Saturday, May 4, 2013

Water As A Natural Remedy For Depression

One of the most effective and arguably the most important but often overlooked natural remedies for depression is water. Water makes up 60% of our body, and over 70% of our brain tissue. Water is the most essential nutrient for the human body and brain and it is logical that a deficiency in water can lead to all kinds of medical issues, including depression symptoms. Unfortunately, many individuals seem to take water for granted.

Whenever people have common ailments or symptoms of illnesses such as fever and flu, the basic advice given by their doctor is to "get plenty of rest and drink lots of water". Most people follow the first instruction and get their adequate rest, but for some reason place less importance on drinking enough water.

How much is enough water? You might have heard of the recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water daily. This is a myth. It does not take into account your environment (the hotter the area you live in, the more water you need), your gender, physical size and your activity levels. Bigger-sized individuals and pregnant or nursing women will need more water than others.

Some people advocate simply drinking when you feel thirsty (and similarly, eating only when you are hungry), that is, to simply trust your body's signals. This can work for some individuals, but many others might not find it workable, perhaps because their body simply doesn't send the right signals at the right time.

The best way to tell if you are properly hydrated is to look at your urine color. Pale yellow or straw-colored urine is considered ideal. Colorless urine usually means you are overhydrated and will have to go to the restroom every few minutes. Dark yellow means you might be dehydrated.

While overhydration is not typically an issue in most cases, recent research has suggested hyponatremia (low sodium in blood), which can cause swelling, including of the brain, as a potential, albeit fairly uncommon risk. This can cause seizures and lead to coma, and may even be fatal. Overhydration may also dilute the benefits of vitamin supplements that you are taking.

If you are constantly passing out dark-colored urine, you should try aiming for a lighter-colored urine by drinking more plain water. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can provide plenty of benefits including helping you to stay hydrated, as such foods typically have high water content. Stay away from or reduce your intake of coffee, beer or carbonated drinks. Those drinks may increase your frequency of urination, but actually have a dehydrating effect on your body. Cutting down on such harmful substances is one of the best natural remedies for depression.

Note that some medication, vitamin tablets and other conditions such as pregnancy can cause your urine to be a darker shade or even completely differently-colored. While not typically a cause for concern, it is always best to check with your doctor in such cases.

The smell of your urine, too, can indicate your body's health. A sweet odor can indicate kidney malfunction or too much sugar in your blood. A pungent odor could be problematic, but it can also simply be a result of what you ate (especially foods such as asparagus) and not a cause for concern. Healthy, pale-colored urine should typically have only a slight odor.

Considering how essential water is to the basic functions of our body and our brain, it is somewhat surprising more people don't look to changing their drinking habits when looking for a natural remedy for any kind of ailments. If you are not already drinking enough water and staying adequately hydrated at all times, it should be one of the first and most important natural remedies for depression you should try. Remember that even if it does not work for your depression, water is still essential for everyone and can help prevent many other ailments.

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