The Role of Hydration in a Healthy Immune System

July 27, 2014 Updated: July 27, 2014

We often associate drinking water with quenching our thirst and are unaware of its many other benefits to the body.  One of the major roles of hydration is in supporting a healthy immune system.  Our bodies need water to absorb nutrients and oxygenate our cells. Without this nutrient support and adequate oxygen levels, our immune systems can become compromised. 

Drinking lots of water helps to flush toxins out of the body and eliminate wastes.  Excess toxins in the body are stored as fat and can put us at risk for illnesses associated with being overweight, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.  Accumulation of wastes in the body increases the risk for dysbiosis where bacteria from the colon migrate to the small intestine and cause discomfort. Excess bacterial growth can result in symptoms such as bloating, fullness after eating, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, and fatigue.  Accumulation of wastes also can increase the risk of more serious diseases, such as colon cancer.

Lymph is a major part of our immune system and cannot be produced without water.  Drinking at least sixty-four ounces of water daily is recommended to maintain healthy lymph levels.  One of the major roles of lymph is to carry water and nutrients to the blood before delivering them to our cells. Lymph also carries immune cells throughout the body and removes toxins from the blood. 

Since the body does not have a pump to circulate lymph, it can only be circulated through exercise and deep breathing.  Jumping is an especially helpful exercise to lymph circulation and can be done on a mini-trampoline.  Less rigorous exercises such as ballet and tai chi also can help to circulate lymph. Deep breathing from the diaphragm helps to move lymph while anything restrictive to the body, such as tight clothing, can restrict the flow of lymph.  In terms of removing toxins, saunas on a regular basis can be helpful and result in less work for the detoxification pathways of the body.