4 Ways Water Can Boost Your Immune System
Drinking water is the first habit in our Simple 9 nutritional program. Besides strength training, we feel that drinking enough water is the most impactful thing you can do to improve your health.
The average person is 40-70% water. The variance, of course, depends on how much fat you have. Your blood is 90% water, your brain—85%, and your muscles—70%. If you are dehydrated, the parts of your body that are composed of the highest percentage of water suffer the most. This means your blood cells, brain cells and muscle cells can all be compromised if you are dehydrated.
In our Simple 9 Nutritional program, we talk extensively about how drinking plenty of water can help you achieve a healthy weight. But water benefits your body in so many other ways. Here’s how drinking water affects your immune system.
1. Water Oxygenates Your Cells
Your lungs need to be hydrated to properly perform the vital task of delivering oxygen to your red blood cells and removing carbon dioxide. The simple act of breathing expels a lot of water vapor. Drinking plenty of water keeps your lungs hydrated so they can perform optimally. Your blood is your body’s transport system, taking nutrients to cells and removing waste. It supplies oxygen to all the cells of your body. If your cells are happy, healthy and packed with oxygen, they can fire on all cylinders. If your cells lack oxygen, especially your immune cells, they will not function optimally.
2. Water Helps Lymph Production
Another way that drinking water boosts the immune system is through the production of lymph. This fluid runs throughout the human body, with a very simple job—collecting bacteria from the body and transporting it to the lymph nodes, where that bacteria is destroyed like the unwelcome and unhelpful parasite it is. Think of a glass of water as a waterfall, cascading into your body—the more that you manage to consume, the more work your lymph nodes can do. This will also benefit you hugely in the long-term, as lymph fluid can prevent extremely serious diseases such as leukemia.
3. Water Removes Toxins
Water naturally helps your body eliminate toxins and bacteria that cause illness. Your kidneys filter your blood and remove toxins all day long. The more water you drink, the better your kidneys function in flushing out unwelcome toxins through urination. Also, if you don’t drink enough water, your immune system may have to focus on a bladder infection, which will reduce its ability to fight off other invaders. Dehydration can also cause constipation, which keeps toxins in your body longer.
4. Water Helps You Lose Weight
We are big fans of water’s ability to help you lose weight. Many of our clients lose a good deal of weight in their first few weeks of working with us just because we coach them to drink more water.
In a 2014 study, 50 overweight women drank two cups of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner for 8 weeks, in addition to their regular water consumption. The participants experienced a reduction in body weight, body fat, and body mass index. They also reported a reduction in appetite.
The women in the study burned between 2 and 3 percent more calories than usual in the 90 minutes after drinking two cups of water.
Also, drinking ice-cold water (with ice in the glass) will cause you to burn more calories. For every ounce of ice-cold water you drink, your body burns an extra calorie. If you drink a gallon of ice water, you can burn an extra 128 calories a day.
Drinking more water, especially cold, will help you lose weight.
So, what does this have to do with your immune system? It turns out that being obese impairs your immune system. Obesity has been shown to lower the integrity of your lymph nodes, reduce your production of white blood cells, and increase pro-inflammatory cytokines. Excess adipose tissue promotes an abundance of pro-inflammatory cytokines, causing obese people to suffer from chronic inflammation, which can result in high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and diabetes.
A 2017 study of the efficacy of the influenza vaccine found that obesity actually impaired response to the vaccine through alterations of the cellular immune system. The study found that vaccinated obese adults had twice the risk of getting an influenza-like illness as healthy weight adults. If you’re waiting for a COVID vaccine before you venture out again, it would be wise to do everything you can to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Drinking plenty of water will get you headed in the right direction.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
We recommend you start by drinking a minimum of 8 to 12 cups of water every day. Drink 2 cups first thing in the morning when you wake up. Then drink 2 cups before every meal. If you want to increase the fat burning effect of water, always put ice in the cup. And remember, the more active you are, the more water you need.
If you just don’t like the taste of water, spice it up by adding lemon, berries or cucumbers to your water.
You need a stronger immune system now more than ever. Start by giving it plenty of water.
Stay Strong and Healthy,