The link between hydration, health, and happiness
All of us know how important it is to drink water. This is because water is the key to life. Every single cell, tissue, and organ of your body needs water for proper functioning. Water is necessary for your major corporal processes like metabolism of nutrients, regulation of temperature, lubrication of joints, better cognitive functioning, and many other. If you aren’t drinking enough water, you may be risking your health badly. How? Let’s find out.
This article presents a comprehensive link between hydration and health. It enumerates that why it is important to stay hydrated and what could be the consequences if you don’t. But before that let’s dig into what is hydration.
What is hydration?
The scientific definition of hydration is the process of causing something to absorb water. In simple terms, hydration refers to the absorption of the water, which you drink, within your body. For instance, you drink water daily, right? What do you think it is doing in your body? Well, it goes to each and every cell of your body and is being absorbed for proper functioning. This process is called hydration and if you are providing enough water to your body, you are said to be hydrated.
Why it is important to stay hydrated?
Hydration is something more than just drinking and absorption of water. It is crucial for the proper functioning of a living body. Majority of the biochemical processes occurring in our body require an aqueous medium to occur. So, water is necessary! Also, hydration is a must for the delivery of nutrients to the cells. Proper hydration keeps your body temperature right, strengthens your immune system, and improves cognitive functioning. If you are hydrated enough, you’ll be sleeping properly, have a good mood, not likely to catch many infections, etc.
Here is a little detail about how can staying hydrated transform your health.
Hydration ensure good heart health
The heart is one of the strongest muscles of living beings. It continuously pumps blood throughout the body and works 24/7 until you die. Many factors may contribute to the overworking of your heart and dehydration is one of them. If you don’t drink enough water, your blood volume is likely to lower. It causes your heart to work fast and harder thus making it prone to strokes, cardiac arrests, and other diseases. On the other hand, drinking an ample amount of water daily can save you from such cardiovascular risks.
Hydration lubricates your joints for easy motion
If you are into sports or some intense physical activity, you must have noticed your doctor or trainer tell you to drink more and more water. This is because water helps to improve your muscles and joints so that they can respond well to physical activities. A lesser amount of water may cause dehydration followed by muscle cramps and stiffness of joints which is very painful. Well-lubricated joints and muscles make motion easy.
Hydration cleanses your body
Do you that the food you eat, beverages you drink, and the environment you live in have a wide variety of contaminants in them. And these contaminants enter your body as toxins causing physical imbalances and making you feel tired and fatigued. Drinking enough water and staying hydrated cleanse your body. Water helps your kidneys with filtration of all types of waste and toxins from your blood and excrete them out. The more water you drink, the more waste will be excreted out and you’ll feel refreshed.
Hydration strengthens your immune system
Hydration can help you treat different illnesses because it strengthens your immunity. In fact, water is considered one of the safest and natural immune boosters. When you are sick, your body is fighting the germs that have entered to cause the disease. If you are taking in enough water, it becomes easy to get rid of these germs because water has an excellent cleansing effect. It provides an adequate environment for your immune cells to function and thus aiding a speedy recovery.
Hydration causes weight loss
Drinking enough water can cause you to lose weight healthily. It keeps your stomach satisfied and thus prevents unnecessary and untimely food cravings.
How dehydration affects the brain and cognition?
As mentioned above, hydration is crucial for the working of all the cells in our body. Similarly, your brain cells need an adequate amount of water for proper working as well and dehydration can sometimes be very dangerous for cognitive functions. For instance, mild dehydration can disturb your mood, ability to concentrate, memory, and cause headache, anxiety, fatigue, etc. Even 1-3% loss of water can hamper your cognitive abilities.
Adults with a dehydrated brain exhibit signs of enhanced neuronal activation during cognitive tasks. It indicates that their brains have to work harder than normal to get the task done. This can possibly link dehydration with declined cognitive performance. Also, a meta-analysis of almost 33 studies links dehydration to impaired attention, poor motor coordination, and lessened cognitive functioning.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration
As dehydration poses significant harm to human health, it is necessary to recognize and treat it at its earliest. Common symptoms that signify the likelihood of dehydration include;
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Dark yellow urine
- Sleepiness and fatigue
- Headache and confusion
- Feelings of drinking more and more water
- Little or no tears when crying
If you are experiencing most of these symptoms, you’re most probably dehydrating. It is time that you start drinking enough water to avoid major complications.
Ways to stay hydrated
There are many simple ways of staying healthy and hydrated. Doctors and nutritionists recommend that;
- Men should drink 13 cups of water daily
- Women should drink nine cups of water daily
- Children and teens must have 6-8 cups of water every day
You don’t need to drink plain water only. You can fulfill your water content by eating a good portion of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Google out some hydrating food and include them in your diet. You can also make juices and smoothies. You can also add a slice of lemon or lime to your drinking water. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere and drink as much water as you can. Just like your everyday meal schedule, make your water schedule as well and follow it strictly. You will start noticing the wonders of water in no time!
After receiving his undergraduate degree in psychology, Scott went on to work as a teacher and educational counselor while working towards his master’s degree. He has spent several years working with children and adults and has personal experience with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Dyslexia, and Depression.