The temperature is rising in many places across the globe. Along it the need of water is on rise too. As we know our brain needs water for smooth functioning. Little deficiency of water content results in dehydration which causes serious damage to our brain. Even if we loose only 1% of our body water, then also we will have effects of dehydration on our brain. (What happens to our brain due to dehydration)
We are constantly losing water from our body, primarily via urine and sweat. People working in hot climates, heavy working people, athletes, people who do regular exercise need more water, because they loose more amount of water through sweating and urination.
One study in women showed that a fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired mood and concentration and increased the frequency of headaches. Another study revealed mild dehydration (1–3%) of body weight) caused by exercise or heat can harm many other aspects of brain function.(1,2) This researches show how important water is for brain!!!
Increased water intake may reduce body weight by increasing your metabolism and reducing your appetite. Even only 500 ml water increases metabolism by 30%. Drinking it about a half hour before each meal can help in increasing metabolism. (3)
Our body has a sophisticated system for regulating when and how much we drink. When our total water content goes below a certain level, thirst kicks in. It’s the mechanism by which our brain detects dehydration. And then we drink water. Water doesn’t mean only drinking water, it includes any liquid diet.
How much water we need
We can calculate the amount of water we need. It’s not easy calculation. It depends upon several factors. The geographical area, age, sex, physical activities, types of diet etc. More than half of the amount to be drinking water. Ideally 80% of the total liquid is for drinking purpose (water, water like beverage) In some diseases like renal failure, heart failure the drinking water amount is limited. They should drink as advised by doctor.
If you’re outside on a hot day, or doing something that makes you sweat a lot, you’ll need to drink more fluids to stay hydrated. The same is true if you have an illness that causes you water loss like diarrhea and fever.
But roughly Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends (Link) the following. (The recommended water intake includes all sources of fluid intake like drinking water, other beverages, and food.)
Men – 13 cups (about 3 liters) of fluid — each day. (One cup equivalent to 235 ml)
women- 9 cups (a little over 2 liters) of fluid each day.
Pregnant women should take about 10 cups.
Breastfeeding women need about 12 cups.
Children and teens need about 6 to 8 cups a day. They should also eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies.
During play or exercise, a good goal is to drink a half cup to 2 cups of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
Another calculation we can do to know our water requirement. It depends on your weight in pounds (kg to pound conversion link is given below). Increase the intake according to activities. Take more 2-3 cups in hot climate. This formula is for only drinking water and water like beverages.
How to calculate easily
It’s equivalent to 32.5 in ml per kilogram of body weight. Suppose your weight is 70 kg the required drinking water amount is 2275 ml or 2 litre 275 ml. For easy calculation purpose roughly we should drink water and water like beverages 30 ml per kg of our body weight per day. Everyone must remember it. Add 350 ml for every 30 minutes of activity. Add 350 ml in hot climate.
We must drink roughly just above 30 ml per kg of our body weight for adequate hydration and better function of our brain.
What happens when we drink excess
There is a term called water intoxication. But it rarely happens to common people. Excess water intake, dilutes our blood and puts pressure on our kidney. Water intoxication is particularly common among endurance athletes and various mental health conditions. The kidneys can eliminate about 20–28 liters of water a day, but they can remove no more than 0.8 to 1.0 liters every hour. Drinking more water than 0.8 to 1.0 litres can cause water intoxication. (4)
So in this stressful covid times let’s keep our brain hydrated by drinking sufficient water.
Are you ready for a challenge from. THE NEURON
Now a days numerous challenges are floating in social media. What about a novel challenge for better brain health. I challenge you to drink two glass more water from today noon. Please accept the challenge and keep yourself hydrated.
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1: Armstrong LE, Ganio MS, Casa DJ, Lee EC, McDermott BP, Klau JF, Jimenez L, Le Bellego L, Chevillotte E, Lieberman HR. Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women. The Journal of nutrition. 2012 Feb 1;142(2):382-8.
2: Gopinathan PM, Pichan G, Sharma VM. Role of dehydration in heat stress-induced variations in mental performance. Archives of Environmental Health: An International Journal. 1988 Feb 1;43(1):15-7.
3: Boschmann M, Steiniger J, Brüser V, Franke G, Adams F, Zunft HJ, Luft FC, Jordan J. THERMOGENE WIRKUNG VON WASSER BEI ADIPÖSEN FRAUEN UND MÄNNERN.
4: Verbalis JG, Goldsmith SR, Greenberg A, Schrier RW, Sterns RH. Hyponatremia treatment guidelines 2007: expert panel recommendations. Am J Med 2007;120(11 Suppl 1):S1–S21. PMID: 17981159.