According to a study published in Physiological Reports, dehydration affects the human brain shape and activity. It may even slow down the task performance done by our brain. A Georgia Institute of Technology study suggests that when a person suffers from dehydration, part of the brain swells and doing daily tasks may get harder. The researchers also found that even without dehydration, exertion and heat may affect a person's performance, but water loss, or dehydration, made the dent about twice as deep. Mindy Millard-Stafford, the study's principal investigator, said, "We wanted to tease out whether exercise and heat stress alone have an impact on your cognitive function and study the effect of dehydration on top of that."
It was observed in the experiments, when participants exercised, sweated and consumed water, fluid-filled spaces called ventricles in the centre of their brains contracted. But, with exertion plus dehydration, the ventricles did the opposite; they expanded. "The areas in the brain required for doing the task appeared to activate more intensely than before, and also, areas lit up that were not necessarily involved in completing the task," said the study's first author Matt Wittbrodt. "We think the latter may be in response to the physiological state: the body signalling, 'I'm dehydrated'."
The task the subjects completed was mindless and repetitive. For 20 straight minutes, participants were asked to punch a button every time a yellow square appeared on a monitor. The task was dull for a reason. Wittbrodt said, "It was designed to hit essential neural processing one would use to make straightforward, repetitive movements."
5 Easy Ways To Include Enough Water Daily
1. Carry Your Own Water Bottle
Make sure you carry your own water bottle along. Also drink a glass of water before you step out. Make it an everyday ritual. Always remind yourself to sip on some water from time to time, even when you are not thirsty. If your job requires you to be at your desk all day, with very little physical activity involved, chances are you may not be feeling thirsty as often. Keep a water bottle always on your table.
(Also Read: 5 Benefits of Starting Your Day With Lemon Water)
2. Set "Drink Water" Reminder On Phone
Our smartphones allow us to set multiple reminders nowadays. Amongst the many that we set for our work related concerns, let 5-7 of them be solely dedicated to our daily water intake too. This way our phone will remind us of the much needed water break!
3. Replace Your Fizzy Drinks With Water
Ditch your fizzy drinks and cols with a glass of water. This will not only ensure that you stay away from loading up on unnecessary liquid calories but also help ensure your daily water intake is optimum.
(Also Read: 5 Untold Benefits Of Cucumber Water)
4. Add More Water-Rich Foods To The Diet
Fruits like watermelon, pineapple and veggies like cucumber and mushrooms are full of water. In fact, 94 percent of watermelon's weight is just water. Make sure you include these in your diet in form of salads and smoothies.
5. Avoid Food And Beverages That Cause Dehydration
Remove foods and beverages from your diet that result in dehydration. High sodium foods and fizzy beverages are some usual suspects that should be on your 'to avoid list'. An excess of beverages like coffee and tea are also guilty of leaving you dehydrated. Make sure you strike a balance and not replace water with coffee or tea.
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