If you've been feeling run down or less sharp than usual, you may have a problem hiding in plain site. According to a CBS report, around 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Although most are aware of the recommended 8 glasses per day, few are getting that much—and soda could be partly to blame. Dehydration can lead to a host of physical health problems—kidney stones, stomach issues, fever, etc. However, the brain can be especially vulnerable when you don’t get enough water. Dehydration effects on the brain can range from cognitive impairment to cognitive shrinking.
On the flip side, the benefits of drinking lots of water can noticeably affect the way you look, feel, and think. Staying hydrated can impact your focus, energy levels, and even the appearance of your skin. Scroll down to learn more about the benefits of hydration—for the body and especially the brain.
Dehydration Is A Bigger Deal Than We Realize
Unless we’re crawling through a desert, we don’t tend to think of dehydration as a serious issue. But as it turns out, not getting enough water regularly can have some major damaging effects, especially on the health of our brains. Here are a few of the cognitive effects of dehydration.
Memory Impairment — Dehydration can negatively affect our short term memory and ability to recall past events.
Reduced Focus — Lack of H20 can actually impact how brain cells work. Research shows that when we are thirsty, our attention and focus begins to wane.
“Dry Brain” — Dehydration can actually cause brain cells to contract. Similar to the leaves of a plant, your brain may begin to dry out and contract the longer you go without water.
The Positive Benefits Of Water For Your Brain
Dehydration can have some pretty scary effects on the brain. On the other hand, making sure you get enough water can have major benefits. Here is a list of some of the ways staying hydrated can benefit your cognitive health.
Balanced Mood — Some studies have indicated that there may be a connection between dehydration and mood disturbances. However, good hydration rids the brain of toxins and dead cells. It can also assist the balance of chemical processes in the brain, which can help regulate stress and anxiety.
Boosted Energy — It has been said that water is the best energy drink on the market. Unlike many sugary energy drinks, there is no ‘kick’ in water to make you run faster. However, staying hydrated can ensure that your body runs efficiently and that you feel less tired. Making sure you get enough water can leave you with steadier energy throughout the day.
Better Sleep — According to the National Sleep Foundation, going to bed even mildly dehydrated can impact your sleep. If you’re hydrated properly, it could have an impact on the quality of your sleep. Drinking enough water can aid circulation and blood flow to the brain, which can help you get a better night’s rest.
Greater Concentration — Drinking enough water will help ensure that your brain is getting what it needs to perform optimally. Hydration will make the exchange of nutrients more efficient and boost overall concentration and alertness.
The Benefits Of Water Go Beyond The Brain
Although there are many brain-related reasons to stay hydrated, drinking water can have several other benefits for your health. Here are just a few other good reasons to keep your water bottle handy.
• Drinking water may improve the appearance of your skin by helping to lock in moisture.
• Water and foods high in water may help control calories.
• Water may help your muscles perform better.
• Water helps your kidneys and bowels function properly.
How To Up Your Water Intake
If the thought of downing glass after glass of water is daunting, don’t worry. There are some easy strategies you can employ to make sure you get all of the water you need. Here are just a few simple suggestions to increase your water intake.
Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. — Many fruits and vegetables, like grapes, apples, watermelon, etc. contain high amounts of water. Just be sure to consider sugar levels and how it may fit into your meal plan.
Carry a bottle of water with you at all times. — A water bottle is a great investment. It will save you money from buying drinks on the go. It also can be a steady source of hydration for you in between meals.
Drink water before, during and after your workout! — You’re going to be thirsty anyway; take advantage of it!
Things You Can Do To Help Your Brain Perform At Its Best
It’s little wonder that water is so important for your brain: the brain itself is actually 80% water! So it stands to reason that you need to stay hydrated to keep it running well.
If you’re concerned about your brain health or if you just want to perform at your best mentally, there are many things you can do. For one thing, consider ways to increase more ‘brain foods’ in your diet.
If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration to improve your health, then keep reading here at procerahealth.com. We’ve got articles and news on a range of health topics, and all of it is geared to help you feel and perform your best.