Water is the essence of life
We all know that adequate hydration is vital to our survival. Proper hydration is also necessary for our brains to function optimally because dehydration can affect memory, executive function, attention and other cognitive functions.
Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various elements to operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted. Your brain cells lose efficiency. Years of research have found that when we’re parched, we have more difficulty keeping our attention focused. Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. The ability to perform mental arithmetic, like calculating whether or not you’ll be late for work if you hit snooze for another 15 minutes, is compromised when your fluids are low. – Psychology Today
A study from Human Brain Mapping (2011) shows that dehydration affects brain structure and function in healthy adolescents:
“prolonged states of reduced water intake may adversely impact executive functions such as planning and visuo-spatial processing”
How much water do you need to stay properly hydrated?
According to MayoClinic, the recommendations are:
- eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids a day
- factor in conditions, such as exercise, heat in the environment, medical conditions, pregnancy and breastfeeding which will all increase you fluid requirements
- Healthy Kids offers a guide for the fluid intake requirements for children by age
Drinking water is not the only way water can be good for you…
A study by Howard Carter of the University of Western Australia School of Sport Science has revealed that being immersed in water can also be beneficial for the brain because it increases blood flow to the brain.
“Results from the study showed blood flow to the middle cerebral artery increased by 14 per cent and posterior cerebral artery increased by nine per cent when subjects were immersed in water.” – Science Network
Related: Swimming Benefits Your Brain – Medical Daily
Although the study results are still preliminary, it is another reason to have a splash at the swimming pool or to enjoy a soak in the tub. Just make sure the water level goes up to the level of your heart.