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Study Shows Kids Who Drink Water (Instead of Sugary Drinks) Have Better Brain Functions
PHOTO BY @spukkato/iStock
  • Every write-up on how to stay healthy will always include advice to drink plenty of water, 8 to 10 glasses, usually. This is because our bodies are made of 60% water, making hydration essential to many of our bodily functions such as digestion, blood circulation, excretion of waste, and the regulation of body temperature.

    For adults, drinking enough water also slows down the aging process by keeping the skin supple. It provides an energy boost, protects and lubricates joints and tissues, improves mood, and may even help in weight loss.

    In kids, a new controlled trial in the U.S. shows that aside from a balanced diet, drinking more water results to better brain function.

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    The study, conducted on 850 elementary school kids aged 9 to 11, found that those who drank more water performed well in tasks that required cognitive flexibility.

    “Children with better habitual hydration exhibited superior performance during the cognitive flexibility task,” the conclusion reads.

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    The children also had better memory retention and recollection when they had enough water to drink. The kids were asked to consume 2.5 liters of water a day for the results achieved in the study.

    The study also suggests that kids whose diet consist of a high percentage of sugar-sweetened beverages were likely to score lower in standardized academic tests. 

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    In the Philippines, the availability and convenience of colored drinks like soda, artificial fruit juices, and energy drinks makes it easy to consume. It can be the first choice of drinks among adults, which is why it’s not surprising young kids have also acquired this habit. To combat it, the Department of Education had  released guidelines on healthy food and beverage choices in public school canteens that effectively prohibits the sale of soft drinks, powdered juice drinks, sports and energy drinks, flavored mineral water and any drinks containing caffeine within school premises.

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    How much water should kids drink?

    According to HealthyKids, the recommended daily amount of fluids for young kids is as follows:

    • 5 glasses (1 liter) for kids 5 to 8 years old
    • 7 glasses (1.5 liters) for kids 9 to 12 years old
    • 8 to 10 glasses (2 liters) for teenagers

    In babies, it is important to watch out for symptoms of dehydration, which could be dangerous or even fatal. However, doctors strongly advise against giving water to infants below 6 months. The most severe reason is he can suffer life-threatening water intoxication (he takes in so much water that it flushes out electrolytes from his body). Because the kidneys of small infants have yet to mature, they are especially at risk.

    The recommended liquid for babies below 6 months old is breast milk, which is more than 80% water. According to the World Health Organization, “Whenever the mother feels her baby is thirsty she can breastfeed him or her. This will satisfy the bay’s thirst, and continue to protect the baby from infections, and help the baby to continue to grow well.” (You can read more here.)

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    If you are using formula milk, prepare it as directed by the manufacturer on the label. Do not add extra water to stretch the baby milk formula.

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