Five Great Benefits of Staying Hydrated
Nearly all the major systems in the body depend on water—after all, our bodies are roughly 60% water! We’re told to drink at least eight glasses of water per day to maintain a healthy, well-hydrated body. But why is hydration important? Here are five benefits of hydration that will have you reaching for a glass of water.
Lower Blood Pressure
Did you know your blood is made up of approximately 92% water when you’re well hydrated? Water is crucial in the bloodstream, where its role is to help dilute blood and help prevent clots. Unfortunately, when you’re dehydrated, the ratio of sodium in your blood increases, which means your kidneys have to work overtime to remove waste in the bloodstream, in turn raising your blood pressure. Alternatively, drinking enough water every day can help naturally lower your blood pressure, and keep blood moving freely through your veins and arteries.
Increased Mental Health
Arguably the most important organ in the body, the brain is 73% water—so as you can imagine, hydration has a big impact! Water is needed in order for the brain to produce all the neurotransmitters we need, including serotonin and essential amino acids. When the brain is dehydrated, it can affect short-term memory formation and long-term memory recall, and it can also impact mental clarity, mood, and focus.
Youthful, Supple Skin
The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it contains a great deal of water. Proper hydration keeps skin cells plump, making the skin appear more supple and the face more youthful. When dehydrated, skin grows dry and less elastic; unfortunately, your skin is also the first place deprived of water when dehydration sets in, as valuable water stores are rerouted to vital organs such as the liver, brain, kidney, and lungs instead.
Better Heart Health
Water is essential to your heart health, and dehydration can seriously strain this vital organ. As mentioned above, a lack of water in the body can lead to lower blood pressure and increased sodium levels, but it also leads to decreased overall blood volume. This means your heart has to pump faster than normal as it works to deliver the reduced amount of blood throughout your body, and with it, the oxygen you need to survive.
Your body is constantly releasing heat to help you stay cool, especially in the warmer months, or when you’re under stress or are exercising. The blood vessels just beneath the surface of your skin cool your body by expanding, which increases blood flow and helps ensure that more of your body heat dissipates into the air. (Coincidentally, this is why your face sometimes reddens during stress or heavy exercise). When you’re dehydrated, however, your blood vessels won’t dilate until the external temperature is much higher, meaning that you’ll stay hot for longer.
With these hydration facts, it’s hopefully clear that proper hydration is crucial all year round, not just in the summer heat! Drink your water consistently and enjoy better health throughout the year.