Monday, May 4, 2009

Are You Watering Your Brain?

We all know we need to drink water every day. The recommended amount to start follows the “8 x 8 rule”—eight 8-oz glasses a day. If you really want to figure it, divide your body weight in half for the number of ounces you need each day. Then divide that by 8 to get the number of 8-oz glasses per day.

But why?

Lots of reasons. You know you need to stay hydrated. To help with food digestion, body function, and to help signal when you’re full, you should drink a glass before each meal. Drinking water before a meal helps with weight loss for this very reason. But, did you know, you need to “water your brain” for optimal mental performance?

The brain is made up of a series of neural connections. These neurons have a space in between called a “synapse,” that’s full of water. When a signal runs along a neuron, it gets to the synapse and releases a chemical called a neuro-transmitter which carries the signal across the water to the next neuron.

What happens if there’s no water in that synapse? New research has shown that by the time you become thirsty, the water in your synapse is so dehydrated that the signal has trouble getting through. The result: your brain can’t function as well and your ability to learn, react, and store and retrieve information is significantly reduced.

So, water your brain for optimal mental performance, and water yourself to keep your body hydrated. At the same time, keep in mind that:

  • The American Journal of Epidemiology reports that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day are 41 percent less likely to die from a heart attack than those who drink less than two glasses.
  • Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.
  • Drinking a healthy amount of water has been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. It can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50 percent and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Now I’ve made myself thirsty. Cheers!

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