The Effect of Hydration on Your Health
Filed under: Hydration
Last week, we detailed the different ways proper hydration can affect the way you look. But as we all know, water is essential to human life, so hydration is not just a matter of simple vanity. In the second part of our series, we will explore an even more important question: How does water affect how you feel?
You’ve probably heard that three-fourths of your body is composed of water. That’s true, and it goes all the way down to the cellular level. Without water, individual cells can’t perform as they should, and they certainly can’t perform well as a group. As a matter of fact, your blood and all of your organs are composed mostly of water!
When you fail to properly hydrate yourself, you could notice negative consequences in pretty much every bodily system, such as:
- High blood pressure – Your blood is 90 percent water, so dehydration causes it to thicken, which causes strain on your entire circulatory system.
- Asthma and allergies – When dehydrated, your body restricts airways and increases histamine production. In other words, conditions such as asthma and allergies can worsen.
- High cholesterol – when your cells are depleted of water, your body attempts to slow that loss by producing more cholesterol.
- Digestive problems – dehydration can contribute to acid reflux, ulcers and gastritis because your digestive tract is depleted of alkaline minerals such as magnesium and calcium. Constipation can also result, because food cannot move through the intestines efficiently.
- Joint pain – the cartilage in your joints is composed mostly of water. Dehydration can slow your body’s rate of repair, leading to more stiff and sore joints.
- Excretory system – a buildup of toxins and acid waste, when not flushed thoroughly from the body, can lead to infections in the kidneys and bladder.
- Weight gain – when your body cannot effectively eliminate toxins (through a steady supply of water), it will store them in your fat cells. The body also will not release fat from cells unless it is sufficiently hydrated to flush toxins that will come out with the fat. In other words, dehydration can cause you to gain weight, and then make it harder for you to lose the weight!
- Cognition – your brain is mostly water, as strange as that may sound, and dehydration can cause headaches, foggy memory, and slow cognition.
As you can see, hydration affects pretty much every system within your body. Luckily, most of the effects of chronic dehydration can be easily overcome by immediately increasing your intake of water.
Are you drinking your requisite 8 glasses of water each day? Most people don’t even get close. Start drinking two glasses of water before each meal, and you should begin to notice a difference in the way you feel within just days. After a few weeks, you will be shocked at the changes proper hydration brings to your body!