After a particularly exasperating experience, it’s common to quip, “I could use a drink!” That may be true — as long as you reach for water, not wine. A fascinating study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition found that dehydration may be messing with your serenity. Researchers had 25 young women take part in a treadmill test — half of whom were given water. Those without access to water bottles became mildly dehydrated. This caused an 8% increase in feelings of anger/hostility, a 19% increase in disturbed mood and a 55% impairment in their ability to concentrate (loss of focus).
While dehydration can lead to temporary weight loss (the women in this study registered an average temporary drop of 1.9 pounds), it can sabotage your diet longer term. For one thing, thirst is often mistaken for hunger, making it difficult to avoid temptation. Drinking water may even elevate your metabolic rate — and help you eat less (UNC research found that those who drank at least 7 cups of water daily consumed 200 fewer calories). Another study found that drinking two cups of water before meals resulted in 44% more weight loss. By regulating the viscosity of your blood, adequate water intake may also reduce your risk of fatal coronary heart disease.
In addition to drinking up, other natural, healthy mood-boosting tips include:
- Getting enough zinc from sources like oysters, crab, lobster and lentils.
- Aerobic exercise to release mood-enhancing brain chemicals.
- Hanging out with positive, happy people.
- Increasing folate intake with beans, spinach and asparagus.
- Meeting vitamin D needs with canned sardines, canned salmon or responsible sun exposure.
Published March 1, 2012