Water: Natural Goodness
Do you suffer from ongoing headaches, low energy, dry skin or sleeplessness? How about heartburn, arthritis, lupus, asthma, high blood pressure, hot ﬂushes and menstrual problems? What about allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), angina, gout, kidney stones, fungal/yeast overgrowth, migraines, general aches, pains and depression? Believe it or not, all of the above-mentioned can be attributed to dehydration.
The old adage, ‘drink when you are thirsty’, is where the problem begins. By the time you are feeling thirst sensations, it is too late – you are already dehydrated. The human body is a bioelectrical machine that requires 30 millilitres of plain water per kilogram of body weight, every day – and more if the weather is unusually hot or if you do strenuous exercise for more than 30 minutes.
Let’s just get one thing straight from the outset: unless you are consuming plain unflavoured water, you are not giving your body the hydration it requires. This is a nonnegotiable fact, and the sooner you make peace with it, the healthier you will be. There are those who believe that they get enough fluid from the foods they eat and other fluids, including tea, coffee and soft drinks.Tea and coffee contain caffeine, a diuretic, meaning that they draw fluid out of the cells.
World-renowned water expert, Dr Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, states:
Soft drinks, alcohol and fruit juice contain sugar, fructose or artificial sweeteners and are diuretic in their effect because their mostly acidic compositions require the body to give up water and alkalizing minerals to eliminate their harmful residues. Diet sodas especially are harmful in that they require large amounts of body-water to neutralize the phosphoric acid component (2.8 pH). Cells that started off healthy and ‘plum-like’ shrivel to prunes as water, the stuff of life, is progressively denied them. The sick in our hospitals are fed the sodas, tea and coffee they ask for in woeful ignorance of the damage wrought to the micro cell-world within them. Ironically, all rehydration/energy drinks can cause dehydration. When the drink has a high level of sugar and additives such as those contained in energy drinks, the body has to draw reserve fluid to dilute them so that they can be absorbed.
The vast majority of patients that we see in our practice are underhydrated anywhere between 10 and 25%. Almost all overweight and obese patients are chronically underhydrated and have seriously low metabolic rates as a result. So, before reaching for painkillers or antacids, consider the following:The blood alone is made up of a large percentage of watery serum. The lymph ﬂuids which transport waste and nutrients are made from the water we consume. When the body does not receive a constant, reliable supply of water, it has to ration what is available and cut back on certain functions to fulfill essential functions. Water is used by the body for digestion, detoxification, moisturising the mucosa, lubricating joints and keeping the body pH in balance.The brain comprises 2% of the body’s total weight, yet receives 15 to 20% of the blood supply, mostly comprised of water. As little as 1% dehydration will affect cognitive ability drastically and can create depressive states. This has been noted specifically in children who consume fruit juice and soft drinks as opposed to water.
Dehydration disrupts proper nerve function, resulting in the sensation of pain. And even our skeletal structure requires plentiful supplies of water. Inadequate hydration equates to incomplete metabolic processes. If you wake up tired or can’t get through the day without stimulants, consider that water is drawn through the cell membrane and used in the manufacture of ATP (cellular energy). Dehydration will affect the proper functioning of cells. Perhaps the most commonly misdiagnosed and overmedicated of all conditions are those involving the gut: digestion, reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), flatulence, bloating and constipation. Hunger, too, is often confused with thirst. The stomach relies on mucus lining the walls to shield it from the effects of the stomach’s hydrochloric acid. Plentiful supplies of water are needed to maintain this effective defence system. Digestion begins in the mouth. Chewing makes saliva and stimulates the enzymes required to break down foods in preparation for digestion and subsequent absorption of nutrients. Saliva is – you guessed it, water! If you suffer from any of the above-mentioned gut-related issues, including overeating, try consuming 30ml of plain water per kilogram of your total body weight for just 48 hours in place of all other fluids.
How Do You Get It All In?
Start with 250ml of cold, warm or hot water first thing every morning immediately upon waking. Then make sure you repeat the process before and after every meal. Aim to finish at least 500ml of plain water while exercising. If you are on the road, keep bottled water in the car. At a restaurant, order water and actually drink it before any other beverage. When offered tea or coffee, the answer is: “Water please”. If you need extra help, the following smartphone apps are extremely useful:
Water Your Body
A Footnote on Overhydration
Healthy adult kidneys are capable of processing 15 litres of water per day, if consumed throughout the entire day. Most of us get nowhere near that volume. But if you are heading past the five-litres-per-day mark, it is highly advisable that see your doctor to rule out any major problems. Overhydration can be fatal.
Nicci Robertson is the founder of the Re~Invent Company and author of the Re-Invent Wellness Coaching Methodology. She is a clinical nutritionist, and master practitioner of neurolinguistic programming and psycho-neuro immunology. As well as being a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine (USA), Nicci consults to a number of multinational companies regarding staff wellness, work–life balance strategies, executive wellness coaching and stress management. She also runs a private practice in Johannesburg and can be contacted through her website: www.reinventhealth.co.za.
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by Nicci Robertson