Water & The Body
There are figures everywhere telling us how much of our body is made of water, the average estimate being around 70%. Water intake, especially clean water intake, is an important factor when it comes to optimal health. According to the Institute of Medicine about 75% of Americans may not be getting the suggested 10 cups of water daily. While many of us think beverages containing water are a viable substitute for a glass of pure water, they are not, and should not be used as part of the daily requirement for water.
It seems to be commonplace within our society that tea or coffee or soda can be used when plain water is not desired or not available. Many other beverages such as these have a diuretic effect on our body that encourages our system to excrete water through urination, rather than retaining it.
Our body has a system which doctors refer to as “drought management.” This process delivers water to our organs on a “first come, first serve” basis, of which our brain gets the highest priority. Histamine is in charge of water regulation throughout the body. When we are not drinking enough water the histamine in our bodies overacts and causes reactions that manifest as allergies, chronic pain and even asthma. Water deficiency can also lead to complications such as joint pain, headaches, fatigue, weight gain, ulcers, high blood pressure and kidney disease.
The amount of water you drink may also effect your mood. Water is needed to transport tryptophan, which is needed for the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is linked to happiness, overall feelings of wellbeing and a more positive outlook on life. Naturally a shortage of this neurotransmitter would lead to depression.
In his book titled You’re Not Sick You’re Thirsty, Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj covers the scientific process in great detail about what lack of water can really do to a human body. He breaks down, with diagrams, how it can cause asthma and ulcers.
“It is chronic water shortage in the body that causes most diseases of the human body.” – Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj
It is important to note at this point that binge drinking water for a few days will not be a cure-all for years of chronic dehydration. Rehydrating your body is a gradual process that will take commitment over a long period of time.
The quality of the water you are drinking is just as important as the quantity. It has been well documented that public drinking water is tainted with trace amounts of pharmaceuticals, chlorine and most controversially, fluoride. It goes without explanation the implications of having pharmaceuticals absorbed into our drinking water. Chlorine is a known carcinogen and can be harmful to the good microflora in our digestive tract. Fluoride is the main ingredient in rat poison, a chemical used in the manufacture of effervescing steel, smelting and refining light metals, a wood preservative, an adhesive preservative, an insecticide, a protecting coating for metals, a flux for soldering and welding as well as a flux and pacifier for ceramic, glass and porcelain enamel. Access to reverse osmosis(RO) or distilled water is key when it comes to proper hydration. These purification processes remove most impurities and additives from the water. Fluoride is the toughest additive to remove from water, not even boiling the water will rid it of fluoride. Reverse osmosis removes all unwanted additives including fluoride. As an aside, it is said that water at room temperature is absorbed quicker into your cells than refrigerated water.
What you drink your water from is important as well. There are many plastics that leech Bisphenol A (BPA) into your water. BPA has been known to disrupt hormonal balance within the body. There are plenty of companies who now offer BPA-free water containers and bottles, this may be a better choice if you can find them.
Alkalinity is an important aspect of overall health, alkaline water helps to facilitate it. It is important to note that there is a difference in natural alkaline water and artificial alkaline water. The former is made alkaline by naturally occurring minerals in the water, the latter is done by ionizing systems which can actually trick your body into thinking it is receiving an abundance of alkalinity, usually in the form of calcium and magnesium. If artificial alkaline water is consumed daily overtime the upper bowels will become overly alkaline and side effects may occur. Side effects include erratic heart behavior, hypertension, nervousness/anxiety, urinary tract and bladder infections, and sharp abdominal pains.
Getting water which is naturally alkaline can be done by simply investigating water distributors and companies alike. The source of the water is cited on web pages and publications and can be useful in finding out what the water of a specific region carries in terms of naturally occurring minerals.
Don’t misinterpret Thirst!
Contrary to popular belief, the first sign of dehydration is not a dry mouth or even thirst. Your body has many different ways to tell you it is thirsty. Hunger is even a misinterpretation by your brain for the thirst signal. If you feel hungry after you have recently had what seemed like a filling meal, try to oust it with a couple glasses of water instead of eating more food. You may find that correctly interpreting your bodies many cries for water could save you from overeating.
When your water intake is increased so is the urge to urinate. If properly hydrated you should be urinating at least once an hour. This can depend on a persons kidneys and other bodily functions, but the average person should be urinating very frequently. Water intake should be minimized or stopped within two hours before bedtime to ensure that there are no accidents and your sleep will not be interrupted by your body’s urge to pee.
At first it may seem like a chore to ensure you are getting the right amount of water daily, but there is nothing of greater importance than your health!