult and are a sign of dehydration.
  • Lethargy, usually accompanied by fatigue or muscle cramps in the legs, is the body’s way of signaling the need for water.
  • Dizziness and fatigue, especially after strenuous work under extreme heat are caused by loss of fluid due to sweating.


Several medical conditions and even some medication may lead to dehydration. Common among dehydration causes are the following:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Profuse sweating
  • Intense physical activity in a hot environment
  • Fever
  • Diuretics causing frequent urination and the use of corticosteroidal drugs

Treatment For Dehydration

  • The best dehydration treatment is the simplest—drinking clean fresh water. For those affected by dehydration, it is best to drink small sips of water at regular frequent intervals rather than drinking a lot of water at one go. Dehydration in infants and small children, as well as in elderly people requires immediate attention. Other treatment options include:
  • Dehydration treatment could involve medical intervention with intravenous hydration for those who are severely dehydrated and are unable to drink sufficient quantities of fluids.
  • Healthy sports drinks incorporating carbohydrates and electrolytes are given to those who are exhausted due to exercise induced dehydration.
  • Breast feeding is the best solution for small infants who are dehydrated.


Dehydration prevention is easy and can be achieved with the following:
  • Drink sufficient quantities of water
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Limit the consumption of diuretics like coffee, tea, colas, etc.
  • Drink extra water to compensate for water loss due to any medical condition
  • Drink enough fluids before, during, and after an exercise routine to compensate the fluid loss due to sweating
  • Heed the body’s signals like thirst and a parched throat


A dehydration diagnosis can be made in any of the following ways:

  • Doctors can diagnose dehydration based on physical signs such as sunken eyes, parched lips, and skin that is not as elastic as it should be.
  • Blood tests are conducted to measure electrolyte levels in the blood. The tests also indicate whether the kidneys are functioning well. Blood sugar levels are measured to rule out diabetes as the cause for frequent urination.
  • Urine tests measure urine specific gravity and are done to evaluate the body’s water balance, the level of urine concentration.
Submitted on January 16, 2014