Thursday, September 10th, 2020 by Breanna Johnson
Your body’s immune system is your first line of defense against disease, and water is a secret weapon you need to stay healthy.
When you think about boosting your immune system, the first things that come to mind are likely healthy eating, adequate rest, taking vitamins, or reducing stress. Even though we’ve all heard the advice “get plenty of fluids,” it’s easy to take the importance of drinking enough water for granted.
Whether you’re fighting the common cold, preparing for flu season, or have more serious reasons to be concerned about immune system strength, the role of proper hydration with quality drinking water can’t be denied.
The Dangers of Dehydration
It’s a fact you’ve been hearing since grade school … “Your body is made up of as much as 70% water.” So, it makes perfect sense that failing to have enough water in your body can result in health consequences.
Dehydration occurs when your body uses more fluids than it takes in. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of dehydration may include everything from dry mouth and extreme thirst to dizziness, nauseua, and fatigue. It can be a bigger risk for older adults because, as you age, your body conserve less water and you may become less aware of the sense of feeling thirsty.
Research shows being dehydrated negatively impacts the immune system, too. A study involving astronauts found dehydration from long flights could be a factor in a dip in the immune system function after long spaceflights. There’s also sports medicine research indicating that dehydration suppresses the immune system of marathon runners.
You’re also more susceptible to dehydration when your immune system is working to fight an illness or infection. WebMD explains that having a fever sucks water out of your body while more is used to produce the mucus that repels germs. Plus, cold and flu medications contribute to dehydration as well.
5 Benefits of Staying Hydrated with Drinking Water
Water helps the body function in many ways. From digestion and circulation to joint and organ protection, nearly every major bodily system depends on water. Here are some direct advantages to keeping yourself hydrated for better health and immunity.
1. Energy levels
While dehydration may leave you feeling drained, drinking enough water boosts your energy levels, which is one reason why you must stay hydrated while exercising. Water helps oxygen reach your brain, muscles, and organs. It also acts as a lubricant around joints and muscles so you can keep moving and working longer and harder without cramping up or tiring out.
2. Mental health
Because water supports healthy brain function, drinking enough can lead to an improved mood. A 2018 study published in the World Journal of Psychiatry indicated proper hydration may decrease the risk of depression in adults. As a writer for the online magazine Bustle describes:
“When I felt overwhelmed by negative feelings or painful anxiety symptoms, I reached for a glass of water first. It didn’t erase what I was feeling, but it helped way more than I thought it would. Hydrating isn’t a substitute for mental healthcare like seeing a therapist or psychiatrist, but making sure I’m hydrated during anxiety or depressive episodes is now a part of my regular routine.”
Studies also show a direct link between stress and dehydration. A lack of water in your body can lead to an increase in the stress hormone known as cortisol, and high levels of stress can weaken the immune system.
3. Cardiovascular health
The American Heart Association says staying hydrated is critical for heart health.
When you are dehydrated, your total blood volume decreases and your blood thickens, which makes it harder to circulate blood through the body. This forces your heart to work harder and faster, increasing blood pressure. Proper hydration, on the other hand, makes it easier for your heart to pump blood.
4. Nutrition and healthy weight
Your body’s immune system needs the right nutrients to keep it strong. Whether you’re getting those nutrients from eating healthy food or supplementing with vitamins and minerals, proper hydration improves nutrient uptake and delivery. That’s because staying hydrated supports a functioning digestive system.
At the same time, water helps you maintain a healthy weight. Drinking refreshing, zero-calorie water throughout the day can curb your appetite and make you feel more satisfied, so you eat less. But did you know that drinking water can also cause you to burn more calories? It’s true! Studies show drinking cold water temporarily boosts your metabolism.
5. Cleansing the body
Yet another important aspect of water and your health is how it promotes cellular health, kidney function, and rids the body of toxins.
As water aids your cardiovascular system in delivering oxygen and nutrients to cells all over your body, those cells produce waste. Water then helps transport things like urea and carbon dioxide out of your body when you sweat, breathe, and use the bathroom. It’s literally flushing the toxins away.
Staying Healthy in the Midst of a Pandemic
The health scares surrounding COVID-19 have all of us thinking about immune system strength. Drinking water won’t prevent you from contracting the coronavirus or any other illness, but it will help you and your family stay well in coming months.
As businesses reopen, adults go back to work, and kids go back to school or daycare, we’re all going to be exposed to plenty of germs that we weren’t in contact with while staying at home and practicing social distancing. Getting back into the community is important, but so is giving your body the best chance for defending itself. Hydrating with high-quality drinking water should be one of your top priorities.
If you do find you or a loved one battling a case of COVID-19, health experts cite proper hydration as an important factor for helping your body fight the virus. As UC Davis Health explains, those recovering from coronavirus at home should “stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids, like water or herbal tea, things that don’t contain caffeine or alcohol. Choose foods like soups with lots of liquid.”
Better Health with Better Quality WaWater’s connection to good health is no secret, but it’s easy to forget how crucial proper hydration is in daily life. Are you encouraging your kids to drink water and finding ways to stay hydrated yourself? That’s much easier to do when you have clean and refreshing drinking water readily available in thWhat do you know about the quality of water in your home? Could your water contain contaminants that pose risks? Are you sure it’s safe to drink? Support good health and quality of life with high-quality water that tastes great!
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