Chances are you're very aware that you can feel a bit testy and out of sorts when you've missed a meal, but did you know that your mood is also affected by dehydration?
A new study appearing in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that even mild dehydration can cause moodiness, increased fatigue, headaches and decreased concentration. The research was conducted by the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and assessed 25 women under 3 levels of mild post-exercise hydration. The women completed questionnaires after their workouts to report their mood, fatigue level, mental clarity, etc. Interesting but not at all surprising, a separate not yet published study was also conducted on a group of men with similar findings.
Based on the the study, what's important to keep in mind is that hydration affects your mental as well as your physical health. When you're properly hydrated you're more likely to feel happier and to be in a better mood. In terms of physical performance, there is a higher level of perceived exertion when you're dehydrated, which could affect how hard you workout and certainly how you feel while working out. And remember that less effort also means less calories burned.
So how much should you drink?
While you do get some liquid from food, the Institute of Medicine recommends that women consume 2.7 liters, or 91 ounces, of water each day, and that men consume 3.7 liters (125 ounces) daily.
Click here to view the study: Mild Dehydration Affects Mood in Healthy Young Women