It’s easy to roll your eyes when people emphasize the importance of drinking water. “Of course drinking water is important,” you might think. “When I’m thirsty, I have a drink. Isn’t that enough?” Generally, yes. Our bodies are pretty good at judging when we need to rehydrate, and that “8 glasses of water a day” rule lacks a scientific basis. However, it’s also true that water makes up two-thirds of our body weight and even mild dehydration can have negative consequences. If you’re the type of person who often forgets to drink water until they’re desperately thirsty, scroll down to learn about the importance of hydration.
The Importance of Hydration
Mild dehydration is common, especially amongst seniors. Around age 60 our bodies’ thirst mechanisms begin to lose sensitivity, making it more difficult for us to feel thirsty. So as you get older, it’s important to pay attention to your fluid consumption habits and ensure that you’re drinking enough water to meet your body’s requirements. Remember that it’s also important to drink more water on days that you exercise and days with warmer temperatures because when your body sweats, it loses hydration.
If you doubt the importance of hydration, keep in mind that it can affect all of the following aspects of your health:
Dehydration can cause a part of the brain to swell, which impedes its function. This may make it more difficult to complete simple tasks and problem solving, and it also may lower a person’s performance level for these tasks. Although more research is needed to make more conclusive statements, this study conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology gives some food for thought.
Some studies have found that drinking more water can help people maintain their weight or lose weight. We don’t know exactly why this happens, however. Some say that drinking water before a meal will help you eat less because the water will make you feel fuller. Others point to the fact that people trying to drink more water often substitute water for other drinks, including sugary juices and high-calorie sodas. Whatever the reason, try drinking more water if you’re trying to lose some excess weight.
Mood & Energy Levels
Even mild dehydration can affect our mood and energy levels. If you often feel cranky or tired, you may simply need to drink more water. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition looked at the mood, concentration, and mental skills of participants who were either properly hydrated or mildly dehydrated. Those who were mild dehydrated exhibited a sense of fatigue, low mood, and loss of focus.
Now that you understand the importance of hydration, remember to listen to your body. When you’re thirsty, have a drink of water. It’s as simple as that. And if you’re having trouble drinking just water, try injecting some flavor by slicing up fruit and herbs and adding them to your glass. Lemon, cucumber, strawberries, oranges, and watermelon all make great additions. As for herbs, we recommend some fresh mint, basil, or rosemary.
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