Dehydration has many implications for health including immunity and metabolism. [Photo: Bigstock]

6 good reasons to drink water every day

12 January, 2015

It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to support  good health. Yet most people just don’t drink enough water.

At certain times of year, of  course, it’s easier to remember to keep hydrated than others. Most of us know to keep some water handy when the  weather is warm. But as the seasons change chances are your water intake gives way to other drinks like tea and coffee, which, while mostly water, also contain substances that can end up dehydrating you over the longer term.

The truth is being dehydrated can create – or even complicate – some serious health problems. Worse, many people still don’t know the signs of dehydration. It’s not just about being thirsty, in fact by the time you feel really thirsty dehydration has probably already long set in.

Think of water as a forgotten nutrient. We need it every day and in balance (not too much and not too little) to stay healthy.  So just in case you need a reminder here are six good reasons to drink more water each day:

1 Your mood will improve Researchers believe dehydration may negatively affect key neurons in the brain that are responsible for regulating mood. Even mild dehydration may be enough to bring you down. It doesn’t take a drastic change, either. Just losing 1.5% of your body’s total water can do it. This problem has been seen in both women and men.

And you don’t have to be exercising hard for this mood/dehydration effect to take hold either. Both at rest and exercising healthy young adults had higher levels of anxiety and tension when dehydrated. They also had greater difficulty with mental tasks and less motivation to perform physical tasks – like exercise.

2 It can help relive aches and pains Drinking water isn’t just about keeping your joints “lubricated.” Research shows that it can help lower inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis patients who drank Scottish mineral water had significantly less inflammation than patients who didn’t drink it.

Your muscles need water too. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, and this can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer, and exercise becomes a pain and a strain.

Proper hydration can also help keep you in the trim. There is some evidence that drinking water before or during a meal may help aid weight loss when used in conjunction with a calorie-controlled diet. Being a little lighter is always nice, but when you have arthritis, every extra pound you carry puts unnecessary stress on your joints.

3 You’ll sleep better Not drinking enough water may be keeping you up at night. Even if you’re falling asleep easily, you may not be feeling rested in the morning. That’s because dehydration can make your body produce less melatonin.

It’s a vital hormone that regulates your body’s circadian rhythm. Without enough, your body may not know when it’s time to start getting ready for sleep. Keep hydrated throughout the day but also try drinking about 8–10 ounces of water an hour before bed each night. That’s enough to help keep you hydrated. It should also pass before you get into bed.

4 You’ll think more clearly  Dehydration can trigger brain fog. The human brain is made of around 85% water. When you are not properly hydrated the effects can be felt in your brain as symptoms like headaches, poor concentration and reduced short-term memory. Even your ability to perform arithmetic and the rapidity of your psychomotor skills can be reduced. This is due to the fact that dehydration causes the level of energy production in the brain to decrease. Recent evidence suggests that staying hydrated can improve focus and reaction time.

5 It will improve immunity
One of the most important parts of your immune system is lymphatic fluid. It’s what helps remove the waste products and toxins from your body. You have around four times more lymphatic fluid circulating around your system than you do blood. Drinking enough water can help keep levels of lymphatic fluid topped up and help it remain effective at removing waste and toxins, and fighting infection.

This has benefits right across the board from reducing your vulnerability to colds and flu  as well as helping to keep you strong against potentially more serious problems such as autoimmune diseases and even cancer.

6 It will make you look younger If you struggle with a puffy face, dull skin, and sunken eyes with dark circles, it coudl be a sign that your kidneys are under stress.

The kidneys filter toxins, salts, and water from the bloodstream. If the body is dehydrated, then the kidneys can’t function properly. If the kidneys are overloaded, this will show in your face. Adequate hydration keeps things moving along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation.

You don’t need to mega-dose on water to stay well hydrated. Foods like kale, cabbage, and spinach are all rich in water. Some tomatoes are as much as 94% water. And it doesn’t hurt that these foods are also rich in immune-boosting antioxidants.

You don’t need to obsess about measurements either. Making sure you always have some water handy for instance at your desk during the workday, at the gym, even when you’re unwinding with a book is a simple way to make sure your body has the water it needs to function at its best.