Your brain must have water to do its job. If you don’t give it a good supply, your brain will direct the body to steal some fluid from elsewhere in your body. At any given time your bladder has the largest potential reservoir of fluid—urine. Now that puts a different spin on the term pea brain!
Your brain is composed largely of fluid, 80-90 percent and your body is 60-70 percent fluid. Both need a daily supply of water. Consume your calories through food and make water your beverage of choice. Unless you must limit water intake due to a medical condition, aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. A 1 percent level of dehydration can result in a 5 percent decrease in cognitive function. And just a 2 percent drop in your brain-body water supply can trigger a variety of symptoms such as a fuzzy short-term memory, difficulty with basic math problems, and trouble focusing on smaller print, such as a computer, iPad, or mobile-phone screen.
Did you know that aging and water appear to be directly related. The body’s water content tends to decrease with age. According to Dr. Mu Shik Jhon, outward signs of aging, such as wrinkling and withering, are indicators of what is happening inside the body. At the cellular level, aging causes a shift in the ratio of water inside versus outside the cell. As the volume of water inside the cell is reduced, the cells wither. Dehydration increases the production of free radicals, which can wreak havoc in many ways.
Do you drink enough water? If not, failure to drink enough water often leads to dehydration. Unfortunately, by the time you experience thirst you’re likely already dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration can include dry mouth, dry skin, sense of thirst, sleepiness, fatigue, headache, decreased urine output, and constipation, to name just a few.
Do you drink sodas or juices?
Have you heard the new that, depending on the amount of soda guzzled, a person might add as much as a pound per week to their waist line? A pound!
A study that followed more than 400 diet-soda drinkers for 10 years showed that their waist sizes increased 70 percent more than non-consumers. Those who drank 2 or more diet sodas per day increased their waist sizes 5 times more than those who avoided diet drinks entirely. That’s one reason a Longevity Lifestyle recommends avoiding sodas of any type: regular as well as diet.
Unfortunately, alternative beverages such as fruit drinks, sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and sugary drinks appear largely to have replaced water in the lives of many Americans.
Estimates are that half the population above the age of two consumes sugary drinks on any given day. Consumption of soft drinks now exceeds 600 twelve-ounce servings per person per year. And as waist sizes grow, so do health risks for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Bottom line: drink water. Aim for two pale urines per day.
Sharlet M. Briggs, PhD
Arlene R. Taylor, PhD