This is how to check your urine color to tell if you’re dehydrated

June 30, 2017 By Bryan WendellScouting Magazine

Looking for a way to tell if you’re drinking enough water during this summer’s Scouting adventures?

Urine luck.

Monitoring the color of your pee is a great way to tell if you’re getting enough fluids. And getting enough fluids is a great way to stave off dehydration.

What is dehydration?

As the summer days get long and hot, you risk losing more water than you’re taking in. When you sweat or breathe out more fluid than you take in, that’s dehydration.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Increased thirst (It’s said that if you’re thirsty, it’s already too late. You’re already dehydrated.)
  • Headaches or muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dry skin and lips
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Dark urine and/or decreased urine production

What’s the ‘proper’ urine color?

We know that a “happy mountaineer always pees clear” and “an unhappy fellow always pees yellow.”

But yellow comes in many shades, so which should concern you?

Your best bet is to consult the urine color chart below. It’s also found on page 138 of the Boy Scout Handbook or page 237 of the Fieldbook.

 What to do if you’re dehydrated

Other than the obvious — drinking plenty of fluids — a dehydrated person should rest in a shady place or air-conditioned vehicle or building.

Of course, food is fuel, too, so make sure you’re eating plenty of energy-dense food throughout your adventures.

Fish Oil for Joint Health

  1. Decreased inflammation

Inflammation is the immune system’s way of protecting us from foreign invaders, and the way the body heals damaged tissue. Some inflammation can be expected, such as swelling after an injury. This is good inflammation – the body is doing what it is supposed to do to heal itself. However, chronic inflammation is a different story. It occurs when white blood cells overstay their welcome and release chemicals that begin to destroy surrounding tissue instead of saving it. This makes chronic inflammation a bad thing!

There is evidence that the EPA and DHA in fish oil suppresses inflammatory cytokines, which tells white blood cells to stop production. This makes fish oil a good alternative to medications for pain relief and inflammation.

  1. Decreased pain

Pain is the alarm that our body uses to make us aware that something is not working correctly so we do not do further harm to ourselves. That’s why after intense exercise you will be sore – your body is trying to tell you that it needs a chance to heal and repair the muscles that were broken down during the exercise period. EPA and DHA have both been shown to decrease pain by blocking pain signaling.

A study of 36 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and swelling who were taking fish oil examined the level of DHA and EPA in the blood and in the joint fluid. What they found was that there was a high correlation of decreased pain in those who had higher amounts of omega-3’s in their blood and synovial fluid. Fish oil supplementation also was shown to provide relief from general musculoskeletal pain, neck, and back pain, and pain from the discs in the back.

  1. Decreased cartilage breakdown

Cartilage is a connective tissue composed of chondrocytes that produce materials that give cartilage its elastic, flexible, yet durable and rigid structure. Cartilage has no blood vessels or nerves, and gets nutrients by motion, specifically compression and bending. Because of the lack of blood supply, the healing, and repair process is much slower compared to other tissues.

Fish oil can be helpful in reducing the impact of enzymes and chemicals that destroy cartilage. In one study scientists injected EPA into joints with osteoarthritis (OA) and found that it prevented further progression of OA.

  1. Increased bone health

While bone is largely made up of minerals, protein, and vitamins, essential fatty acids have also been shown to play an important role in our bones’ overall health.

Omega 3s have been shown to alter calcium loss, increase bone building cells, and decrease cells that breakdown bone Fish oil is also being studied for its potential benefits for osteoporosis and bone loss prevention. One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 126 postmenopausal women found that bone turnover decreased with omega 3 supplementation.

The benefits are clear! Always take a high quality fish oil. Look for brands that follow good manufacturing practices (GMP) and maintain rigorous testing to ensure the highest levels of quality. You should not burp and have a fishy taste if your fish oil is of high quality.


Benefits of Zinc

Zinc is the second-most common mineral in the human body (after iron) and is found in every one of our cells. It plays a vital role in many of the body’s functions, so ensuring that you get enough zinc in your diet is important. It is essential for helping the body to heal and for the maintenance of a healthy immune system. It is also important is supporting the senses (taste, sight and smell), blood clotting and healthy thyroid function.

Zinc is one of the most important minerals for fertility and general reproductive health. It is necessary for proper levels of testosterone in men and the maintenance of a healthy libido. The mineral also plays a key role in the healthy development of sperm, and abundant levels of zinc have been shown to be protective of the prostate, reducing the risk of prostate cancer. The belief that oysters have aphrodisiac properties actually does have some basis in truth. Oysters have one of the highest concentrations of zinc of any food. In women it regulates estrogen and progesterone and supports the proper maturation of the egg in preparation for fertilization.

Ensuring you have an adequate level of zinc can help reduce your risk of insulin sensitivity, one of the precursors to diabetes. It supports T-cell function, which boosts the immune system when the body is under attack by bacteria and viruses.

Zinc deficiency is not common in the developed world, but those with anorexia, alcoholics, the elderly and anyone with a malabsorption syndrome such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease is at higher risk. Zinc deficiency symptoms include frequent colds, poor wound healing, poor growth, loss of appetite, weight loss, dermatitis, psoriasis, hair loss, white spots on the nails, night blindness and depression.

Following is the recommended daily intake of zinc for different age groups:

Infants birth – 6 months: 2 mg/day

Infants 7 – 12 months: 3 mg/day

Children 1 – 3 years: 3 mg/day

Children 4 – 8 years: 5 mg/day

Children 9 – 13 years: 8 mg/day

Adolescent boys 14 – 18 years: 11 mg/day

Adolescent girls 14 – 18 years: 9 mg/day

Men 19 years and older: 11 mg/day

Women 19 years and older: 8 mg/day

Pregnant women 14 – 18 years: 12 mg/day

Pregnant women 19 years and older: 11 mg/day

Breastfeeding women 14 – 18 years: 13 mg/day

Breastfeeding women over 18 years: 12 mg/day

Children should never be given zinc supplements without first consulting with a pediatrician. If supplements are necessary, a copper supplement should be taken as well, as a high intake of zinc can deplete levels of copper.

You should be able to get adequate zinc from eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in whole foods. The body absorbs between 20% and 40% of the zinc present in food. The best sources of zinc are oysters, red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, cheese, legumes (such as soybeans, black-eyed peas and peanuts), cooked greens and seeds (such as pumpkin and sunflower).

Understanding MyPlate: Making the Most of the USDA’s Latest Nutrition Guide

MyPlate is the name of the latest nutrition guide published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of its ongoing efforts to inform the American public about the essentials of a healthy diet. Its symbol depicts a traditional place setting, consisting of a plate and a glass divided into five food groups—fruits, grains, vegetables, protein, and dairy.

The MyPlate formulation is the latest in over 110 years of nutrition guides from the USDA and is an attempt to find a way to present basic nutrition advice in a format that is easily understood by most people. The basic message is that you should attempt to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, the other half with grain products and protein sources, and serve the meal with a glass of a healthful dairy drink such as milk.

The guide breaks portions down even further. The USDA recommends that each meal should consist of 30% grains, 30% vegetables, 20% fruits, and 20% protein, along with a dairy drink or cup of yogurt. The guidelines also suggest that you should favor lower-fat protein sources such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts, and that the overall meal should be low in saturated fats, trans fats, nutritional cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.

The MyPlate guidelines and symbol replace several other guidelines that the USDA has developed in the past. In 1943, the USDA published the “Basic Seven,” dividing foods into seven different food groups one should eat to receive proper nutrition. In 1956, the USDA simplified their recommendations as the “Basic Four,” defining the four food groups as vegetables and fruits, milk, meat, and cereals and breads. In 1992, the USDA introduced the “Food Pyramid,” which suggested the recommended weekly portions of each of these food groups: six to eleven servings of grains at the base of the pyramid, three to five servings of vegetables, two to four servings of fruits, and two to three servings of meats. Fats and oils were relegated to the apex of the pyramid, and were recommended to be used more sparingly. Finally, in 2005, the USDA updated its nutrition guide with “MyPyramid,” which replaced the hierarchical levels of food groups with wedges that were intended to visually suggest the recommended serving sizes.

While every nutrition guide involves trade-offs and compromises, most experts believe the current MyPlate recommendations communicate the right ideas and are easier to understand than prior ones. The USDA sees this as central to its mission: to inform the public about nutrition in a way that it can intuitively grasp without much reading or study. The new guidelines are intended for the general public over the age of two and are not intended as a therapeutic diet for any specific health condition. The USDA recommends that individuals with special nutritional needs consult their healthcare provider to determine a proper diet for them.