Drink Water!

Did You Know…that your water intake may have a direct effect on how your brain functions?

What’s the number one nutrient in our diet?  The answer may surprise you: water.  We all know that water is essential for human survival.  Studies indicate proper hydration can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.  More recently, it has also become apparent that water is essential for the maintenance of brain function.

Even mild dehydration, from exercising on a hot day, for instance, can change brain function.  According to Dr. Michael Geiger, hydration may influence not only cognitive function, but also mood states.

Documenting Dehydration 

The real-life effects of dehydration on your mental state have yet to be thoroughly documented, but the studies that exist reveal a spectrum of consequences.  A pioneering study in 2013 investigated how chronic dehydration changes your mood.  The researchers found the most pronounced effects of fluid deprivation were…

 Mental Slowness

Once participants rehydrated by drinking water, the adverse effect cleared up entirely!

Water absorption happens quickly, which is likely why the ill effects of dehydration could be almost immediately reversed.  When you drink water, it only takes 5 minutes for it to travel from your mouth to the tubules of your kidneys where water reabsorption takes place.  Peak hydration occurs about 20 minutes after that first sip.

The temperature of the water changes the rate of absorption as well: Contrary to what you may have been told, cold water gets absorbed about 20% faster than warm.  That’s because cold water moves from the stomach into the intestines more quickly.

How to Tell If You’re Dehydrated 

There are methods you can use to determine whether or not you are dehydrated, but as a general rule, experts say that increasing your water intake is more likely to help than to hurt your health.

One simple strategy for doing so comes from ancient Ayurvedic medicine.  The Sanskrit name for the practice is usha paana chikitsa, which translates approximately to “early morning water treatment.” Incorporating water therapy into your life is easy and practically free!  For optimal results, experts recommend the following protocol:

  • The moment you wake up, drink 1.5 liters of water (about 5-6 glasses, depending on the size of the glasses)
  • Do not eat or drink anything prior to drinking the water, or for one hour afterward.
  • Do not consume any alcoholic beverages the night before.

When you first implement the protocol, you may find it difficult to drink the full 1.5 liters.  You body will acclimate, but you can ease yourself into it by slightly modifying the protocol by adding a 2-minute pause between the 4th and 5th glasses.

Remember, too, that the better the quality of the water you consume, the better the results you’ll experience.