Water is essential for all systems in our body. For example, water helps rid the body of waste through urine, helps maintain a healthy temperature through perspiration, and is a component that protects the brain and fetal development. . Given its essential role in supporting healthy bodily functions, the consequences of not drinking enough water could have adverse effects.
You may have learned that 8 glasses of water a day is a goal, and while that makes sense for some people, the recommended 11.5 to 15.5 glasses a day ensures adequate hydration for a wider range. of people.
Because water performs so many functions in the body, it’s no surprise that underhydration can have significant and concerning effects, nutritionist Kelsey Hampton, MS, CSSD, RDN, LD tells eatthis.com.
What will happen to your body if you don’t drink water?
You may feel hungrier
If you feel hungrier than usual during the day, it may be because you’re not drinking enough fluids, Hampton says. When you are dehydrated, your body may give you hunger signals to eat more salty or starchy foods that retain water in your body.
Next time you’re about to grab another handful of nuts, try drinking some water first to see if that satisfies you. While carbohydrate-based foods and drinks and electrolytes like sodium can help with hydration, water can keep you from consuming too many calories.
You may have headaches
While headaches can be caused by a number of factors, dehydration is the main culprit. Instead of taking a painkiller the next time you have a headache, try drinking water first. To prevent future headaches, drink water regularly throughout the day rather than waiting for symptoms of dehydration to appear before drinking fluids. Typically, if you’re thirsty, you may have already delayed your fluids for the day.
Water helps lubricate joints and tissues in your body and also helps move contents through your digestive system. When you don’t drink enough fluids, it can slow down the process of passing stool, leading to an uncomfortable buildup. In addition to the longer time between bathroom visits, your stool can also harden, which can lead to straining to go to the bathroom and increase your risk of hemorrhoids.
You may feel more tired
If caffeinated and sugary drinks are your favorite energy drinks, try replacing some of these drinks with water to boost your energy. This could lead to better hydration and reduce the caffeine and sugar hangover you might feel an hour or two after drinking. Although caffeinated beverages can help with overall hydration, they have a mild diuretic effect, causing increased urination.
Risk of heat stroke
Cramps, exhaustion and heatstroke are all linked to dehydration, Hampton says. Although you may associate these conditions with sports, a humid and hot environment can exacerbate existing dehydration and increase your risk of suffering from one of these heat illnesses. Heatstroke can be characterized by hot, dry skin, high body temperature, and weakness. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should drink fluids and contact a healthcare professional immediately.
Your metabolism may slow down
Drinking enough fluids has many benefits, one of which could be weight loss. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has documented research that found a 30% increase in participants’ metabolism after drinking about 17 glasses of water. The researchers also noted that increasing water intake by 1.5 liters per day could burn an additional 17,400 calories over the course of a year! It can make a big difference in your weight loss goals.
You may have trouble concentrating
Having trouble staying focused on the task at hand? This may be related to your hydration status. Your brain is 80% water, and even mild dehydration can affect your memory and attention, research shows. In fact, more severe levels of dehydration are accompanied by even more severe neurological symptoms, such as confusion and delirium.
Your heart rate may increase
Whether you’re sitting and working, watching TV, or running your daily errand, if you notice a higher than usual heart rate, it may be related to dehydration. When you don’t drink enough fluids, your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body, resulting in a faster heart rate. To help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently, start your day well hydrated and drink water and other fluids regularly throughout the day.