The best-kept secret in brain health these days is water. Many adults don’t drink nearly enough water, and yet virtually no one is talking about the cognitive dangers of that. In today’s video, I explain why water is uniquely essential to brain function — and why not drinking enough water is particularly harmful to people with mild cognitive impairment.
Visit the GoCogno.com website:
Learn more about Dr. Lisa Mosconi and her book “Brain Food”:
Here is a partial transcript from today’s video:
You cannot turn around these days without bumping into one of those brain health lists. They’re everywhere. And when I see one of these lists, I’ve got a pretty good idea what’s going to be on it.
But I also know for sure the one thing that’s going to be missing. It’s one of the most vital ingredients in brain health, and yet it goes completely neglected.
When I tell you what it is, it’s going to be a big letdown, because it’s so obvious. It’s this. It’s water.
And I guess that’s the problem, it’s so obvious, it’s too obvious, and it ends up getting neglected. But here’s the reality, if you aren’t drinking enough water on a daily basis, and many people aren’t, it can cause cognitive problems, or if you’re already experiencing cognitive impairment caused by something else, dehydration can accelerate that cognitive loss.
Yet it’s the easiest thing in the world to fix. So today, let’s raise our glass to water.
Your body is 60 percent water, but your brain is 80 percent water. And that water is essential to how well your brain functions.
Yet the amount of water we need on a daily basis, which is about 64 ounces, most people are getting that much water, and they’re paying a cognitive price for it.
I’ve never quite understood why water is such a neglected issue in brain health, and why nobody is talking about it. Well, almost nobody.
One of the exceptions of Dr. Lisa Mosconi, one of the nation’s leading authorities on cognition and prevention of dementia, and author of the book Brain Food.
In her book, she devoted an entire chapter to the vital role that water plays in cognition. She says:
The body can’t store water, so we need a fresh supply every day to make up for the loss that occurs.
To meet the water needs of our brain, we need to drink 8 to 10 cups of water a day.
But according to the CDC, 43 percent of adults drink less than 4 cups of water a day, and 36 percent who drink only 1 to 3 cups.
The result is dehydration, and that dehydration accelerates the brain shrinkage that occurs either with normal aging or with cognitive impairment.
Yet the effects of dehydration can be fully reversed in a mater of days simply by drinking more water.
This is one of the easiest fixes I will ever offer you, and one of the most important. Whatever else you’re doing to preserve your cognition, the amount of water you’re drinking is either working along side that, or it’s working against those efforts.
If you’re not getting enough water, and your brain is suffering from dehydration as a result, drinking the necessary amount of water has been shown to improve cognition by 30 percent.
A good tip is to start your day with a good, long drink of water. Your body actually loses a lot of water overnight while you’re sleeping, so that first big drink of water in the morning can get your day off to a good start, and then you can just continue from there, drinking more water throughout the day.
You might want to increase the amount of water you’re drinking gradually, so that your body gets used to it, and you want to be careful about drinking too much water later in the day, as that might interrupt your sleep as you wake up in the middle of the night and need to use the bathroom.
You also want to be aware of the quality of your tap water and consider filtered water if that makes sense.
But with those things in mind, drink enough water. Your brain needs, and your cognition will benefit from it. I hope this was helpful to you today, and I look forward to seeing you again next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.
This site is educational, and is not intended as medical advice. It offers information about lifestyle choices that have been proven to help protect cognition. Always consult your doctor before making changes that can impact your health.