I’m hoping that yesterday’s discussion didn’t scare you away from drinking water. Because while fluoride poses potential risks to developing brains, dehydration poses potential risks to cognition as well—especially if you’re an older woman over the age of 60.
That’s the takeaway of a recent study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition. And it’s a risk that everyone should know about—especially when you consider how easy it is to reverse.
Your focus suffers first
Penn State researchers looked at data from more than 2,500 men and women aged 60 or older who participated in the Nutrition and Health Examination Survey. This included blood samples and questionnaires on food and drink consumption, which they used to assess hydration status.
Researchers asked participants to complete three cognitive assessments, designed to measure verbal recall, verbal fluency, processing speed, sustained attention, and working memory.
Ultimately, after accounting for a host of other factors, researchers identified a prominent trend toward lower scores in processing speed, attention, and memory among women who were under-hydrated.
Interestingly, they found the same deficits in women who were overhydrated—a problem you’ll encounter from electrolyte imbalances, and a risk that comes with diuretic use and extremely low salt intake.
For most people, though, inadequate hydration is the main concern. Especially as you age, since your muscle mass and kidney function tend to decline. This lowers water reserves and makes it harder for your body to pick up on hormonal signals that tell you when you’re thirsty.
And according to this research—one of the few studies to look at hydration in older subjects under normal conditions—your concentration and focus could be suffering because of it.
The rules of hydration
It’s easy to let proper hydration fall by the wayside—especially in the dead of winter, when you’re not sweating it out in the sunshine every day. So it’s the perfect time to revisit the basics.
No doubt you’ve heard the “eight glasses a day” advice before. But the fact is, that may or may not be enough. To set the record straight, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. So a 150-pound woman would need 75 ounces of water daily, as a rule of thumb.
But if you exercise, you need to drink more. For every 30 minutes you spend in the gym, you should add another eight ounces to your daily total. (And no, caffeinated beverages do not count in this calculation. In fact, each cup of coffee you drink requires another cup of water to make up for it.)
I realize that may sound like a lot, but it doesn’t take long to make a habit of it. Down a full glass first thing in the morning, before each meal, and another one before bed. That will make a big dent in your daily requirement right there. You should also keep water with you at all times (or at least, whenever you’re able) and take a big sip every couple of minutes.
Make these simple adjustments to your current routine and you’ll meet your daily quota without even thinking about it… and greet every day with plenty of brain power to spare.
P.S. There are countless ways to protect and restore memory, strengthen focus, and build a bigger, brighter brain—naturally. In fact, my Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Plan outlines my own recommendations in a step-by-step online learning tool. To learn more about it, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Hydration may affect cognitive function in some older adults.” Science Daily, 12/12/2019. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191212142720.htm)