We all think of water as something we need just to keep our bodies hydrated and working well. What most people don’t realize is that being hydrated is important to support our immune resilience.
In fact, studies show dehydration makes you more prone to infection and dysregulates the immune system.
When you become dehydrated, this impacts the immune system in several ways:
- Communication between immune cells becomes compromised.
- Biochemical pathways in the immune system become less efficient.
- Changes in blood volume compromise communication between the lymphatic system and different immune messengers throughout the body.
If you feel thirsty, or if you feel much better after drinking water, that’s a big clue you are dehydrated.
To improve immune resilience drink plenty of water throughout the day, and if you’re already infected, definitely make hydration a top priority. Drink three to four liters regularly throughout the day, more if you exercise.
Why people become dehydrated
One of the most common reasons people become dehydrated is from drinking too much coffee or tea, which act as diuretics. The same goes for alcohol. While these are liquids, they can’t be counted in your daily water intake.
Eating salty foods also can be dehydrating as the body will increase the frequency of urination to eliminate excess sodium in order to keep osmotic pressure regulated. To correct this cut back on salty foods. Taking potassium supplements can also help correct an imbalance of excess sodium.
Use a glass or metal bottle to track your water intake
There has to be some conscious effort to keep yourself hydrated if you’re trying to improve your immune resilience. If you have trouble keeping track of how much you drink throughout the day, get a 1-liter water bottle and make sure to fill and empty it 3 to 4 times a day. To avoid exposure to BPA and other toxins, avoid plastic containers and make sure to drink from a glass or metal bottle — and if it’s metal, check to make sure it’s not lined with plastic.
Our immune systems are constantly challenged by stress, environmental toxins, and other factors, and we need resilience strategies focused on the foundations of healthy immune function. In addition to proper hydration, this also includes emphasizing proper diet, plenty of good sleep, appropriate levels of physical activity, natural opioid release, and other basic strategies. I explore these topics in more depth in my free Everyday Immune Resilience course.