Water—To Your Health
Hydration is vital for your body and your brain
STUDIES SHOW THAT drinking enough water fends off health problems from head to toe. How much water depends on many factors: your weight, the climate where you live, how often you exercise. The old rule of thumb of eight, 8-ounce glasses a day is not a bad place to start.
The clearest sign that you’re well hydrated is transparent yellow or pale urine. If yours is a darker yellow, you probably need to drink more water. An even better gauge may be how you feel. Water can be a potent elixir for your mind and body. Here’s a look at the ways being well hydrated can help your health.
YOU’LL HAVE LOTS OF ENERGY Water helps keep up a steady flow of nutrients into your cells, which boosts
your energy. When you’re dehydrated, this flow is hampered as cell membranes become less permeable, affecting your physical and mental performance making you feel sluggish. This is according to a review of hydration research conducted by scientists at University of North Carolina and Tufts University, U.S.
YOU’LL FEEL STRONG WHEN
YOU WORK OUT
Water helps your muscles keep the right balance of electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, to function properly. Without water, your muscles can be more prone to cramping. Research suggests that even low levels of dehydration may impair physical performance.
YOU MIGHT LOSE WEIGHT
A new study from the University of Illinois, U.S. involving more than 18,000 adults found that when people increased their daily water intake by one to three cups (on top of the four they drank on average), they ate less: Their food intake dropped by as much as 205 calories a day.
YOUR MEMORY MAY IMPROVE Your brain is hugely dependent on fluid—all those synapses and neurons need liquid to fire properly. According to a review published in the journal Nutrients, studies have consistently found that memory and attention improve in children after they take a drink of water. The research is less clear whether this holds true for adults.
YOU’LL MORE EASILY KICK
There’s a reason your doctor tells you to drink more when you’re coming down with something. Your body has to launch an attack against germs when you’re sick, and your cells need more fluid to keep up with the demand. Drinking water also helps loosen mucus and keep your nose and throat moist.
YOU’LL KEEP THINGS REGULAR “Water interacts with dietary fiber in the digestive tract to bulk stools,” says Jordan J. Karlitz, MD, FACG, professor of clinical medicine at Tulane Cancer Center, Louisiana, United States. By staying hydrated, you can reduce the risk of constipation.
TIRED OF DRINKING WATER? Consider upping your hydration game by making your “brew” sparkling or fruit flavored – but be sure not to add artificial sugars, and steer clear of tonic water, which has added sodium and sugar. You can also munch on fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes, and cherries.
Herbal teas, milk, and sports drinks can help you stay hydrated as long as they’re not overly caffeinated or sugary.