No matter your circumstances, staying hydrated is important to your overall health. It could be the hottest day of the year, or the coldest. In either case, you need to plenty of water. Whether you exercise hard or not all, you need to stay hydrated. In other words, no matter what is going on around you, getting enough water is essential to your health.
About 60% of your body is water1. In fact, it utilizes so much water that just a loss of about 15% and you’re dead.2 You can survive for weeks without food, but only days without water. If it is hot enough, you could die in the space of just hours because virtually every process in your body requires water and you lose it quickly.
Effects of Dehydration on the Brain
There is a layer of liquid in your brain called cerebrospinal fluid, composed mostly of water that helps cushion your brain. When you dehydrate yourself, you run the risk of reducing the amount of this fluid and your brain literally cannot function as well. In fact, low hydration results in poor cognitive performance, among other things.3 Plus you reduce your ability to cushion your brain against a possible blow to the head.
Failing to Stay Hydrated on the Heart
Your blood also consists of a great deal of water. About 90% in fact. Low hydration means less water in your blood, making it more like syrup. Your heart has to beat faster now to move your blood. it can’t pump as quickly (but of course your oxygen needs haven’t changed) so your heart is forced to beat more quickly to ensure your cells still get enough oxygen.4 This basically means that you are overworking your heart and likely causing damage.
Your Skin and A Lack of Water
When you are active or it is hot, you generate internal heat. For instance, when you are running, your muscles use a lot of energy and heat is produced in the process. Were it not for your ability to sweat, this would kill you pretty quickly as the chemistry of life would not work at such a high temperature. Instead, the water in your body absorbs this heat and pumps it onto your skin via sweat glands, thus ridding your body of excess heat. However, if you don’t stay hydrated, you won’t sweat as your body is attempting to conserve the water it does have. As you might expect, this causes your insides to heat up to unhealthy levels and in some respects, “cooks” your insides. Enzymes, the proteins that make chemistry happen, become disfigured and heat stroke or worse will soon follow.
Stay Hydrated for Your Organs and Tissues
There is water all throughout your body cushioning various organs. I already mentioned how this is the case in the brain, but it is also true everywhere else. Cerebrospinal fluid is found surrounding your brain of course, but also in the entire spinal cord. All of your organs are also floating in fluid that consists mostly of water. In fact, every cell in your body is composed of a great deal of water. As you become more dehydrated, the tend to shrivel up and serious problems soon follow.
Toxins Don’t Want You to Stay Hydrated
Hydration also ‘waters down’ toxins. Many toxins dissolve in the water of the body which carries them to the liver or kidneys for elimination. Of course, when water is scarce, so is this process. It is much more difficult for your body to detox like it is supposed to and you don’t just suffer from dehydration, but from the chemical havoc caused by a buildup of toxins. When you have plenty of water in your system, you remove them more quickly and also dilute them so they have a lesser effect on the way out.
Joints and Water
Just like everywhere else, there is a lot of water that makes up joint fluid. Not enough water, not enough lubrication of the joints. Naturally, pain and arthritis aren’t far behind as joints simply don’t move like they are supposed to. Plus, bone can scrape against bone and cause significant harm that could last a lifetime if you fail to stay hydrated.
Water – The Miracle Anti-Ager
Believe it or not, water actually slows aging!5 You might already understand why given the information so far. It should be clear by now that all sorts of problems can result from dehydration. Your brain doesn’t’ work right, your heart is overworked, your organs aren’t cushioned properly, you can’t rid yourself of toxins and you ruin your joints. All those things ARE aging. Of course, there are plenty more to still talk about.
Addictive Urges and Water Intake
Drinking lots of water can positively affect your body’s desire for drugs, alcohol or even caffeine.6 Ghlerin, a hormone with many positive effects has strong ties to addiction. It seems to tell your body that you want your substance of choice. However, plenty of water dilutes the ghlerin in your blood, thus reducing your addictive drive. This is even true for food addicts. It turns out that water is almost 100% effective at eliminating hunger pangs.7
Muscle Function and Mental Acuity
The brain and muscles need plenty of blood to function correctly. As we already discussed, dehydration stifles delivery of blood, but there is more. Since your blood cells are mostly water, lack thereof results in poor oxygen capacity. In other words, unless you stay hydrated, blood cannot carry as much oxygen. So, if you dehydrate, even if your heart beating faster is able to pump as much blood as it needs to for proper brain and muscle function, it still carries less oxygen. Thus, it is literally impossible for your cells to get enough.
Stay Hydrated So Your Cells Can Repair
As I suggested before, almost every chemical process in your body requires water or at least its presence. This is especially true within cells. Even in a single cell, millions of chemical reactions can occur every second.8 Many of these reactions result in cell repair. Thus, if you don’t stay hydrated, you limit your cells’ ability to repair themselves. They then cannot function as they are meant to even when your hydration is adquate.
The Conclusion – DRINK PLENTY OF H2O
Water is by far the most important nutrient in the body. You need to stay hydrated all the time. Failure to do so will always lead to poorer health. You don’t want to be among the 75% of Americans that experience chronic dehydration.9 Your body won’t work as well and you will die sooner. It’s just that simple!
Limit sweets and added sugars. Foods high in added sugars like desserts and sweets provide little nutritional benefit and often take the place of other foods that are better for you. Stay hydrated. Drinking enough fluids during cancer treatment is important for preventing dehydration. Aim to drink 64 ounces of fluid daily. Avoid drinking large amounts of caffeinated beverages. Too much caffeine can lead to dehydration.