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6 Surprising Health Benefits of Staying Hydrated

Staying hydrated gives you more energy, a better memory and will help you combat your next cold.

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Surprising health benefits of staying hydratedPhoto: ShutterStock

Staying Hydrated Means Drinking Enough Water—But How Much?

How much water you need to consume on a daily basis depends on several factors, including your weight, the climate where you live and how often you exercise. The clearest sign that you’re adequately hydrated is transparent yellow or pale urine. If yours is a darker yellow, you probably need to start drinking more. The common rule of thumb that one should drink eight 250-millilitre glasses a day is a good place to start. If you are properly staying hydrated, these six positive health results should follow.

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Staying hydrated gives you more energyPhoto: ShutterStock

You’ll Have More Energy

Water helps keep up a steady flow of nutrients into your cells, which boosts your energy. (Here are 13 more easy ways to give your energy levels a boost.) According to a review of hydration research from the University of North Carolina and Tufts University, when you’re dehydrated, this process is hampered—cell membranes become less permeable, affecting your physical and mental perform­ance and making you feel sluggish. Don’t miss the five warning signs you’re suffering from dehydration.

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Staying hydrated gives you strength Photo: Shutterstock

You’ll Feel Strong When You Work Out

Water helps your muscles maintain the right balance of electrolytes—like sodium, potassium and magnesium—to function properly. Without water, you’re more prone to cramping, and research suggests that even low levels of dehydration impair physical perform­ance when exercising. Check out six more strategies to prevent cramping.

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Staying hydrated curbs appetitePhoto: ShutterStock

You Might Overeat Less Often

A 2016 study from the University of Illinois involving more than 18,000 adults found that when people increased their daily water intake by 250 to 750 millilitres (on top of the litre they drank on average), they consumed as many as 205 fewer calories a day. (As well as drinking more water, these tips will help with overeating.)

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Staying hydrated improves your memoryPhoto: ShutterStock

Your Memory May Improve

Our brains are hugely dependent on fluid—synapses and neurons need liquid to fire properly. According to a 2003 review published in the journal Nutrients, studies have consistently found that memory and attention improve in children after they take a drink of water. The research isn’t as definitive yet for adults, but it can’t hurt to assume it’ll help us, too. You can also try these 10 natural concentration-boosters.

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Staying hydrated helps you fight a coldPhoto: ShutterStock

You’ll Better Combat Cold Symptoms

There’s a reason your doctor tells you to drink more when you’re getting sick. As your body launches its attack against germs, your cells need to be properly hydrated to maintain that effort. Drinking water also helps loosen mucus, which keeps your nose and throat moist. Here are 25 more ways to deal with a cold.

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Staying hydrated prevents constipationPhoto: ShutterStock

You’ll Keep Things Regular

“Water interacts with dietary fibre in the digestive tract to bulk stools,” says Dr. Jordan J. Karlitz, professor of clinical medicine at the Tulane Cancer Center in Louisiana. So by staying hydrated, among other proactive measures—including eating these six constipation-fighting foods—you can reduce the risk of constipation and keep things moving along.

Next up: Fibre is good for us, but scientists haven’t really known why—until now!

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada