Water is 75% of your brain mass! It is no wonder that staying hydrated is critical for this important organ. Water acts to delivery deliver oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the brain and removes damaging toxins. Water also provides cushioning and lubrication to brain tissue. With summer temperatures heating up, your sweat rate increases requiring even more water consumption. June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, so drink up for your brain’s sake.
Proper hydration can have a positive impact on our brain function:
- Improved blood flow to the brain
- Enhanced short and long-term memory function
- Improved mood
- Reduced onset of depression and anxiety
- Optimized concentration and cognition
- Enhanced control of motor skills
To stay properly hydrated aim for 2-3 cups of water per hour. Generally, drinking half of your body weight, in ounces, is a good guide for daily hydration, so if you weigh 200 lbs, target 100 oz of water each day. Use the Rolling Strong application to track your water intake each day. Other drinks like coffee, energy drinks, soda, juice etc do not count towards your daily water intake. Keep in mind that common OTC drugs, prescription drugs, caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration. Working out or sweating profusely will require additional water intake to replace lost fluids.
Prevent dehydration and know the signs:
- Increased feeling of hunger-the brain can confuse thirst for hunger
- Dryness of lips, mouth and skin
- Headache with lack of adequate oxygen
- Fatigue and weak muscles
- Bad breath as your saliva production is reduced (yikes)
- Rapid heart rate
- Dark yellow or orange urine
As we age, our sense of thirst decreases so tracking water intake is important. Chronic dehydration can damage your brain and increase the risk for dementia.
What you can do to stay properly hydrated:
- Keep track of your water intake each day (use the Rolling Strong app!).
- Stock your truck with enough water for the day and week.
- Drink water out of your favorite glass or bottle and have it in your sight.
- Flavor your water with slices of cucumber, strawberry, blackberry, lemon or lime for a hint of flavor.
- Drink foods high in water content including watermelon, oranges, berries, lettuce and cucumbers.
- Muscles holds more water that fat, so add strength training to your routine.
- Start each day with a glass of water to begin hydration for the day.
- Drink water before and after exercise to offset water lost through sweat.
As we focus on brain health this month, something as simple as drinking water, can have a dramatic and lasting impact. Stay hydrated by enjoying the cool, clean, crisp taste of WATER.
by Christy Coughlin, Wellness Coach