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Water makes everything better. Seriously. Proper hydration is likely connected to lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Researchers even found that it may make kissing more fun, since it increases our lips’ sensitivity.

Pretty sweet, hey?

No wonder, then, that water is also the most important nutrient in our diet.

We know we need it to survive, but did you know that even mild hydration can change brain function? When we dehydrate, our brains actually shrink. Gross, and no thank you!

Even more fascinating, current research suggests that our mood may be linked to our hydration, too.

Researchers didn’t start studying the link between hydration and mood until 2013, so this is really new stuff. In that first study, they found links between mild dehydration and many negative feelings: fatigue, lethargy, confusion…as soon as test subjects rehydrated, these effects reversed.

Straightforward, right?

We absorb water faster than you might think—less than five minutes from our mouths to our blood, and peak hydration after twenty minutes. And if you were wondering, cold water seems to absorb 20% more rapidly than warm. Something to keep in mind…

The coolest part? Our bodies know if we’re dehydrated.

Don’t believe me? Just ask yours!

If you down a glass or a bottle of water and run to the bathroom to pee not long after, you’re doing fine on the hydration front. If you drink all that water and nothing happens (your body “keeps” it), then you know you really needed it.

Researchers actually managed to systematize this “ask your body” rule: empty your bladder, then chug eleven milliliters per kilogram of your body weight (five milliliters/pound). That will probably be around three cups of water. Wait an hour, then observe the volume of your pee. (I know this is weird, but awesome too, right?!)

If you release less than one third (around one cup) of what you drank, you were probably dehydrated.

So, want to be happy? Drink up!

Don’t have time to study your pee? Not to worry—I’ve already compiled the research on perfect hydration here.

There is so much more to know about eating for health and happiness…check out Wild Nutrition: Your 30-Day Revolution to Plant-Based Vitality, and learn it! 

xx

Donna

D N Bateman. Effects of meal temperature and volume on the emptying of liquid from the human stomach. J Physiol. 1982 Oct;331:461-7.
D Negoianu, S Goldfarb. Just add water. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008 Jun;19(6):1041-3. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2008030274.
M J Kempton, U Ettinger, R Foster, S C Williams, G A Calvert, A Hampshire, F O Zelaya, R L O’Gorman, T McMorris, A M Owen, M S Smith. Dehydration affects brain structure and function in healthy adolescents. Hum Brain Mapp. 2011 Jan;32(1):71-9. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20999.
L E Armstrong, M S Ganio, J F Klau, E C Johnson, D J Casa, C M Maresh. Novel hydration assessment techniques employing thirst and a water intake challenge in healthy men. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014 Feb;39(2):138-44. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2012-0369.
H Valtin. “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 x 8”? Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2002 Nov;283(5):R993-1004.