The Importance Of Hydration For Your Mental Health
We invited nutritional therapist and wellbeing coach Emma Skilton to discuss the importance of hydration for your mental health.
Hydration is key to good overall health and Wholesome World is dedicated to providing you with authorised insight into both physical and mental health research.
Learn about how and why hydration is key to a healthy mindset and how it could prevent neurological illness. There are simple and easy ways to identify your hydration levels which Emma explains below alongside ways to stay hydrated beyond a glass of water.
Author Emma Skilton
how much hydration do we need?
Did you know that our brain is approximately 75% water? It makes sense then, that keeping our body and brain hydrated is important. We only need to be slightly dehydrated and our body reacts. Typical mental symptoms caused by dehydration are increased anxiety and low mood. Losing just 1% of our body’s water can lead to feelings of depression.
“We only need to be slightly dehydrated and our body reacts. Typical mental symptoms caused by dehydration are increased anxiety and low mood.”
When we are dehydrated this also affects our ability to digest foods efficiently, which will affect our gut microbiome. There is a direct link between gut health and mental health, keeping the body topped up with water will help flush out toxins and reduce inflammatory markers. All helpful to reduce the likelihood of depression or even dementia.
How do you know if you are getting enough water?
One of the easiest ways is to notice the colour of your urine. Ideally it will be light straw coloured. Too dark and this is a sign of dehydration and the kidneys will be having to work harder to flush out toxins. Be aware that some medications and food such as beetroot can affect the colour. If your urine is colourless it is possible you are drinking too much water and in this case you may be washing out essential vitamins and minerals.
“If your urine is colourless it is possible you are drinking too much water and in this case you may be washing out essential vitamins and minerals.”
You may notice that your skin changes with dehydration, it can be dry, look dull and sometimes redness may occur. Your mouth will be dry and you would expect to feel thirsty. However not everyone experiences these as symptoms.
how to get enough water into your daily diet
So while water is not a cure for mental health conditions, there is certainly plenty of evidence to show that by staying hydrated our body functions more efficiently, we have greater clarity and energy, are likely to feel calmer and cope better with challenging situations.
There are plenty of ways to add fluid to your daily routine. Consider trying some different herbal teas or adding fruit such as slices of orange or lemon to water if you find plain tap water unappealing. Fruit and vegetables with a high water content such as melon and cucumber make good snacks to help with hydration. You can consume up to a fifth of your daily fluid intake through fruit and vegetables. When choosing what to eat, aim for half the plate to be a great combination of vegetables and have a large glass of water alongside each meal.
“You can consume up to a fifth of your daily fluid intake through fruit and vegetables.”
There are a number of apps available to track your water intake and even remind you to drink. On average adults need around six glasses a day. More if exercising and losing moisture through sweat. Notice how when you are sufficiently hydrated your brain feels more alert, your muscles work more easily and your heart rate is calmer.
The next time you feel anxious, ask yourself, have you consumed enough fluids? It could really make a difference to your day.
About the Author.
Emma Skilton is a nutritional therapist and certified Women’s coach. She is passionate about supporting her clients to modify their diets to support their gut health and ultimately improve their lives through looking after themselves inside and out. She runs a number of wellbeing workshops as well as offering gut reset programmes and one to one coaching sessions. Her free group She’s Got Guts can be accessed via Facebook where she shares recipes and tips for maintaining a healthy microbiome. To see latest offerings visit emmaskilton.com
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