Imagine a drink that energizes, increases muscle volume, improves cognitive performance, curbs appetite, lifts your mood and cures hangovers—all while registering at zero calories.
This wonder drink is actually a reality. In fact, it’s on tap. Chemists call it oxidane.
We know it as water.
We all know water is important, but how much H2O does the average college student need?
According to the Institute of Medicine, men need three liters, or 13 cups, of water a day. Women need a little less hydration at 2.2 liters, or nine cups.
To put it visually, imagine a two-liter bottle of soda filled with water. Drink the entire bottle, and you’re almost hydrated for the day.
More than two liters a day may seem like agua overkill, but the benefits of staying hydrated combined with the dangers of dehydration make every drop of water your body receives paramount.
RECOVER FROM THE WEEKEND
One claim to fame water holds is its essential role in preventing hangovers.
Water, after the liver and kidneys, is a chief agent in our body’s detoxification process. It is used to flush toxins like alcohol out of the blood stream via the liver.
However, if too many toxins build up in the blood stream, the liver can’t detoxify blood at the appropriate rate. A side effect of this toxin traffic jam is dehydration.
Fortunately, water’s pivotal role in processing alcohol goes both ways.
If the appropriate amount of water is consumed in proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed, the liver will detoxify faster, and a hangover can be avoided.
A common rule of thumb is one glass of water for every drink consumed. Go drink for drink your next night out, and chances are you’ll be glad you did the next morning.
IMPROVING TEST SCORES
Drinking enough water may also improve your GPA.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut measured mental performance in subjects who were dehydrated after running on treadmills.
They found that individuals who didn’t drink water after exercise had more difficulty concentrating and completing mental tasks that required vigilance than their counterparts who hydrated after the run.
In collegiate terms, this may explain why those Monday pop quizzes seem extra difficult after a weekend of socializing.
DRINK MORE, EAT LESS
In addition to aiding the academic mind, water also quiets the hunger sensors in your brain.
The thirst mechanism in our brains feels very similar to our body’s hunger mechanism. Consequently, you may think you’re hungry when you’re actually dehydrated.
Not only will proper H2O levels tell your mind it isn’t mealtime, but it will also fill extra volume in the stomach, helping you feel fuller longer.
Experts recommend drinking one glass of water before a meal and at least one glass while you’re eating.
Water can also help you look better and improve performance in the gym.
When you hit the weights, your body produces lactic acid as a by-product of strenuous exercise. Dehydration lowers your lactic threshold, the amount of lactic acid your muscles can hold.
So the less hydrated you are, the earlier your muscles will begin to ache during exercise.
Water’s muscle aid doesn’t stop there, though.
About 75 percent of muscle is water. The more water you drink, the more hydrated you’ll be, priming your muscles for a fuller, toned look.
BOTTOM LINE FOR HYDRATION
Whether you need a hangover cure, mental pick-me-up, appetite ally or exercise energy, water is the solution.