Hydration for Happiness

You already know that water is an essential nutrient and we must consume it to survive. The human body, which is approximately 60% water, will not function without enough water.

But, did you know that your mood is dependent on your hydration status?

The brain is about 75% water (1). Without consuming enough water, the brain literally shrinks down to a smaller size (1). Clearly, some psychological consequences occur with this shrinkage.  Decreased alertness and reduced cognitive ability are among the most well-known drawbacks of dehydration (2).  More consistently, the research literature reveals negative effects of dehydration on mood (3).

Evidence suggests that a loss of 1-2% of body mass from dehydration can lead to a bad mood.  Anger, frustration, confusion, irritability, and fatigue are negative consequences of not consuming enough water.  These subside immediately upon rehydration (3, 4).

How to Hydrate to be Happy

First, check out your hydration level by using these two strategies: 1) dry mouth test and 2) urine color test.

Dry Mouth Test:  If your mouth is dry, then you are already under-hydrated.  Time to consume some water.

Urine Color Test: Urine should be a pale yellow color, especially if added to a large basin of water (as in a toilet).  Anything darker than a light lemonade color indicates dehydration.

How Much Water Do I Need?

The evidence suggests more than the popular 64 fl. oz. per day recommendation.  In fact, depending on body size and composition, climate, weather, and activity level, water requirements can range from 3-4 liters per day (5).

So, drink to your health and your happiness.

© 2016 NOVEDGO

References

  1. M J Kempton, U Ettinger, R Foster, S C Williams, G A Calvert, A Hampshire, F O Zelaya, R L O’Gorman, T McMorris, A M Owen, M S Smith. Dehydration affects brain structure and function in healthy adolescents. Hum Brain Mapp. 2011 Jan;32(1):71-9.
  2. M Sécher, P Ritz. Hydration and cognitive performance. J Nutr Health Aging. 2012 Apr;16(4):325-9.
  3. D Benton, HA Young. Do small differences in hydration status affect mood and mental performance? Nutrition Reviews. 2015; 73(52):83-96.
  4. N Pross, A Demazières, N Girard, R Barnouin, F Santoro, E Chevillotte, A Klein, L Le Bellego. Influence of progressive fluid restriction on mood and physiological markers of dehydration in women. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jan 28;109(2):313-21.
  5. Schnirring L. Dietary guidelines for water and electrolytes. What role for thirst? Phys Sportsmed 2004;32:12-41.