Did you know there’s one simple action that can help decrease current feelings of stress and improve your body's response? Drink water.
The relationship between hydration and stress is well documented. Basically, when you’re dehydrated, your body is stressed, and when you're stressed your brain releases stress hormones, setting off a chain reaction of the stress response in your body. Research from the University of Cincinnati and published in the Journal of Neuroscience concluded that how hydrated you are determines how well your body (and your mind, and therefore emotions and behavior) handles stress.
Another large piece of the hydration-stress puzzle is that the body requires water for absorbing nutrients, optimal metabolism and proper oxygenation. All of these functions are critical for keeping your body and mind working well.
Remember to drink water throughout the day with these tips from the pros:
1. Drink the right amount for your body weight.
As a general guideline, drink about 1/2 to 1 ounce of water for every pound you weigh. Keep a water bottle handy throughout the day.
2. Drink before each meal.
Try drinking a glass of water before you eat a meal, as well as during meals, to make sure you stay hydrated while consuming food.
3. Eat something spicy.
Adding more spice to your meals will help prompt you to reach for your water glass. If you're not big on spicy foods, even adding a touch more black pepper to dishes can do the trick.
4. Set a reminder.
Set hourly reminders on your phone to drink up. Better yet, put the timer or your phone in a spot far enough away that you have to get up and walk to it.
5. Add flavor.
Get yourself a water bottle with a flavor infuser and enjoy the fresh essence of mint, lemon/lime, strawberries, blueberries, rosemary or cucumber while staying hydrated.
(Real Simple magazine provides smart, realistic solutions to everyday challenges. Online at www.realsimple.com.)
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