Your mom told you to do it. Your coach told you to do it. Your roommate. Your trainer. But how many days in a week do you actually drink enough water? If you make and keep one resolution this year, make it a focus on hydration. Our friends at Food Matters are breaking down just how vital this habit can be for breaking through brain fog and being more focused and productive day after day…
Over 70 percent of the human body is composed of water and every single function in the body relies upon proper hydration, including the activities of the brain and nervous system. Lack of water to the brain can cause numerous side effects, such as difficulty with focus, memory, brain fatigue and brain fog, as well as headaches, sleep issues, anxiety, depression and moodiness. What most people don’t realize is that the average adult loses up to two liters of water a day through sweating, breathing and eliminating waste. If you are not topping up your body with water throughout the day, then this can have a dramatic effect on your brain function and overall health.
About three-quarters of your brain is composed of water, and when dehydrated, your brain actually shrinks in volume. Even mild or temporary dehydration can alter your brain function and impact your mood. Studies have shown that if your brain drops even just two percent in body water, you may suffer from fuzzy short-term memory, experience problems with focusing, and have trouble with calculations. Further studies have shown that prolonged dehydration can lead to increased cholesterol, rapid heartrate or breathing, low blood pressure, premature aging and even dementia.
Water gives the brain the electrical energy for all brain functions, including thought and memory processes. Studies have shown that brain cells require twice the amount of energy than other cells in the body and that water provides this energy more effectively than any other substance. Water is also essential for delivering nutrients to the brain and for removing toxins, which also impact on levels of alertness and concentration.
Fortunately, when brain fog and fatigue set in, there is a quick and simple solution.
Within only 20 minutes of drinking water, these side effects are reversed. Dehydration-induced headaches are also rapidly alleviated once you rehydrate. When your brain is functioning on a full reserve of water, you will be able to think faster and experience greater clarity, focus and creativity.
The average person in the U.S. drinks less than a liter of water a day. This is a concerning statistic considering the body loses over two liters a day in its normal functioning. There are several symptoms to watch for that can alert you to the fact that your body is dehydrated.
SYMPTOMS OF DEHYDRATION
Infrequent or dark urination
Water requirements vary depending on age, activity level, climate and other factors, but using thirst as a guide to how much water you need to drink is one obvious way to ensure your individual needs are met on a daily basis. Excessive hunger (sugar cravings in particular) is another common sign your body needs more water. Often, drinking a big glass of water will alleviate cravings and help you to feel satiated, balanced and clear.
The busy nature of modern life can mean that staying hydrated isn’t as easy as it should be. Learning to factor adequate water intake into your day is an essential way to avoid dehydration.
HOW TO STAY HYDRATED DAILY
Wake Up WIth Water. Start your day off right for optimal brain function by drinking 1-2 big glasses of water as soon as you wake up.
Tote it everywhere. Keep a bottle of water near you and at your desk throughout the day, especially if you have a job that requires a lot of mental activity.
Swap it in. Swap out soda, coffee, milk, juice and other liquids for water. These drinks do not offer your body and brain the same level of hydration as water. In fact, soda and coffee actually contribute to dehydration.
Amp it up. Try adding a super green powder to your water. This can improve alkalinity and enhance brain function.
Check your temp. Interestingly, cold water absorbs 20 percent faster than tepid water, so to increase the speed of recuperation, drink chilled water opposed to room temperature water.
Always filtered. In addition, the type of water you drink is extremely important. Try to enjoy filtered drinking water over tap water when possible.
Add some flavor. If you don’t like drinking plain water, then you can add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a few sprigs of fresh mint or a cucumber or orange slice. A few frozen berries are also nice, especially in the warmer weather. Learn to make infused water here.
There are a lot of expensive health remedies on the market today, but making sure you are drinking plenty of water is a simple and cost-effective way to promote good health. While the human body can survive a surprising long time without food, dehydration will cause your health to deteriorate rather quickly. So when you feel brain fog starting to close in on you, reach for a big glass of water and within just twenty minutes you should notice the improved difference.
Learn more about brain health from Dr. Mark Hyman’s new docuseries, Broken Brain here!