Hydration is essential for managing postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), dysautonomia & orthostatic intolerance symptoms. Here are 9 top tips I follow to stay hydrated and help ease my symptoms, including the specific drinks I consume and avoid, the best time to consume fluids and the foods which help me stay hydrated.
Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only. I’m not a qualified practitioner and I’m not encouraging anyone else to do this. Please consult a qualified practitioner before implementing these things or changing your current treatment plan. This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you I earn commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. See my full disclaimer here.
POTS and dehydration – importance of staying hydrated
When researching POTS syndrome natural treatments, fluid intake to maintain hydration was the first thing I read about that is essential to manage symptoms. Dehydration activates the sympathetic nervous system and stress response, which raises heart rates and increases symptoms. In contrast, consuming sufficient fluids has numerous benefits:-
- Increases blood volume and the blood returned to the heart and brain, relieving symptoms (1),
- Improved concentration, memory and alertness,
- Reduced fatigue,
- Increased energy levels,
- Thins the blood, which increases the rate toxins and other waste products are removed from the body,
- Increases blood flow and delivery of oxygen round the body, which is critical for optimal function and healing (2).
9 tips that help me stay hydrated
Below are 9 hydration tips which I find are best for keeping me hydrated and easing my POTS syndrome symptoms.
Tip 1). How Much To Drink
To maintain hydration for POTS it’s normally recommended to consume 2-3 litres of water each day (I find 3 litres is best for me but the optimal amount will be different for everyone) (1). However, it’s not only the amount I drink but also what I drink and when I drink that helps control my symptoms.
Drinks I avoid and consume
Tip 2). Drinks I Avoid
I avoid any drink containing alcohol, caffeine, sugar or inflammatory preservatives and additives.
- Alcohol is a diuretic, which increases the amount of water removed from the body, causing dehydration.
- It widens blood vessels, lowering the amount of blood pumped back to the heart and brain, which can increase symptoms.
Caffeine (tea, coffee, matcha, green tea and energy drinks)
- Caffeine is also a diuretic, which can cause dehydration.
- Increase the heart rate, which can increase symptoms.
- Stresses the adrenal glands, which can reduce energy levels and increase fatigue.
Energy/sports drinks (Lucozade, Gatorade, Red Bull etc.)
- These contain caffeine and refined sugars, which cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, increasing symptoms.
- They also contain artificial ingredients, which can increase inflammation.
Store bought squash and flavoured or sparkling water
- These contain artificial flavourings, sweeteners and preservatives, which can increase inflammation.
Fizzy drinks (cola, lemonade, pepsi)
- These are high in refined sugar and preservatives.
- Store bought and even homemade fruit juice removes the fibre, leaving a concentrated source of sugar, which can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, increasing symptoms.
Tip 3). Drinks I Consume
Drinks with electrolytes keep you hydrated longer than plain water alone (3). For POTS salt intake is typically recommended – adding sodium to your water increases blood pressure and helps retain the fluids you consume to stay hydrated (1). However, the type of salt is important. Table salt is refined, meaning it is stripped of vital minerals and other important electrolytes like magnesium, potassium and calcium.
Instead, it is recommended to use:-
These are unrefined and contain not only sodium but the other trace minerals and electrolytes to help keep you hydrated (4).
If like me, you have hyperadrenic POTS, where your blood pressure goes up too high, then adding salt to your drinks is not recommended (5). Instead, I make my own homemade POTS electrolyte drink. Regardless of the type, I find the best hydration drink for POTS contains:-
- The juice from half a lemon or lime to every 250 ml/1 cup of water I consume.
- It contains the electrolytes calcium, magnesium and potassium to keep me hydrated,
- It improves the taste of plain water,
- Helps flush toxins from the body,
- Are a source of vitamin C, which supports the immune system.
- I sometimes add coconut water, which is a great source of potassium that helps maintain hydration. Some coconut waters contain added sugar so I use Tiana Fairtrade’s, which is 100% organic coconut water, with no added sugar, additives or preservatives.
Other drinks I consume
- Great coffee alternative, as it’s caffeine free,
- Helps the liver function,
- Good source of fibre, which feeds the good bacteria in your gut, which improves digestion and supports the immune system (18).
There are a range of herbal teas you can drink instead of regular caffeinated teas, which are not only caffeine free but have a range of health benefits:-
- Lemon balm (UK Link/US Link) – reduces stress and anxiety and improves sleep (6).
- Chamomile (UK Link/US Link) – improves sleep and digestion (7).
- Peppermint (UK Link/US Link) – improves digestion and eases nausea (8).
- Lemon and ginger (UK Link/US Link) – relieves nausea and boosts the immune system (9).
- Milk thistle (UK Link/US Link) – improves liver function, helps remove toxins and boosts the immune system (10).
- Dandelion root (UK Link/US Link) – helps liver function and improves digestion (11).
- Burdock root (UK Link/US Link) – improves liver health and helps remove toxins from the body (12).
- Turmeric (UK Link/US Link) – reduces inflammation (13).
- Rooibos (UK Link/US Link) – high in antioxidants, which prevent healthy tissue cells being damaged (14).
- Hibiscus (UK Link/US Link) – helps cleanse the liver, is a great source of antioxidants and vitamin C to support the immune system and protect the body from damage from free radicals (15).
- Rosehips (UK Link/US Link) – rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which helps support our immune system (16).
herbal tea recipes
You can combine these teas into herbal blends like these:-
Green vegetable juices
- Packed full of electrolytes, which aids hydration,
- Flood the body with a concentrated source of nutrients that are easily absorbed,
- Reduce inflammation,
- Improve digestion.
Related Post: 20 Healthy Food & Drink Swaps
Timing of Fluid Intake
As well as the amount and type of drinks I consume, the timing of them is also important for POTS hydration to minimise my symptoms.
Tip 4). First thing in the morning
I drink 500 ml (2 cups) of water with the juice from half a lemon first thing in the morning before getting out of bed. Is POTS worse in the morning for you? First thing in the morning is when my symptoms are worst as, having not consumed any fluids overnight, I’m most dehydrated and my blood volume is lowest (6). Drinking 500ml of water first thing not only increases my blood volume, which helps lower my heart rate and eases my symptoms, allowing me to sit and stand from bed easier, but it also helps flush out toxins that have been removed overnight.
Tip 5). Before having a shower
I drink a small glass of water before having a shower to increase my blood volume. Heat from the shower causes blood vessels to dilate which can lower the amount of blood returned to the heart and brain, increasing my symptoms.
Tip 6). 30 minutes before a meal
I drink a glass (250 ml/1 cup) of warm water, with the juice from half a lemon in, 30 minutes before eating a meal. Eating causes blood to be diverted to the stomach to digest food, and away from controlling blood pressure and heart rate, which can increase POTS symptoms after eating. Drinking a glass of warm lemon water before a meal increases blood volume, which minimises the increase in symptoms I experience after eating (7).
Adding freshly squeezed lemon juice has the following benefits:-
- Increases hydrochloric/stomach acids, which improves digestion,
- Reduces bloating, nausea and other digestive complaints.
- Helps absorb nutrients from the food I eat.
Robyn Youkilis in her book Go With Your Gut recommends to not drink anything else, other than small sips if you need to, until one hour after a meal. Consuming fluids too close to or during a meal achieves the opposite effect and dilutes the digestive enzymes in the stomach, which interferes with digestion.
Related Post: 10 Tips To Improve Digestion
Tip 7). Before going to bed
I drink this Herbal Tea For Sleep & Relaxation 2 hours before going to bed. This minimises the dehydration I experience overnight and helps flush toxins from my body.
Other Hydration Tips
Tip 8). Consume Fruits and Vegetables
To help stay hydrated for POTS diet is also essential. Food is often overlooked as a source of water. However, it provides around 25% of our fluid intake each day and can be a source of electrolytes to help maintain hydration (10). Raw fruits and vegetables have the highest water content, containing 80-95% water. They’re also a great source of fibre, meaning the water is absorbed slower, which keeps me hydrated for longer (11).
Tip 9). Sip Water Regularly, Rather Than Consuming Lots in One Go
Drinking too much water at a time overloads the kidneys, causing more of the fluid to be expelled from the body (12). Instead, sipping and consuming small amounts of fluid regularly throughout the day means the kidneys can process it all without being overworked. This results in me retaining more of the fluids I drink, improving hydration (12).
Other blog posts
In addition to hydration, click to read my other blog posts with other POTS natural treatment tips and strategies that are helping me improve my health and manage my conditions:-
- Managing Symptoms & Flares – 6 Things To Do In Bed
- 10 Free Ways To Improve Your Health
- Morning Routine – 7 Things That Ease My Symptoms In The Morning
- 15 Things To Do In Bed To Ease Anxiety & Stress During Flares
- The Elimination Diet That Eased My Symptoms
- 12 Vagus Nerve Exercises To Improve Physical & Mental Health
- 6 Free Ways To Start A Toxin Free Lifestyle (& Why It’s Important To Improve Health)
- 6 Detox Pathways To Support To Remove Toxins & Help Ease Symptoms
- 15 Easy Ways To Detox Your Home (& How It Can Help Ease Symptoms)
- 10 Tips To Stay Cool & Ease Symptoms In The Summer Heat
- Rest Well – 7 Types Of Rest We Need
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I hope these hydration tips are helpful. What helps you stay hydrated? I’d love to know what benefits you. Leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube.