At Brillia Health, we believe in taking a holistic approach to whole mind and body health. That being said, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is staying hydrated. Staying hydrated by drinking the requisite eight glasses a day and then some is vital to your mind and body health. How big of an impact, though, does water really have on your overall physical and mental well-being? To fully comprehend water’s significance in correlation to your health, check out the top eight benefits of drinking water below.
Improves Your Mood
Dehydration throws off the delicate balance between dopamine and serotonin in the brain, two chemicals that influence feelings of depression and anxiety. If you’re feeling a bit down, try drinking a few glasses of water to restore the balance and give yourself a quick mood boost.
Headache is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, your brain loses water, thereby causing it to shrink and pull away from the skull. When this happens, the brain’s pain receptors go off, resulting in a headache. To make matters worse, dehydration also affects the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, as it causes your blood volume to drop. However, you can quickly change your blood volume by replenishing with water and rehydrating your system. By doing so, you can reverse these negative effects that come with dehydration and relieve your headache without taking any medications.
The initial study on water and metabolism followed 14 men and women and tracked their metabolism rates after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. The results were stunning. Within 10 minutes of drinking that much water, participants’ metabolic rates jumped 30%. The results peaked at between 35 and 40 minutes and lasted for well over one hour.
Timing is important though. According to another study, participants who drank water before a meal lost 44% more weight over a 12-week span than those who didn’t.
Aids in Digestion
Not only should you drink water before a meal but also, you should enjoy a glass afterward as well. Water helps to break down food and makes it easier for the body to digest it. It also softens the stool and helps to prevent constipation.
Helps Your Brain Function Optimally
According to studies, even mild dehydration — which refers to just a 1-3% dip in the body’s water levels — can drastically impair brain function. The studies found that mild fluid loss in women was associated with moodiness and reduced concentration, while a comparative dip in men’s levels correlated with increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue and impaired memory.
Maximizes Physical Performance
Athletes lose as much as 6-10% of their body’s water content during a single exercise, yet research shows that it takes only a 2% dip to affect physical performance. Adverse effects of dehydration when working out include reduced motivation, altered body temperature and increased fatigue. You can reverse these effects or prevent them entirely by staying properly hydrated before, during and after working out.
May Prevent Kidney Stones
In some individuals, chronic dehydration may contribute to the development of kidney stones. If you are prone to kidney stones, drinking adequate amounts of water each day may help to prevent them.
Boosts Energy Levels
By the time you feel thirsty, your body has already lost as much as 3% of its total body fluid. A dip even this minor can lead to lower blood volumes, meaning your heart has to pump harder to get blood (and, therefore, oxygen) to the brain. All of this can result in increased fatigue. You can easily undo these effects by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
In addition to the eight important health benefits above, water carries oxygen to your cells, allowing your body’s systems to function properly while simultaneously working to remove toxins and prevent future buildup of toxins. In turn, you’re boosting your immune system, staying healthy, and/or helping your body recover from an illness simply by drinking water throughout the day. However, flu season is upon us and sometimes water itself isn’t quite enough. If you can relate, pay closer attention to making sure you are staying hydrated if you feel a cold/flu coming on, and take the most powerful and effective over-the-counter cold and flu medicine that works with your body's immune system to reduce your symptoms and reduce the duration of your cold/flu.