While it may not be the most common phrase one might be used to seeing and the association isn’t immediately clear, the fact is that good hydration habits make a significant positive impact on our ability to breathe well.  And as we are all acutely aware, breath is life!

Water and your respiratory systemResearch has shown that dehydration vastly affects all of the systems in your body including your respiratory system. Drinking water helps to thin the mucus lining your airways and lungs. Dehydration can cause that mucus to thicken and get sticky, which slows down overall respiration and makes you more susceptible to illness, allergies and other respiratory problems.

The Lungs: The airways and lungs are coated with clear secretions that promote proper respiration. When you are water deficient, the linings of the sinuses and airways become dry and prone to irritation. When the airways become too dry, the risk of breathing problems, or breathing related problems increases.

Dehydration can cause breathing problems:  Water is used in the nasal passages, bronchial tubes, and lungs and to keep them moist. But when you breathe out, moisture from these tissues is expelled and every breath in brings in drying air. Under hydrated conditions water is rapidly replaced.

Dehydration can trigger allergies

Allergies are caused by a histamine reaction in the body.  If you are allergic to pollen, your body views pollen as a danger and overreacts, causing your immune system to produce histamines to fight the irritants.

Histamines also have other functions, including regulating the body’s water supply.  A 1995 Dutch study confirmed that dehydration triggers histamine production as a defensive mechanism to preserve water remaining in the body as well as to prevent future loss. When we are dehydrated, histamine production increases and can cause us to have the symptoms of seasonal allergies such as runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. This accelerated histamine production to compensate for the body’s lack of water is easily avoided by simply drinking more.

These examples make it easier to understand why maintaining your water intake is of such vital importance. Which is why using your water cooler to fill your water bottle should be part of your daily routine: whether you’re at home, away, at work or exercising.  Breath is life, so water + breath equates to an easier and healthier life.