Here’s 5 Ways Hydration Can Significantly Enhance Your Life.

We’ve all heard it’s important to drink lots of water everyday right? Here are some great reasons that will make you want to drink more water!

Your daily actions add up to your life, and here are 5 reasons you’ll want to make hydrating a big part of your daily success habits. If you have children or elders in your life help them stay hydrated too, they feel the results of dehydration even faster than adults. (1)

What Is Hydration?
If we’re going to talk about something vitally important for our health and well-being, we better make sure we’re all on the same page as to what it means. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hydrate as: 1. to cause to take up or combine with water or the elements of water. 2 : to supply with ample fluid or moisture.

1.- Immune System Boost
Looking to increase your health and immunity? Hydrate!

Researchers have found that drinking water and staying hydrated helps your immune system stay strong in many important ways, let’s look at three of the main ones.

First, water carries oxygen to the cells of your tissues and organs. This allows them to function optimally, including those cells key for your immunity such as white blood cells. Secondly, water helps your kidneys expel toxins from your body. If you are dehydrated, your body will have a harder time getting rid of waste products and then toxins can build up which can lead to all sorts of problems. Third, water helps in the production of lymph which is critical to carry your infection fighting cells through your body to fight infection.

2.- Brain Boost
In a fog and can’t think straight? Try hydrating.

Experts say the human brain is made of around 75% water. Dehydration causes the level of energy production in the brain to decrease and can lead to symptoms like loss of focus and poor concentration, headaches and poor short-term memory – and you got it, moodiness. One study in young women found better hydration equaled better mood. (2)  Water is necessary for the production of serotonin, a natural neurotransmitter which helps regulate anxiety and happiness. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with depression and anxiety.

Lower Your Stress: Studies have also shown that dehydration leads to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, making it more difficult to deal with challenging issues. (3) With proper hydration researchers have found people to feel greater alertness, enhanced memory function, happiness and contentedness. Proper hydration also improves sleep which is critical to overall mental health and well-being.

So the next time you need a mental BOOST, grab the water instead of the caffeine!

3.- Boost Your EnergyHydrate to feel great!
Water keeps a steady flow of nutrients to your cells which helps your energy making cells do their job. Dehydration can leave you feeling drained and tired. Having less water in your system leads to fatigue because the low water concentration impacts the flow of oxygen to the brain. Being dehydrated also causes your heart to work harder to pump oxygen to your tissues and organs not only making you more tired, but also less alert and focused as we discussed above. Water lost through sweating due to heat stress decreases the water content of plasma increasing blood viscosity (thickness), which is why your heart has to work harder. By keeping hydrated, your cells can work at their optimal level allowing you to have more energy.

4.- Improve Physical Performance – for Everyone!
Awareness of the importance of hydration for athletes has been a big thing for a long time. But what about the rest of us who aren’t running or cycling long distances daily? Well, it’s essential for us too. Your body is made up of about 60% water, so your cells, tissues and organs need a lot of water to function properly.

The amazing thing is, even normal daily activities cause significant water loss through perspiration, urine and breathing, even if you live in a cooler climate.

Lower than normal hydration levels can cause changes in your internal temperature regulation, and cardiovascular, metabolic, and central nervous function. Hydrating replenishes the fluids lost during daily activities including exercise.

Sweating is the main way our body’s control our internal temperature and studies show a loss of sweat equal to 2% of body weight causes a noticeable decrease of physical performance (4). One of the major way’s hydration impacts physical performance is through its effect on your muscles and joints. Water acts a lubricant in these tissues so hydrating will help you prevent cramps and allow your muscle cells to function well during training or competition. It is important to be hydrated before, during and after physical activity to achieve your maximal physical performance.

5.- Use This Weight Control Ally!
Research shows that drinking a glass of water before meals curbs appetite, helping you eat less and feel more satisfied. When the stomach senses that it is full, it sends signals to the brain to stop eating.  Also, drinking more water can help you drink less of the high calorie sugary drinks that cause weight gain. Replacing even a few high-calorie drinks each day for water or other low-calorie beverages, can provide long-term weight loss benefits.

Curb your snacking with water. You may think you are hungry when you’re actually thirsty. Drinking a glass of water first can decrease your trips to the snack cupboard. Drinking cold water may further enhance water’s calorie-burning benefits, because the body expends energy, or calories, by heating up the water for digestion.

Research has shown that hydrating and increasing your water consumption can lead to an increased metabolism, the rate which people burn calories versus storing them as fat. Your body also needs water to properly metabolize stored fat and carbohydrates.

And ladies, you’ll be glad to know this: Drinking more water helps your body stop retaining water. Why? Your body is always trying to achieve homeostasis or balance. If you’re verging on dehydration, your body will work to retain more water in an attempt to prevent water levels from becoming too low.

So How Much Should I Drink?
The recommended water consumption can vary based on your sex, age, weight, activity level, and climate.  In general, women are recommended to drink about 90 ounces/11 cups or 2.7 L of fluids per day and men can aim to drink125 ounces /16 cups or 3.7 L per day.

I hope this information helps you feel your best and stay healthy!

Nancy Phillips, Kinesiologist, MBA
V.P. Prevention & Wellness Division
Pharmaris Canada

1.Water, Hydration and Health
Nutr Rev. 2010 Aug; 68(8): 439–458. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/

2.Habitual Total Water Intake and Dimensions of Mood in Healthy Young Women
2015 Sep;92:81-6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25963107/

3.Hydration State Controls Stress Responsiveness and Social Behavior
Journal of Neuroscience 6 April 2011, https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6078-10.2011

4. Jeukendrup, Asker, and Michael Gleeson. “Dehydration and Its Effects on Performance.”Humankinetics. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2015.