We’ve all heard of the importance of drinking enough water – eight 8 ounce glasses a day. And yet many of us still don’t do it.
When it comes to Attention Deficit Disorder and The Med Free with ADD program, water is a vital component.
Here’s why: remember the chapter on protein, and the illustration of the neurons in the brain? Remember the messengers that travel to and from the brain, carrying information and releasing tyrosine? The fluid that they travel in is water.
Our brain, just like our body, is primarily water.
The ability of our brain and our body to function is dependent to a large degree, on water. We need adequate hydration in order to function properly.
What do you think happens to brain function when there is an inadequate supply of water to transport information? Imagine a river, one of those white water ones, as one of the neural pathways in your brain.
Picture a boat or a raft in that river. It’s carrying vital information. Now, if it’s a white water river, there’s plenty of water, and the current is swift. This is a brain functioning at full capacity, capable of great things. The information gets where it needs to go without delay. New ideas may be generated as well.
Now imagine that same river in drought season. The water is well below adequate levels. Put a boat or raft into that water, and what happens? Not much, right?
Movement, if it takes place at all, is slow and unpredictable. Your boat is liable to drift into a little cove on the banks somewhere and drift for a while. Are you seeing any correlations to ADHD here?
Water is vital for brain function. Drink it for that reason if no other. If you can’t face the idea of eight glasses of water a day, start with one more than you’re drinking now and work your way up. Tea and coffee don’t count (unless it’s herb or green tea), and if Crystal Lite is what it takes to make you drink more water, then go for it (although I’d like to see at least half of those just plain water.)
By the way, once you really get into this, some experts say that each caffeinated beverage and/or alcoholic beverage adds 1 more additional water requirement to your needs.
So, if you have a cup of coffee in the morning, you really ought to add another glass of water to your daily intake.
If you’re just starting, though, 8 is good enough. Once you start drinking water, try to pace it throughout the day. Drinking 4 glasses first thing in the morning won’t do you as much good as drinking them an hour apart. Too much at once floods your system, and you know what happens to the excess: it gets flushed.
The average person is awake about 16 – 18 hours in a day. Our “working” day –whether that’s paid work or school is about 8 hours. Try to space about 4 – 6 glasses of water in that time period. That works out easily to 1 glass at breakfast, 1 mid-morning, 1 – 2 at lunch, and 1 mid-afternoon. Remember, this is optimizing brain function.
By the way, a glass of water before a meal is a great way to help fill you up, calorie free. If you have a child at school, see if there’s a way that they might be allowed either a water bottle in class, or access to a working water fountain. A water bottle is really ideal, since they can hydrate themselves throughout the day.
If your child is in elementary school, and has the same teacher for much of the day, you might want to suggest that your child be allowed a water break, especially when they seem to be drifting or acting out.
The break will not only give them a chance to rehydrate, but getting up and moving, and a quick change in scenery might be enough to help them re-focus.
If that’s not possible – or even if it is – make sure to add a bottle of water (or a suitable substitute like juice) in their lunch.
Remember: keeping your body well hydrated throughout the day helps your brain function at a higher level, so drink up!