We all know that when we are thirsty, we reach for a beverage. Eight glasses of water a day, they say. Most of us do not thirst for eight glasses a day but there are good reasons, beyond thirst, to consume that much or even more.
Since your brain is composed of 80% water by weight, being dehydrated will prevent you from thinking clearly. If you find yourself with “fuzzy” thinking or without an accurate short-term memory, dehydration may be the cause. Even a two percent shortfall, can evoke these effects.
Similarly, dehydration can cause mood swings because water is required to transport nutrients and hormones to your system. At the same time, water (or hydration) transports waste. When it doesn’t, the function falls to amino acids (tryptophan and tyrosine) two mood elevators that, when they are used up, can cause depression.
Joint lubrication is also a function of proper hydration. Stiffness and even “faux” hydration can be caused by the lack of proper hydration. This explains why people with vigorous exercise regimes pay careful attention to adequate hydration levels.
Asthma and allergies are also linked to dehydration. The body produces additional histamines that seek water in the body. Histamines also regulate the muscles in your bronchial tubes. Most important, increased water intake correlates with overall better health.
Several drinks like coffee and alcohol actually have diuretic effects, even though they are liquids and can increase dehydration levels. Sports drinks can help with dehydration because they not only contain water but electrolytes. I choose to hydrate with a drink mix that provides 4 electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium) and not just the two provided in traditional sports beverages. So drink up. It’s good for you…in a lot of ways.