Improved brain performance and fewer headaches Even with mild dehydration – as little as 2% fluid loss – can affect memory, mood, concentration, and reaction time. Drinking enough water can have a positive effect on cognition, stabilize your emotions, and even combat feelings of anxiety. This is especially important for older adults who are at higher risk for both dehydration and impaired cognitive function. Dehydration symptoms in seniors can mimic signs of dementia. Cognitive function is enhanced when brain cells are well hydrated. In addition, Even a mild fluid loss can cause the brain to contract away from the skull, leading to headaches and migraines in some individuals. Keeping well-hydrated may help reduce headaches.
Digestive harmony Dehydration can cause constipation. Staying hydrated and a high-fiber diet benefit digestion. By breaking down soluble fiber from diet, the bulk helps bowel movements stay regular. Human body needs water to digest food properly. Lack of water can lead to gas, bloating, heartburn, gastritis, acid reflux, and in some cases, ulcers, as the stomach doesn’t have enough water to produce digestive acid. Research has shown that drinking water can help limit acid reflux symptoms by temporarily raising the stomach pH. Drinking water also keeps the mouth clean and reduces tooth decay. Hydration maintains moisture in mouth, nose, and eyes as well.
Cardiovascular health Blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood carries oxygen over the body. When not drink enough glasses of water, it becomes concentrated, which can cause an imbalance of vital minerals (electrolytes). These minerals, like potassium and sodium, are key to the proper functioning of heart.
Energy level Dehydration can slow down circulation and affect the flow of oxygen to the brain. A lack of fluids can also cause heart to work harder to pump oxygen all throughout the body. All of that expended energy can make you feel tired, sluggish, and less focused. Drinking enough water is a simple way to keep your energy level up through the day.
Kidney function and urinary tract health maintenance Kidneys are responsible for filtering out blood by removing waste and keeping fluid and electrolytes balance. Kidney function diminishes as we age. Staying well hydrated helps to keep kidneys functioning to the best of their ability. Kidney stones are clumps of mineral crystals that form in the urinary tract. Adequate daily water intake can help dilute the concentration of minerals in urinary tract and reduce the risk of stone formation. Some avoid drinking water to reduce bathroom trips. However, decreased fluids may increase risk of urinary tract infections, as sufficient urine output flushing out waste and bacteria from urinary tract.
Decreased joint pain The cartilages in human joints contain approximately 80% water. Staying hydrated helps joints stay well-lubricated, this helps reduce friction by creating more of a “cushion” between the bones. Less friction means smoother-moving joints and fewer aches and pains in your knees, ankles, hips, and other joints.
Better temperature regulation Research shows that when dehydrated, human body stores more heat. This, in turn, lowers the ability to tolerate hot temperatures. Drinking plenty of water helps body produce sweat when overheated during activity, which in turn cools the body down. This built-in cooling system is critical in preventing heat stroke and other potentially deadly heat-related conditions.
Improved detoxification and positive effect on immunity Sufficient water intake supports body’s natural detoxification systems, which remove waste and harmful substances through urination, breathing, perspiration and bowel movements. An added benefit of drinking water is its positive effect on immunity. Consuming adequate fluids helps keep you healthy by helping your body naturally rid itself of bacteria and other toxins. Supporting your own powerful, built-in detox processes can help enhance your overall health.
Strategy for weight loss Adequate water consumption is as important to achieving your weight-loss goals as a healthy eating strategy. It’s a fact that we lose our sense of thirst with age. Older adults may have decreased thirst. Drink water regularly and pay close attention for cues from your body. Sip on water often will help replenish hydration needs. Sip before eating to keep your calorie counts down. Water takes a few minutes to actually hydrate your body when you drink, but water quenches your thirst and filling up almost immediately. You’ll be one step closer to your weight-loss goals.
The popular question - how much water to drink a day?
11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day for women 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men
This includes fluids from water, beverages like teas and juice, and from food. You get an average of 20 percent of your water from the foods you eat (i.e., fruits, vegetables, and soups are some of the best food sources of fluid).
While drinking water is important, you can consume a significant amount of water by including a variety of water-rich fruits, vegetables and dairy products in your diet. This is why most people don’t necessarily have to drink a lot of water. As long as you’re eating plenty of water-rich foods and drinking water when you feel thirsty, you won’t have a problem staying hydrated. However, drinking too much water can be harmful. To learn more, go to knowing when doing more is harm than good.
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