If you think about it logically, we are made from water. Did you know that our bones should be 40% water, our blood is between 85-90% water, as is our lymph that carries toxins out of our cells and which is a vital part of our immune system.
Our digestive juices, our gastrointestinal lining, the fluid that keeps the discs in our back from wearing away, even the enamel of our teeth contain water. We have around 75 trillion cells in our body, that need to be around 70% water for optimal health, and the cells in our brain and spinal cord need even higher water content, at around 85%! So it’s clear to see how lack of adequate water intake can affect our brain function, our backs, the elimination of waste from our bodies, our digestion, even the ability of our cells to make energy! This alone can lead to conditions such as anxiety, back pain, digestive issues, migraines, the list is endless.
Again, if you think about it, we lose water on a daily basis through our normal bodily functions such as breathing, sweating, urinating, defecating – 4 pints, in fact, every day! We lose further water when we cry, when we cut ourselves, when we vomit or have diarrhoea and, for us ladies, when we menstruate. And did you know that stress dehydrates us too?
Carbonated water can actually alter our blood chemistry because of the gases within it.
Ideally water needs to either be filtered or glass-bottled. Our tap water today contains numerous contaminants, toxins, hormones, bleach in the form of chlorine and even the remnants of other people’s medications! In some locations it also contains fluoride, of which there is much research into its toxic effects on the brain. Plastic water bottles leach chemicals into the water that mimic oestrogen and play havoc with our hormone balance. You may have seen a recent study make the news headlines, which found that drinking from a plastic water bottle likely means ingesting microplastic particles (1). When I tested myself some years ago I had traces of plastic in my own system, which is toxic and causes havoc with our health.
Empty As soon as we put anything in water, it becomes something that our bodies have to work at to break down. Even when we put something as simple as a squeeze of lemon juice in the water or some apple cider vinegar, that water then becomes more like a food that our bodies have to break down, so it does not have such a powerful hydrating effect. In addition, many fluids such as tea and coffee or sugary juices can actually cause us to lose water instead of helping us hydrate. Did you know that it takes 128 molecules of our internal water supply to process the 4 molecules of caffeine in a cup of coffee? Warm If water is too hot, the body needs to do something with it to cool it down and it can be quite abrasive on our digestive tract, and if it is too cold, then it shocks our system and the body has to use energy to warm it up before it can utilise it. The ideal temperature at which to drink water is body temperature. Mix ¾ pint of cold and ¼ pint of boiling clean water, and our cells will suck it up and utilise it straight away. Vitamin D The best time to drink water is half an hour before each meal. This will help our digestion as water is essential for us to make our digestive juices. However, drinking too close to a meal or with a meal will dilute our digestive juices and make it harder for us to digest our food. For this reason, it’s a good idea to leave drinking any fluids for up to at least an hour after eating, optimal time being 2 hours, especially for people with digestive problems. So if we are losing 4 pints of water a day it is crucial that we replace them on a daily basis. But if you are someone who doesn’t drink much water, in the way described above, then it’s a good idea to build up gradually, because as soon as you start to rehydrate your cells will start to let go of any excess toxicity they’ve been holding. For the same reasons, it’s also a good idea not to drink more than 1 pint in an hour and to keep your maximum intake of water to 4 pints a day, unless advised otherwise by your nutritionist / naturopath. If you have kidney problems it is recommended to increase your water intake under supervision and at a much slower pace. Next month I’ll be looking at another drink, that we can introduce in addition to our 4 pints of water, to further increase hydration – linseed tea! References El-Sharkawy et al. (2015). Acute and chronic effects of hydration status on health. Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition reviews, 68(8), 439-58. Riebl, S. K., & Davy, B. M. (2013). The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance. ACSM’s health & fitness journal, 17(6), 21-28. S.A. Mason, V. Welch, and J. Neratko (2018). Synthetic Polymer Contamination in Bottled Water. State University of New York.