One of the biggest changes I’ve made to my diet over the years was to increase the amount of water I drink. When I started working for SparkPeople over 7 years ago, I probably drank about 2 glasses of liquid a day (outside of exercise). I’d have a glass of orange juice for breakfast and a glass of milk for dinner, and that’s about it. Being surrounded by people who drank water throughout the day made me more conscious of how much I was having and the fact that I probably needed to be drinking a little more.
As soon as I started drinking more, I noticed a difference in my energy level and my mood. I felt better overall. I’m not saying that everyone needs to start chugging the H2O, but in my case, I think I was probably dehydrated most of the time. New research shows that not drinking enough could be affecting your mood and cognitive abilities.
The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, “tested mood, concentration and mental skills in 25 women who either were given enough fluids to remain optimally hydrated or were induced into a mildly dehydrated state.” The women’s mood and cognitive abilities were tested during exercise and at rest. Although being dehydrated didn’t seem to affect their performance on mental tests, it did affect how difficult they perceived the tasks to be and also affected their moods. Many women experienced headaches, loss of concentration and lower moods. Participants’ hydration levels were about 1% below optimal, so it didn’t take much for them to start experiencing these negative symptoms.
Everyone is different, so experts no longer say that each person has to drink 8 glasses of water daily. One of the best ways to know if you’re drinking enough is to check the color of your urine. If it looks slightly yellow, like you squeezed a lemon in it, you’re probably okay. Any darker, and you might want to drink a little more. There are other benefits to drinking water, especially if you’re replacing your daily soda or energy drink with a glass of H2O. Ever wonder how much water you should be drinking during exercise? Here are some easy tips for how to drink more.
What do you think? Do you notice changes in your mood when you’ve not had enough water to drink?
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