Since 60% of the body is made of water, it makes sense that hydration plays a crucial role in supporting our immune system. From improving our lymphatic function to facilitating toxin removal, staying adequately hydrated can help our bodies fight infections and diseases.
Here's how drinking water can boost your immune system and ways you can reap the benefits of healthful hydration.
How Does Water Boost Your Immune System?
As we age, our immune response systems naturally weaken, which can increase our risk of infections and disease. Generally speaking, boosting the immune system can combat illnesses or extreme reactions to them.
While drinking water cannot outright prevent disease or illness, it helps our bodies fight against them so we recover more quickly and experience reduced long-term impact. Here's how it works:
- Improves lymphatic circulation: The lymphatic system relies on water to deliver white blood cells and remove waste products from the body. Staying adequately hydrated can ensure your lymph fluid flows smoothly, supporting immune cells in detecting and eliminating harmful invaders.
- Removes toxins: Drinking water helps your body eliminate waste and toxins through sweat and urine. As you flush out these harmful substances, the immune system can better focus on battling real threats to the body's health.
- Aids in illness recovery: When sick, the body needs extra fluids to support the immune response and promote healing. Staying hydrated ensures your body has the resources to recover efficiently.
- Reduces inflammation: Chronic dehydration can increase inflammation in the body, weakening your immune system over time. Drinking enough water can regulate inflammation and enhance your immune health.
- Prevents dehydration stress: Dehydration can stress the body and compromise our immune system's effectiveness. By drinking the proper amount of water each day, you ensure a more resilient immune system that's ready to combat infections.
- Ensures optimal blood circulation: Blood is half water, so staying hydrated keeps it moving. Proper blood circulation allows immune cells to reach sites of infection more quickly.
- Improves T-cell function: Every cell in the human body requires water. Drinking water helps our T-cells, a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes, that help our immune system fight germs and protect us from disease.
The positive impact drinking water has on our bodies cannot be underestimated. Hydration can be a proactive way to maintain good health and ward off illnesses by supporting the immune system.
12 Benefits of Water on the Immune System
Here are 12 benefits water can have on the immune system:
1. Improves Lymphatic Function
As mentioned, we need water to maintain our lymphatic system, which is vital for our general and specific immune responses. The immune cells in our lymph — made up of 96% water — require adequate water to flow and circulate throughout the body, which allows them to target pathogens more effectively. Ultimately, drinking water and supporting the lymphatic system help protect us from the effects of diseases and other illnesses.
2. Helps the Kidneys
Staying adequately hydrated can cleanse and rid your body of toxins. Most toxins in the body pass through the kidneys to be eliminated as waste. Drinking the proper amount of water helps ensure the kidneys work well to remove waste, while not drinking enough water can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Staying hydrated can also prevent kidney disease, a health condition that increases our susceptibility to infection and promotes exaggerated inflammatory responses.
3. Protects the Skin
Drinking water is crucial for our skin, which is the immune system's first line of defense against pathogens. Like the organs inside our body, skin requires moisture to function correctly. Dryness can weaken the skin and reduce elasticity, causing cracking and inflammation. Dehydration can also elevate the risk of infection, especially among older adults. Our skin protects our bodies from disease, so staying hydrated is crucial for good health.
4. Hydrates Mucous Membranes
Another way water boosts our immune system is by maintaining our mucous membranes' health. As your skin protects the outside of your body from invaders, moist mucous membranes also act as a barrier.
The mucous membrane, or the mucosa, is the tissue lining our body's organs and canals in the respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. They provide a barrier from foreign particles by capturing and clearing them out. Immune cells and natural antibiotics in our mucus defend against pathogens and injuries, and staying hydrated assists in their defense.
5. Facilitates Recovery From Illness
There's a reason doctors urge us to drink plenty of fluids when we're sick. During an illness, the body requires water and other liquids to support the immune response and aid in healing. Staying well-hydrated can ensure your body has the resources to recover faster.
6. Helps Manage Inflammation
Studies show water can reduce our body's inflammatory response, which can help us manage pain. Inflammation is the immune system's response to pathogens, allergens, and other harmful stimuli. It acts by removing these invaders and promoting healing. However, if the immune response continues unchecked, inflammation can turn on healthy tissue. Staying hydrated and flushing out toxins and irritants from the system can help manage inflammation and reduce the risk of inflammatory disorders, like arthritis, from occurring.
7. Improves Circulation
Water is essential for our heart health as it keeps our blood pumping. Dehydration can decrease the amount of blood circulating through your body, causing the heart to beat faster to compensate, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally, when we're dehydrated, the blood retains more sodium, which can thicken the blood and make it more difficult to circulate through the body. Staying hydrated allows your heart to pump blood more efficiently and allows oxygen to reach your muscles.
8. Protects Against Dehydration
Dehydration can stress the body, leading to diminished energy levels. Less energy can cause a lack of exercise and a weakened immune system. Drinking enough water each day rejuvenates the body and gives us the energy to stay active, promoting better health and wellness.
9. Supports Gut Health
Water aids digestion and can prevent constipation, promoting a healthy gut environment. A well-functioning gut is crucial for a robust immune system since 70% of the immune system is in the gastrointestinal tract. The food we eat also significantly affects our immune cells, and obesity can impact immune function. Staying hydrated and eating a fiber-rich diet can support the microbiome and reduce our body's inflammatory response.
10. Alleviates Allergies
Proper hydration is crucial to alleviate allergy symptoms, as it helps thin mucus and reduces nasal congestion. You'll feel less stuffed up and might have fewer congestive issues, as water can help drain the sinuses. Drinking water can also help flush allergens in your body, removing these substances to minimize the risk of allergic reactions.
11. Protects From Respiratory Infections
Drinking clean water daily can reduce exposure to pathogens and encourage a healthy immune response. One study involving children in Kenya found that clean drinking water lowered their risk of getting acute respiratory infections, a leading cause of mortality in children younger than 5. The study highlights the importance of providing access to clean drinking water worldwide.
12. Enhances Immune Cell Activity
Water can help circulate immune cells like lymphocytes and phagocytes. These cells play a crucial role in identifying and eliminating bacteria, pathogens, and viruses, protecting you from infections and illness.
How to Reap the Benefits of Water
The activities you do every day lead to water loss, which needs to be replaced for the body to function correctly. We lose water by sweating, but we also lose it just by breathing. The amount of water needed daily varies from person to person, though experts typically recommend nine to 13 cups for adults, with one cup equaling eight ounces. You might need more water if you are physically active or exposed to warm climates, and smaller people might need lower amounts.
To reap the health benefits of water, try the following tips:
1. Eat Foods With High Water Content
Approximately 20% of our daily water intake comes from water-rich foods like certain fruits and vegetables, including:
- Bell peppers
- Leafy greens
- Cucumber squash
Ensure you're eating plenty of these healthy, hydrating foods daily. They'll replenish the body as needed and support your overall health.
2. Infuse With Flavor
Water is a wise choice for your immune system, but that doesn't mean drinking it plain is your only option. You can make minor changes to get even more immunity and vitamin benefits from water, such as infusing it with honey, ginger, or lemon.
- Lemon: Drinking lemon water can boost your immune system as the fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, citrate, and flavonoids — all of which promote health and wellness. Vitamin C, in particular, is a natural antioxidant that improves the immune system and has antibacterial qualities.
- Oranges, limes and grapefruits: Other citrus fruits like oranges, limes, and grapefruits are rich in flavonoids that help boost health and fight disease.
- Ginger and honey: Steep ginger in warm water to create a soothing, immune-boosting drink. Ginger water can reduce inflammation and cold symptoms, while honey can help you manage coughs and gastrointestinal conditions, making them a perfect combination.
These flavors are a natural way to make your water tastier, promote more hydration, and provide even more benefits for your immune system.
3. Opt for Warm Water
Drinking warm water first thing in the morning or right before bed can promote relaxation and provide the following health benefits:
- Stimulate digestion
- Relieve constipation
- Relax tense muscles
- Improve blood circulation
- Improve central nervous system functioning
While more research is required to determine the benefits of hot vs. cold water, drinking hot water is considered safe and keeps you hydrated throughout the day.
4. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol can suppress the anti-diuretic hormone, which signals the kidneys to reduce urination and reabsorb the water back into the body. Without this hormone, the body cycles out water more quickly. Drinking alcohol, especially more than a few drinks in a short period, increases your risk of dehydration. Limiting your alcohol intake and drinking alcohol with food and sips of water helps prevent dehydration.
5. Incorporate Teas
Another easy way to practice healthy hydration is by brewing a tasty tea. You'll reap the benefits of water while enjoying the unique flavors and health benefits of various herbs. Try teas like:
- Chamomile: This herbal tea is more than just a calming beverage. People worldwide have used it as a natural remedy for health conditions since ancient times. It provides antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like potassium, carotene, calcium, and folate. Researchers have also discovered its anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects.
- Peppermint: Peppermint tea might aid digestion, boost focus, and relieve migraines. Reap the benefits of both peppermint and water by staying hydrated with this tasty tea.
- Green tea: Another great source of antioxidants, green tea has been linked to health benefits like protecting the heart, supporting weight loss, and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
These teas can provide antioxidants, improve digestion, and promote relaxation — helping you appreciate the benefits of water while getting the taste and healthfulness of herbs.
6. Listen to Thirst Cues
It's essential to pay attention to your body's thirst signals. Many people get caught up in their busy schedules and forget to drink water during the day. Thirst can also be mistaken for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking. If you notice any signals of thirst, make it a point to drink water to prevent overeating and promote better hydration.
You can practice healthy hydration habits by carrying a water bottle around during the day and setting hydration goals. You might use a reusable water bottle marked with time intervals to serve as a visual reminder to drink throughout the day.
7. Invest in a Water Filtration System
Investing in a water filtration system is one of the best ways to get healthful hydration. These filters can improve the taste and quality of your water to encourage you and your family to drink more throughout the day. You might invest in a portable filter to take on the go or use a filtration system with your existing plumbing to reap the benefits of drinking water.
Many water filtration systems — like Multipure's Aqualuxe and Aquaperform — can reduce harmful contaminants like arsenic, which can compromise the immune system and increase your risk of certain illnesses. These water systems can also reduce forever chemicals that suppress and cause inefficient immune responses.
Discover the Benefits of Healthful Hydration With Multipure Drinking Water Systems
While hydration is crucial for our immune system and several body processes, clean water is especially important. Drinking contaminated water can lead to waterborne illnesses and potentially affect the immune system. Safeguard your health with a Multipure drinking water system. Our filtration systems can help reduce specific contaminants to provide better-quality drinking water for you and your family.
Take the first steps in promoting healthier hydration habits and browse our drinking water systems today. For Life. For You.