Avoid the negative impacts of dehydration on your concentration, alertness, and short-term memory.
Studies have shown that even mild levels of dehydration (less than 2%, which is when thirst kicks in for most people) can result in degraded mood, attention, memory, and reasoning, as well as increased perception of task difficulty, fatigue, anxiety, and even headache symptoms.
- Armstrong LE, Ganio MS, Casa DJ, et al. Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women. J Nutr. 2012 Feb;142(2):382–388.
- Ganio MS, Armstrong LE, Casa DJ, et al. Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men. Br J Nutr. 2011 Nov;106(10):1535–1543.
- Lieberman HR, Bathalon GP, Falco CM, et al. (2005) Severe decrements in cognition function and mood induced by sleep-loss, heat, dehydration and undernutrition during simulated combat. Biol Psychiatry 57, 422–429.
- Shukitt-Hale B, Askew EW, Lieberman HR. Effects of 30 days of undernutrition on reaction time, moods, and symptoms. Physiol Behav. 1997;62:783–9.
Improve your endurance by keeping your muscles working efficiently.
Studies have shown that appropriate hydration improves endurance, recovery time, motivation, and perceived effort.
- Paik IY, Jeong MH, Jin HE, et al. Fluid replacement following dehydration reduces oxidative stress during recovery. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009;383:103–107.
- Sawka MN, Burke LM, Eichner ER, Maughan RJ, Montain SJ, Stachenfeld NS. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Feb;39(2):377–390.
- Sawka MN, Noakes TD. Does dehydration impair exercise performance? Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39:1209–1217.
Increase your metabolism and lessen the urge for empty calories.
Drinking water before a meal can help you feel full sooner, and lessen the urge for empty calories. Studies have also shown an independent association between water consumption and increased metabolism, leading to weight loss.
- Davy BM, Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Wilson KL, Davy KP. Water consumption reduces energy intake at a breakfast meal in obese older adults. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jul;108(7):1236–1239.
- Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Comber DL, et al. Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2010 Feb;18(2):300–307.
- Stookey JD, Constant F, Gardner C, Popkin B. Replacing sweetened caloric beverages with drinking water is associated with lower energy intake. Obesity. 2007;15:3013–3022.
- Stookey JD, Constant F, Gardner C, Popkin BM. Drinking water is associated with weight loss. Obesity. 2008;16:2481–2488.
Optimal hydration can give you more efficient blood flow.
Staying hydrated helps your heart pump more effectively to get your cells the oxygen they need to function optimally.
- Callegaro CC, Moraes RS, Negrao CE, et al. Acute water ingestion increases arterial blood pressure in hypertensive and normotensive subjects. J Hum Hypertens. 2007;21:564–570.
- Maughan RJ, Watson P, Shirreffs SM. Heat and cold: what does the environment do to the marathon runner? Sports Med. 2007;37:396–399.
- Schroeder C, Bush VE, Norcliffe LJ, et al. Water drinking acutely improves orthostatic tolerance in healthy subjects. Circulation. 2002;106:2806–2811.
Keep your skin healthy and resilient through proper hydration.
Your skin contains approximately 30% water. Optimizing your hydration can help keep it plump, elastic, and resilient. While water won’t give you a “glowing complexion” or “flush toxins”, it can increase the thickness and density of the middle layers of your skin (studies have measured this using ultrasound), which is culturally associated with skin health.
- Madison KC. Barrier function of the skin: “la raison d’etre” of the epidermis. J Invest Dermatol. 2003;121:231–241.
- Williams S, Krueger N, Davids M, Kraus D, Kerscher M. Effect of fluid intake on skin physiology: distinct differences between drinking mineral water and tap water. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2007;29:131–138.
Stay hydrated to keep your immune system ready to fight illnesses and infection.
Lymph, the fluid part of your immune system that helps fight illness and infection, is directly impacted by your hydration status. Studies have also shown that the innate immune cells in your body decrease in number and function with dehydration, allowing a window of immune dysfunction for viruses and bacteria to gain a foothold.
- Fortes MB, Diment BC, Di Felice U, Walsh NP. 2012. Dehydration decreases saliva antimicrobial proteins important for mucosal immunity. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 37(5): 850-859
- Gomez-Merino D, Chennaoui M, Burnat P, Drogou C, Guezennec CY. 2003. Immune and hormonal changes following intense military training. Mil. Med. 168(12): 1034-1038