How Hydration Supports Immune Health

by Melissa Chichester

When thinking about health, many people wonder how they can better support their immune system. The job of your immune system is to provide natural defense. According to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, your immune system is broken into two parts:

  • The innate immune system (what you are born with; also called “non-specific”)
  • The adaptive immune system (develops with exposure to microbes; also called “specific”)

Throughout your life, there are many ways to support the health of your immune system. Specific lifestyle actions, such as limiting stress, getting adequate sleep, eating a nutritious diet, and exercising all play a role in your overall health and wellness. When life throws its curveballs, it is still important to maintain these simple habits in the long run. One of these habits is so simple but frequently overlooked: drinking enough water. 

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A 2018 survey conducted by the water filtration specialists at Quench (a filtered water provider) revealed that a whopping 80% of Americans do not drink enough water throughout the workday.

Reasons for not drinking water included:

  • Not feeling thirsty 
  • No time to get water
  • Don’t want to pay for water
  • Drinking other beverages
  • Don’t like the taste of workplace water

Some of these reasons might be the same for you if you do not drink enough water throughout the day. However, drinking water is critical for all systems and functions of your body, including immune health.

A human can live up to three weeks without food, but only three to four days without water.

When you don’t get enough water and are dehydrated every day, your entire body is impacted by it. 

In short, neglecting to stay hydrated can have a negative impact on your overall well-being.

African American man drinking from a water fountain

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How water supports immune health

The average adult’s body is made up of 60% water. Water supports immune health by helping your body’s natural filtration system. Water helps flush out what your body doesn’t need. It also moves nutrients around so they get where they need to go. Water helps carry oxygen to your cells. Water also carries waste away from organs and helps your body eliminate it properly. It even helps lubricate your joints! With all that water does, staying hydrated is essential! 

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How to drink more water

One of the largest complaints about water is that many people don’t like how it tastes. Here are some simple ways you can increase your water intake and improve the taste of water, too! 

  • Steep fresh fruit or herbs in your water pitcher 
  • Drink herbal teas (without sugar) 
  • Use an app to track how much you are drinking
  • Use a marked water bottle to set goals
  • Add ice to non-water drinks
  • Try sparkling or mineral water
  • Eat hydrating fruits and vegetables
  • Fill up your bottle when it is empty
  • Do not travel without your water bottle
  • Set a deadline for ounces consumed

Your daily water needs will depend on many factors, including how much you exercise, what you eat, and your overall health. 

The Mayo Clinic states that men need 15.5 cups of fluids per day and that women need 11.5 cups of fluids per day from water and food. You can also speak to your healthcare practitioner about setting a daily water goal. 
There are many ways to better support immune health, and drinking enough water is an easy start! You can also consider immune support supplements and changing some of your lifestyle habits to make other shifts toward improved wellness.