Eating better is a goal for many people at the beginning of the year. The good news is that hydration can help in a big way. In fact, there are three specific ways that hydration can improve your diet.
First, drinking water before meals can help you feel fuller. A 2010 study found that participants, who drank a half-liter of water before meals, lost five additional pounds during a 12-week trial (ii). Also, water can help you avoid drinking sodas and other sugary drinks. And finally, drinking cold water throughout the day has been shown to boost metabolism.
2. Reach your fitness goals.
Fitness is a common theme in the New Year. Maybe you’ve got your sights set on a half-Marathon, triathlon, or are just looking to challenge your exercise threshold.
When you exercise dehydrated, fatigue sets in more quickly and your endurance declines. Also, winning the mental battle is part of any exercise regime – and you got it: dehydration can lead to a drop in cognitive performance.
Learn More → “4 Ways Dehydration Is Killing Your Workout”
3. Increase your productivity.
There are only so many minutes in a day. Americans are always trying to optimize their lives, and increase their productivity at the office, at home, or in their free time.
Dehydration can derail productivity in an instant. In fact, dehydration is a common cause of fatigue and sluggishness. It’s even been called the No. 1 cause of midday fatigue. At work, at home, or on the weekend, hydration can help you perform to the best of your ability. In fact, just slight dehydration of 1% was found to cause a 12% drop in worker productivity in one study.
Learn More → “5 Surprising Benefits of Proper Hydration”
4. Reduce stress.
After a hectic holiday season, taking time to de-stress and relax is a smart way to start the year. But how can hydration help? First, dehydration has been shown to increase cortisol levels in the body, which is problematic because cortisol is the primary stress hormone (iii). Fortunately, these levels return to normal when you’re properly hydrated.
Thus, chronic dehydration can be a driver for chronic stress. But stress is just one way dehydration can affect your mental health. It’s also been linked to anxiety, irritability, decreases in short-term memory, ability, and reasoning.
Learn More → “Dehydration and The Mind”
(ii) E.A. Dennis, A.L. Dengo, D.L. Comber, K.D. Flack, J. Savla, K.P. Davy, and B.M. Davy. Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults. Obesity. Feb 2010; 18(2): 300-307. (iii) Francesconi RP, Sawka MN, Hubbard RW & Pandolf KB (1989). Hormonal regulation of fluid and electrolytes: effects of heat exposure and exercise in the heat. In: Hormonal regulation of fluid and electrolytes. (pp 45–85). Springer US. Image from http://ryanmarciniak.com/archives/tag/new-years-resolution