Do you worry about whether you're getting enough water? It seems every fitness aficionado, beauty expert, and self-care guru can't emphasize enough the importance of staying hydrated. But because of how busy our lives are, it's easy to lose track of how much water you're (not) drinking.
You probably know that drinking more water could benefit your life - but do you know how?
Let's go over how making sure to get adequate fluids helps your body, and specifically, your immune system.
The Benefits of Staying Hydrated
Before diving into the benefits of staying hydrated to your immune system, let's go over the general positive effect on your well-being that comes with getting enough water into your body:
1. Regulates Body Temperature
When you're dehydrated, it's more difficult for you to sweat. And although sweating is uncomfortable, it is an essential part of keeping you fresh during the summer and while you exercise.
When you sweat, more blood flows through your body, and more heat dissipates into the air. Through the process, your body can stay fresh for longer.
2. Keeps Skin Healthy
Having dry skin is the result of dehydration. Other reasons include using the wrong soap or showering in too-hot water. It could also result from genetics that predisposes your skin to dryness. Being adequately hydrated can counteract these problems.
Without enough water, your skin will lose its suppleness and elasticity. Without this, the skin will show wrinkles and signs of ageing more rapidly.
While drinking water doesn't prevent wrinkles, staying hydrated helps your skin maintain its plumpness and a youthful glow for far longer.
3. Helps Prevent Dry Mouth
If you suffer from dry mouth, it's likely because you're dehydrated. Sometimes, you'll suffer from dry mouth as a side effect of smoking or getting surgery at the dentist. Other times, it's merely due to a lack of water intake.
Water helps keep your throat, lips, and tongue moist. When your mouth has adequate lubrication, you're less likely to have bad breath, cavities, or unpleasant tastes.
4. Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Did you know that when you're dehydrated, you lose blood volume? Because of the lost volume, your heart has to work harder to pump less blood. That exertion means that less oxygen is getting to your cells, making everyday tasks more difficult.
Without proper hydration, you can experience a lack of energy and difficulty performing daily movements, such as:
- — Walking up the stairs
- — Running for the bus
- — Keeping up with the kids
Staying hydrated ensures your blood volume maintains its optimal levels, so your body can create energy and keep you active.
How It Helps Your Immune System
With the basic benefits of staying hydrated covered, let's dive into how drinking enough water helps the immune system specifically. Without the proper functionality of your immune system, you're more susceptible to catching viruses, flues, and other diseases.
1. Keeps Organs Functioning Properly
As we mentioned before, proper hydration helps your body maintain an ideal level of blood. Because of this, your kidneys, lungs, and intestines can continue to function correctly and prevent any difficulties.
With proper hydration, your immune system doesn't have to worry about carrying extra responsibilities that should go to your organs. With healthy and well-functioning organs, your immune cells can focus on fighting diseases and keeping you healthy.
2. Keeps Joints Lubricated
Besides maintaining the proper functionality of your organs and muscles, staying hydrated also helps your joints. The water brings oxygen to the cells in your joints, allowing them to open up and have more dexterity into old age.
The added freedom of movement also helps keep your immune system on track to fight disease and infections in your body. When your joints are healthy, your whole body benefits.
3. Prevents Infections
Drinking water helps build up your immunity to infections, diseases, and other viruses. Water carries oxygen throughout your body, which is good for your white blood cells.
Without enough water, your immune cells cannot fight infections as effectively, leading you to be more susceptible to falling ill.
4. Eliminates Toxins Naturally
Your kidneys and immune system are essential to keeping toxic material out of your body. When either of these systems malfunctions, you'll fall ill more easily and not recover quickly.
Specifically, your kidneys need appropriate water levels to filter toxins out of your body. By staying hydrated, you help your body carry oxygen to your essential organs, allowing them to work at a higher capacity and handle more disease.
The Negative Effects of Being Over Hydrated
Unfortunately, there is such a thing as drinking too much water. While difficult to put too much water into your system, the possibility is still present, especially if you're training for a marathon, another sport, or have heart or kidney problems.
If you think that you're suffering from over-hydration, be sure to talk to a professional and do not diagnose yourself.
Among other things, you could experience these symptoms if your fluid intake is too high.
1. Nausea and Vomiting
If you're feeling nauseated without having eaten anything, you could be drinking too much water. Nausea is a common symptom of many conditions, so you'll need to have additional symptoms for a diagnosis of overhydration to occur.
If you are vomiting or dry heaving, make sure that you check the contents of your throw up. You should see watery spittle rather than food contents. Of course, sometimes having too much water will cause you to throw up the food that you're attempting to eat.
Headaches are another symptom that comes with a variety of diseases and conditions. Staying hydrated can prevent headaches. However, headaches from overhydration are due to a lack of sodium in your system.
Without enough sodium in your blood, your body cannot function properly, leading to overexertion of energy. Because of this, you could develop headaches from drinking too much water.
3. Muscle Weakness
Your muscles need water to function, but drinking too much can lead to feelings of weakness or spasms. If you drink too much water, you flush the essential sodium out of your system. Without sodium, your muscles fatigue and tire quicker than usual.
If you are an athlete, it's essential to keep your muscles working at peak performance condition. Because of this need, make sure to monitor your water content. You don't want to drink too much and be unable to perform at your best.
If your over-hydration is too severe, you risk passing out from overexertion. Without enough sodium in your system, your body cannot function properly. Not only do your muscles weaken, but you also lose brain capacity. Also, your blood flow slows down, and tasks get more strenuous.
Without proper monitoring, you could drink too much and faint. Athletes and generally, active people need to watch their water intake. If they drink too much, they could fall unconscious in the middle of their sport or fitness routine.
Make Staying Hydrated Your Game Plan
Staying hydrated is essential to keeping your immune system healthy and happy both during and after cold and flu season. If plain water doesn't sound appealing to you, try drinking fluids with lemon or other fruits to flavor them. Otherwise, you can drink tea, which helps boost the immune system, builds muscle endurance, and provides antioxidants to your body.
If you struggle to get enough water throughout the day, consider bringing a large water bottle around with you and fill it up when you need. You can also place water in areas you commonly frequent, such as your bedroom, living room, and office.
By staying hydrated, you can reap multiple benefits that boost the health of your skin, hair, cardiovascular health, and more. Water is an essential part of the immune system functions, so drink up and stay hydrated!