Written by Dr. Inez Van Roy on
July 24, 2021
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Inez Van Roy on:

How Water Improves Brain Function

Does drinking water help with brain fog? Brain fog is a term used to describe the symptoms of mental fatigue, lack of focus, and forgetfulness. Does drinking water help with brain fog? Read on for an in-depth article about how dehydration affects your brain and find out what you can do to avoid it!

H2O is a Crucial Brain Booster

Water can help keep your mind clear, focused, and sharp! Drinking plenty of water helps reduce the risk of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to shrinkage in the size of a person’s brain cells.

Did you know? Our brains are 75% water! The cells use water for electricity transmission needed to keep the brain in balance. This means that getting dehydrated can make your neurons stop working as well as they should.

Water has many important jobs. One of them is to carry nutrients all the way to our brain cells. It also can help protect your brain from damage.

How Dehydration Affects Your Brain

When our brain cells don’t have enough water, our brain gets “excited”. It then starts firing signals without control. This is called “excitotoxicity”.

Excitotoxins can cause cell death and brain damage. Being dehydrated leads to fuzzy-headed feelings and mental symptoms.

Research has shown it’s much easier to become exhausted when you’re dehydrated. This often causes one to feel dazed or unfocused due to a lack of blood flow going to and from the brain.

Mental Symptoms of Dehydration

Many of the benefits people receive from drinking water are related to brain function.

For example: Brain fog and short-term memory loss become more frequent once dehydration levels begin to rise. Prolonged dehydration can result in shrinkage of brain cells. A condition common in many elderly who have suffered from dehydration for years.

It is important to stay hydrated because it helps keep your whole body healthy. Not only your brain. When we become dehydrated, less blood circulates in your bloodstream. This can lead to elevated stress hormones that have a negative effect on cognition and mood.

Some mental symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Depression
  • Afternoon fatigue
  • Sleep issues
  • Inability to focus
  • Lack of mental clarity, sometimes referred to as “brain fog.”

Is all water the same?

Some people are picky about what water they drink, while others are fine with drinking tap water. But is tap water actually safe and they don’t want us to know?

The truth is, regardless of what water you’re drinking, you need to know your water source! There are so many factors that determine if the water you’re drinking is good for you.

Where does your local water come from? If your city pulls water from a man made lake, chances are it contains a stew of toxins not found in natural sources. This is the case in many states across the U.S. due to being so far inland.

How is the water treated? To disinfect water from a toxic source, water treatment plants must use strong chemicals and astringents.

While we don’t want the harmful bacteria, or parasites, these chemicals are also taxing to our liver and cause problems like brain fog.

Are the water pipes in your house clean? Water pipes can get gross inside! Especially if you live in an older house, or if you have poor water quality.

Toxic “gunk” builds up in water pipes. The dirtier your water is, the faster this build up happens. In most cases, pipes also leach toxic heavy metals into the water that are also bad for our brains.

It’s important to see what process your water goes through on it’s way to you!

To be on the safe side, a good quality water filter system would be crucial. The purpose of water is to help keep our organs and systems clean. But without clean water, that’s not possible.

Look into these water filter systems for your home

  • Berkey
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • ProOne

Is bottled water better?

The prices of bottled water can be pretty crazy, but is it worth it?

There aren’t a lot of regulations on bottling water and selling it for consumers. Meaning your fancy bottled water could be coming from anywhere. You can’t always trust labels. Every company and brand is different.

Each year bottled water is tested and the results are made public so we can make the best choice available.

If you’re out and about, opting for bottled water over tap is definitely better. (Especially tap water found in most restaurants.)

Bottled water can be a safer choice compared to tap water but recent studies have shown how the plastic is impacting our health.

It’s easy to look at the water inside a plastic bottle and see it as two separate things. However, plastic is a softer material with tiny pores. When water (or food) sits in plastic, the contents inside the bottle absorb microplastics and other harmful chemicals.

Another great reason to invest in a high-quality water filtration system!

How to Make Sure You Drink Enough Water

There are many tips out there for drinking more water, but it comes down to making it a simple habit. Follow these tips and your brain will thank you!

Tips:

Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning!

Give your system a jump start by drinking water on an empty stomach! A large glass of room temperature water within 30 minutes of waking up helps our body eliminate toxins.

Doing this cuts through brain fog, bloating, fatigue and weight loss. It gives your digestive system a kick start and gets things moving in the body to better handle the day’s tasks.

Room temperature water

Did you know? Many times when we have “hunger pains”, our body is really asking for water. Drinking water before each meal is a great way to stay hydrated. It will also get your metabolism going, aiding in better digestion and prevent you from overeating.

Buy a reusable water bottle!

Find a big reusable bottle and fill it up throughout your day. This makes it much easier to drink one third of your body weight in ounces. We’re all busy so convenience is key here!

You want a large bottle but not huge so you can easily take it wherever you go. Making your water bottle accessible is key here! We’re all busy so make it convenient for you and you’re good as gold! Aim for one-third of your body weight in ounces throughout the day.

Infused water

Adding flavor to plain water really helps for those who really don’t like the taste of water! When water sits with the fruit and/or herbs, time allows the essence of the vegetation to infuse the water.

You only need small handfuls or fresh fruits and/or an herb, along with clean water to achieve great flavor. This also adds extra health benefits like antioxidants that are great for the brain.

It’s delicious, refreshing and gives your brain and immune system a good boost! Sounds like a win win to me! There are so many flavor combinations you can try! Glass containers are best. Plastic can leave a weird chemical after taste.

Here are some infused water flavor combinations to get you started:

  • Lemon Cucumber
  • Blueberry Mint
  • Blackberry Orange
  • Strawberry Lime

Swap out the soda!

Ditch the soda for some sparkling water! Not only will you feel better by eliminating all the sugar found in soda, it’s a fun way to stay hydrated!

Next time you feel like a treat or have a soda craving grab a bottle of sparkling water. If you don’t like the plain flavor at first (this can be an adjustment for those used to sugary drinks.) add a splash of antioxidant juice, or squeeze a fresh lime and pour over ice. Give it a try and your body will thank you!

Exercising?

As mentioned above, we need a minimum of one third our body weight in ounces a day but what about when we exercise? Here’s what’s important.. Drinking water before, during AND after exercising.

Don’t push yourself too far and plan on getting your ounces in once you’re done with your workout. Not only does this combat dehydration but it will give you a better workout by improving stamina.

It is recommended to drink 16 fluid ounces for every hour that is spent exercising. You could follow the same guideline for sweating outside in the heat. Make sure to keep your water with you at all times!

Foods with a High Water Content

Did you know that you can eat your water too? If you’re someone who has a hard time drinking enough water in a day, add these foods to your diet for extra hydration.

1. Watermelon: Watermelon is 92% water content, making it a great fruit for hydration! It is high in vitamin C and antioxidants. As well as containing Vitamin B’s and lycopene which is excellent for brain health and focus.

2. Cucumbers: Cucumbers have a 96% water content. They are a great choice because they are low in calories and high in nutrients! High antioxidants, Vitamins K and C, cucumbers help brain fog by fighting inflammation.

3. Celery: Celery is 92% water content and is great for brain health because it is high in vitamin K and folate. Folate is vital for optimum cognitive function. This is a must for the formation of brain membranes.

4. Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe is of 90% water and is great for our brains!  It aids in concentration due to it’s potassium. This also helps regulate the body’s fluid balance.

This fruit also contains important amino acids needed for brain function and development! These benefits also make cantaloupe a great choice after being outside in the heat.

5. Strawberries. : Strawberries have a 91% water content. This fruit is high in Vitamin C and antioxidants making it a great choice for hydration and brain health! They also have other nutrients that are good for the brain, such as folate and potassium.

6. Zucchini: Zucchini is 94% water. It’s a good choice for hydration because it is high in vitamin C, folate and potassium. It’s anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants make it a great choice for brain health!

7. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are 95% water and amazing for our brain. They are a great source of lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that can help with memory and concentration. We all could use more of that!

8. Bell Peppers: Bell Peppers have a water content of 92%. They are high in nutrients like vitamins A, B and C. Bell peppers are also very low in calories (about 18 per cup). This makes bell peppers a great choice for those also looking to lose weight.

9. Broccoli: Broccoli is about 90% water believe it or not! It contains nutrients like Vitamin K, Vitamin A and Calcium. Broccoli also contains Glucosinolates which act as anti-inflammatory agents in the body.

10. Romaine Lettuce: Romaine Lettuce has a very high water content of 96%. Lettuce is also a good source of B vitamins. As well as Vitamins A and C. These vitamins help to promote better brain function and fight free radicals.

Conclusion

There are a lot of factors that go into brain fog. If you’re experiencing symptoms, it’s important to identify the root cause and get treatment as soon as possible.

One way to do this is by following our guidelines for hydration while exercising or enjoying your day outside in the heat. You can also fight inflammation with foods high in antioxidants such as watermelon, cucumbers and tomatoes. These tips should help you keep your mind sharp!

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