Hydrate for Better Health
Adequate hydration is critical to good health, particularly as it relates to aging.
Afterall, water makes up about half of your body weight, and 90% of your blood volume.
Following are several health benefits related to staying well-hydrated.
- Better Brain Health
Your brain depends on water to function properly. Without water, brain cells don’t get the oxygen they need. Being as little as 2% dehydrated can affect cognitive performance and cause symptoms such as:
- Poor concentration
- Issues with mood (such as depression and mood swings)
- Long-term and short-term memory problems
Staying hydrated improves mood, keeps your mind sharp, prevents brain fog, and even reduces the incidence of headaches.
Fatigue can be an indication that you’re not drinking enough water. A lack of water doesn’t just deprive your brain of oxygen, thereby causing mental fatigue. It also makes your heart work harder to supply oxygen to the rest of your body, causing physical fatigue.
Increasingly, medical research has shown how important gut health is for overall health. And water is necessary for gut health. A gut that is adequately hydrated helps your body to absorb nutrients and keeps your immune system strong. Proper hydration also helps your digestive tract to break down soluble fiber, and generally helps it to stay in good working order.
Healthy cartilage is vitally important because it cushions and protects your joints.
Because cartilage is about 80% water, adequate hydration is essential for maintaining joints that are healthy and pain-free.
Water boosts your metabolism and keeps you feeling full in between meals. Studies have shown that increasing your water intake by just 1% can result in fewer calories consumed per day, especially from sugar and fats.
Kidney stones are clusters of mineral crystals that can build up within the kidneys. When they pass through the urinary tract, it can be quite painful. Because water dilutes the concentration of these minerals, drinking more water can go a long way toward preventing kidney stones.
Water also flushes bacteria from the urinary tract, helping to prevent urinary tract infections.
As noted above, your blood is mostly made up of water. This means that when you are dehydrated, your heart works harder to pump blood throughout your body.
A lack of water also makes your blood more concentrated. This can cause an imbalance in important electrolytes like sodium and potassium, both of which are necessary for healthy heart function.
Every day your body takes in toxins. No matter how hard you may try to avoid them, toxins in the environment are an unfortunate fact of modern-day life. Thanks to your liver and kidneys, these toxins are for the most part removed from your body. However, being dehydrated can make it harder for your liver and kidneys to do this important work.
How Much Water Do You Need?
There are various recommendations for how much water a person needs each day. The standard advice is 64 fluid ounces per day. However, some experts recommend taking one-third or one-half of your body weight in pounds and drinking one once of water for every pound.
This may sound like a lot, but there is a work around. Coffee, tea, soup, and any other liquids you consume count toward that total. So does the water in fruits and vegetables.
If remembering to drink enough water is a challenge for you, there are apps you can put on your phone that will help remind you.
In the end, the health benefits of consuming enough water are worth the effort.
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