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Is Drinking Water Enough To Stay Hydrated?

What if we told you that staying hydrated can make you fitter, look younger and beat fatigue? It’s true, drinking more fluids can help you live your best life, here’s how.

By Hima
30 Aug 2022

You might be surprised when you hear that drinking enough fluids is a relatively effortless way to look and feel our best. Research shows that dehydration can negatively impact our cognitive abilities whereas drinking enough fluids can improve our mood, certain cognitive abilities that involve the use of memory and our ability to pay attention to the task at hand.

 

Yes, water helps us to survive and perform at our peak ability. It acts as a lubricant in our joints, creates saliva, tears, and gastric juices, it regulates our body temperature, and so on. However, we are constantly losing water in our bodies through urine, defecation, sweating, and by simply breathing. So, that water needs to be replenished regularly.

 

While hydration is the key to a healthy body, luckily, water is not the only liquid that can help hydrate and nourish the body. So, chugging gallons of water isn’t quite necessary. In fact, drinking too much water is bad; the sodium content in the water gets diluted and kidneys cannot flush out the excess water resulting in a condition called hyponatremia. However, we can get hydrated through a balanced diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits.

 

Fluid imbalance occurs when you lose more water than you take in. Or, on the other side, you drink more than you lose. An increase in water means an increase in blood volume, which makes the heart work harder. People with underlying conditions will not be able to handle the rapid increase in blood volume. So, adequate hydration is important rather than just drinking gallons of water.

 

Related story: Cheers To Antioxidants: Love Crush For Hydration

 

Why is Staying Hydrated Important

The basic function of being hydrated is to keep the electrolytes in our body balanced. Electrolytes can become low or high when the amount of water in the body changes. Electrolytes levels of sodium, potassium, and calcium are crucial to maintain our normal body blood value, our kidney functioning, and our body health. Here are more reasons why hydrating our body is absolutely necessary:

 

1. Flushing Out Toxins From the Body

Our body’s detoxification organs like the liver and kidney require blood or fluid systems to flush out waste materials. Studies show that frequent dehydration will permanently damage the kidney, thereby impeding the kidney’s ability to flush out waste from the body. Meanwhile, the liver is responsible for filtering poisons, chemicals, and drugs from the blood. A study published in the Indian Pediatrics Journal, 2022 also showed that a well hydrated body’s liver can efficiently filter out toxins.

 

2. Enhance Brain Function

Not drinking enough water will take a toll on brain function because water accounts for 75 per cent of brain mass. A study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, 2017 shows that dehydration will impair cognitive performance such as short term and working memory. On the other hand, water helps brain cells to communicate with each other which results in faster decision making and improved cognitive performance, shows a study published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2018.

 

3. Boosts Immune System

Similar to brain function, hydration will help to support communication and biochemical pathways in the immune system. Our immune system completely relies on blood to transport fluids, nutrients, and signals to the organs. Since plasma is mainly made up of water (90 per cent), hydration is very important to support our immune system.

 

4. Supports Nutrient Transportation

Staying hydrated promotes proper blood flow and circulation, thus, delivering oxygen and nutrients to our working muscles. Sufficient hydration is necessary for the maintenance of health; 8 to 10 glasses of water per day for adults was reported to help with nutrient transport and regulation of body temperature, says Aman and Masood in their paper published in Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 2020.

 

5. Helps to Maintain Blood Pressure

Staying hydrated helps maintain blood pressure during exercise so your heart doesn’t have to push its limits to maintain normal blood pressure. Also, in general, drinking water and staying hydrated will decrease the risk of vasopressin secretion (vasopressin is a hormone that increases the retention of water in the kidneys). The buildup of salt and water in the kidneys in turn increases the risk of high blood pressure.

 

Being well-hydrated improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. On the contrary, lesser fluid intake resulting in dehydration will increase sleeplessness, fatigue, and confusion shows a study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition.

 

Related Story: How Much Water Do You Really Need to Drink

 

Three Easy Steps to Ensure Proper Hydration

Step 1: Look out for warning signs

By the time you are thirsty, your body has already faced the consequences of dehydration. Lucky for us, thirst is not the only signal sent out by our body.

  • The colour of the urine gives you a proper idea of your level of hydration. The darker the colour of your urine, the more dehydrated you are. So, sticking to a hydration schedule is a good idea to avoid facing the wrath of dehydration.
  • Hunger is also a common sign of dehydration, says a paper published in the Nature Journal, 2021.
  • Common signs of dehydration are frequent headaches, bad breath, muscle cramps, low energy, and dry lips, according to a study published in American Family Physician, 2022.

 

Step 2: Stay on Top of Your Hydration Status

First and the most easy way to stay hydrated is of course to drink a lot of water. There are a few other habits that can improve hydration. Here are a few that can be easily followed.

  • Swap caffeine-containing beverages with non-caffeinated drinks like herbal tea or juices to avoid the diuretic effect (accumulation of sodium in the body) of caffeine in the body.
  • Sodium is important to regulate the fluids and blood pressure in the body. However, processed salt is responsible for the onset of many diseases (thyroid and metabolic dysfunction). So limit the consumption of excess processed white salt. Instead add mineral rich sea salt or Himalayan salt to your diet.
  • Drink water as soon as you wake up. A glass of water will help replenish all the lost water during the night and also boost the energy reserves of our body.

 

Step 3: Proper Food for Hydration

There are many fruits and vegetables that are 90 per cent water, adding them to your diet will help you stay hydrated. Here’s a list of those handy foods that are both refreshing and nutrient dense.

  • Berries, especially strawberries, have a water content of 91per cent.
  • Broccoli and cauliflower, cruciferous vegetables that help cells fight cancer, have a water content of around 90 per cent.
  • Carrots have high water content, in addition to that, they are a rich source of beta carotene and fibre.
  • Cucumbers have the highest water content (97 per cent) in solid food.
  • Tomatoes are also very good for hydrating oneself, plus they are very high in antioxidants.

 

Simple Hacks to Treat Dehydration at Home

You can manage dehydration by making simple changes or rather additions to your diet.

 

1. Dehydration can cause a deficiency of potassium minerals in our bodies. Adding bananas to your diet will not only help you hydrate because of their high water content, but they also supply potassium content.

Here are a few yummy recipes to add bananas to your diet

 

2. Barely water is also another great inclusion to our diet. It not only helps us hydrate, but barley water also helps to balance the electrolyte and fluid lost in the body due to dehydration. Barley water is very easy to make. First, you have to sort out the barley grains and remove any unwanted sediments. Then rinse the barley a few times to get rid of waste and dust particles. Soak the barley in water overnight. Next morning, heat the water and barley mixture and bring it to a boil. Once properly cooked, cool it down. You can either strain out the barley or drink the water with the barley.

 

3. Lemon water is a great refreshing drink that ups your water intake and keeps you hydrated. The addition of salt and sugar to lemon water helps you replenish the lost salts alongside increasing vitamins and minerals in the body.

 

4. Few non-conventional ways to treat dehydration at home are inhaling the lavender aroma and taking a bath. Soaking yourself in a comfortable bath with Epsom salt will help you deal with dehydration. The magnesium in Epsom salt gets absorbed into the body through the skin and helps fight fatigue-related long term dehydration, says a paper in the Journal of American Medicine, 2019. Studies show that inhaling lavender will cool the brain and alleviate heat, thereby helping to cope with dehydration.

 

In all, every cell, tissue, and organ in our body requires optimal hydration to work efficiently. So be sure to stay hydrated. Actively drink plenty of water to avoid the consequences of dehydration.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Hydration

 

Q: How much water to drink to stay hydrated?

A: A study from the Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 2021 says that we need to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.

 

Q: How to stay hydrated without water?

A: We can easily stay hydrated by eating veggies and fruits with high water content. Also, smoothies and juices will enrich our body with fluids and nutrients.

 

Q: What is the fastest way to cure dehydration?

A: With mild or moderate dehydration, drinking water should be sufficient. Also, drinking rehydration fluids will cure dehydration faster.

 

Q: Does coffee count as water?

A: No, the caffeine in the coffee is far from water. The caffeine in fact increases the quenching effect and leads to dehydration.

 

Read more about the importance of hydration on

What are the Benefits of Drinking Raisin Water?
Therapeutic Water for a Hangover 
Fat Loss vs Weight Loss? Which is Right for You?
How Much Water Do You Really Need to Drink 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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