Q: We hear repeatedly that people are drinking less water than their bodies need to perform at peak capacity. How can I tell if I’m getting enough, what are the signs? Also what kind of water is best? ……………………………………………… Sybel, W
A: Let’s begin with a few statistics. According to studies done in the medical community 75% of all Americans are chronically dehydrated. So if you are asking, you probably are. It is estimated that as many as 40% of Americans can’t even read the signs that the body sends for ‘thirst.’
Even mild dehydration will slow your metabolism down by around 30% (note: weight will increase) and it is also the number one cause for fatigue during the day. Preliminary research shows that back pain and joint pain is significantly reduced if you take the recommended 8—10 glasses of plain water every day—water—not soda, not coffee with sugar and cream, not juice or alcoholic drinks.
A 2% drop in your body’s water level results in such things as fuzzy short term memory loss, difficulty in making change, focusing on the computer screen or the page of your book. If you notice any of these symptoms, drink a glass of water first, before you reach for something to eat, pop a pill or chug an ‘energy’ drink. Other symptoms could include heartburn, stomach ache, non-infectious recurring or chronic pain, low back pain, headache, high cholesterol, premature aging, autoimmune disease, UTI. mental irritation and depression.
Being properly hydrated reduces the risk of all types of cancer by a significant amount. It is also an important factor in maintaining your weight, your breathing, elimination, digestion, joints, muscle tone and more. If weight management is an issue for you take note that not drinking enough water will slow the metabolism down and the fat will not be broken down properly causing bloating and water retention.
The recommended minimum for a healthy person is eight to ten eight-ounce glasses of clear water a day. You would need more if you exercise or live in a hot climate. Overweight persons should drink an additional glass for each 25 lbs. they are over their ideal weight. The general guidelines are to drink 50 to 75% of your weight in ounces: ie if you weigh 150 lbs and live a sedentary life than you would need 75 ounces of fluids daily. Dividing that by the number of hours you are awake that would be about 5 ounces per hour.
As a general guideline, drink water (not soda) when you feel thirsty and watch that your urine output is light yellow or clear most of the time. Although various beverages and foods such as soups and juices contain some water, it is best to obtain your daily water requirements from drinking water. Drinks like coffee and alcoholic beverages are diuretics, which cause your body to lose water, so avoid them as much as possible.
The American Society of Nephrology warns that there is little evidence that there is a health benefit from drinking morethan the recommended amount. In fact the body can get saturated and lose its sodium balance causing a number of unpleasant symptoms. The kidneys of a healthy adult can process fifteen liters of water a day and is only challenged if you drink too much at one time. Sipping 5 to 9 ounces an hour works really well.
Now that we know why and how much water to drink, let’s explore what kind of water is best. Tap, bottled, filtered, distilled, reverse osmosis, alkaline, vitamin, or living, which is best?
The most available water is the stuff that comes out of your kitchen faucet. While that may have been ‘clean’ many ears ago, today there are a number of contaminants frequently found in both municipal water and surface and well water. Arsenic, Aluminum, fluoride, prescription drugs, Disinfection ByProducts (DBPs) and more than 600 different toxins are often found in public water supplies. The real danger here is in the interaction of the ingredients and the fact that most water delivery systems only test and report roughly 80 of the hundreds of known potentially hazardous elements found in
The next most available water is the bottled variety you find in most stores and vending machines. If you read the labels carefully you will see the majority of bottled water sold today is just municipal city water filtered to remove the chlorine and bad tasting elements. Almost all of this water is bottled in plastic bottles which then leaches out the bisphenol A or BPA, the synthetic hormone disruptors known to create many other health problems—not to mention the devastating impact plastic water bottles have on the ecosystem.
Alkaline water and distilled water are excellent for use in detoxification and short term use, but can result in danger in the long term as it pulls toxins from the body very effectively. Drinking it long term can invite other health problems, especially if the minerals that are leached out of the body are not replaced. Alkaline water has also been linked to changes in the body’s natural digestive process and disrupt the good bacteria.
“Vitamin” waters are nothing more than a clever marketing scheme designed to promote a product that is just as unhealthy as soda. It contains high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and is mixed with distilled water.
Now we come to filtered tap water using Reverse Osmosis filters, Ion exchange filters and Granular Carbon Filters. Ideally, you want a filtration system that offers a variety of methods to remove different contaminants, Most systems do not address a combination of organic, inorganic, cyst, sediment and metals. The Pure and Clean filtering systems do seem to address the multiple methods of filtering out contaminants.
Living water—that which hasn’t been messed with would be mountain spring water, being in the healthy neutral ph range of 6.5 to 7.5. It is some of the healthiest water on the planet because it is ’living water’. Living water, like ’living food is in its raw natural state the way nature intended. Gravity-fed water is alive in the same way as raw organic food. When you take this vital energy into your body you are recharging it with health and encouraging it to return to a whole and balanced state. I am not referring to the two gallon jugs you see at the grocery store, but the bottle you fill yourself from a gravity fed stream. There’s a great website called FindaSpring.com where you can find a natural spring in your area. It’s a great way to get back to nature and the best part is that most of these spring water sources are free. Be sure to bring glass containers or chemical free containers so your nice clean water doesn’t get contaminated.
Check out the Alex Caisse Spring in Willimantic CT for a free natural spring water source.
NATURAL HEALING staff gathers information from many reliable sources and publications validating the information as much as possible. Magdalena Dakin is a certified Healing Practitioner working with people from all walks of life to help them gain and maintain their optimum health.