Hydration for Better Health

By Heather Willett

Water is the source of all life and a key element to every bodily function. In fact, the majority of our own bodies consist of water and the benefits of hydration are endless

Benefits of Drinking Water

Water is a free and natural resource that can have a significant impact on our overall health. Water plays a very large role in improving bodily functions such as:

–        Eliminates Toxins: Drinking water aids in the body’s natural process to detox. This is done by eliminating waste and toxins through urination, perspiration and regular bowel movements, but it is essential to replenish fluids that are lost during this process by drinking more water. It is a biological cycle that must take place for optimal health. Water is the cheapest and easiest way to detox the body. Adding lemon or lime to drinking water will help to alkalize the body.

–        Increases Energy: Most of the population is dehydrated and they are unaware of it. Dehydration leads to fatigue, but according to a study conducted by Dr. Michael Boschmann, MD, energy expenditure increased by 30% in both men and women an hour after drinking a glass of water.

–        Promotes Weight Loss & Maintains Digestive Regularity: Drinking water supports digestion and metabolic functions and helps move food through the digestive tract in order to extract essential nutrients and minerals. Additionally, water can help create a feeling of fullness and therefore decrease how much is consumed throughout the day.

–        Maintains Body’s Temperature: Water can help regulate the body’s normal temperature to keep all organs operating at their most efficient.

–        Lubricates & Cushions Joints: Proper hydration helps protect joints, bones, spinal cord and sensitive tissue from injury and damage.

–        Boosts Immune System: Water helps fight against common illnesses such as flu & the common cold, but it can also help prevent heart attacks and diseases such as cancer.

–        Prevents Loss of Vitamins & Minerals: Water dissolves countless substances, which allows cells to absorb essential nutrients.

–        Oxygenates Blood, Cells & Lungs: Cells are the building blocks to our bodies. It is vital to provide cells and blood with the necessary oxygen they need to operate the rest of our organs.

Hydration Musts

It may seem simple to capitalize on all the benefits that water can offer – just “drink more water” as most would say. However, there are some very important things to keep in mind when looking to increase water consumption.

The quality of water and its source matters. Tap water comes directly from community water systems and must meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for drinking water. However, these guidelines only restrict the percentage of contaminants allowed in drinking water. Proper filtration will filter harmful chemicals, bacteria and particles to allow for the cleanest and purest water to enter our bodies. Knowing water is the foundation for a healthy body, it is crucial we are supplying organs with the best quality. There are many filtration systems available that deserve a look. One filtration and purification system we have personal experience with is Berkey, but we have seen good results with others on the market.

Additionally, bottled water may appear to be a simple and easy solution, but about 40% of bottled water is just tap water. However, bottled water poses further risks to our health because they are stored in plastic bottles, which contain Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates that can leach into the water. Both BPA and phthalates are chemicals that interfere with naturally-produced hormones and can cause a plethora of serious health problems including cancer, diabetes, fertility issues and obesity. Lastly, bottled water isn’t as stringently tested as tap water, which is tested more frequently and is held to higher standards within the United States.

Goals for Everyday Water Intake

We’ve discussed the importance of filtration and eliminating bottled water due to their chemical components, but in order to maximize the value of water we must discuss when and how much water to drink.

It is important to pay attention to your own body’s water needs. Take note of the color of your urine, as darker urine can be an indicator that you are dehydrated as does less frequent urination. We recommend striving to drink half your body weight in ounces each day (e.g. if you weigh 140lbs, drink 70 ounces or 8.75 cups of water). The first two glasses of water should be consumed right when you get up in the morning, before you eat anything. This helps awaken muscles, internal organs and kick starts the body’s everyday functions. Aim to drink water throughout the day and attempt to have a glass either 20 minutes before or after each meal – this will aid in digestion and assist in breaking down the food, plus it will make you feel full and prevent overeating. Lastly, a glass before bed can help flush out toxins from the day and help prevent strokes and heart attacks.

Now that we have discussed the importance of drinking more water and have covered considerations in water quality and sourcing, how do we actually increase our water intake? To drink more water, try carrying a glass water bottle around with you as often as you can. Always choose water over soda pop or other sugary beverages including alcohol. Most importantly, create a daily routine to help ensure you are getting your full daily recommended amount. Water is a free and easy first step in building a strong foundation for a long and healthy lifestyle, so let’s start with the simple basics and achieve optimal health.

Sources: “Bottled Water Poisons Your Body One Swallow at a Time” by Mercola.com; “Drinking Water at the Correct Time Maximizes its Effectiveness on the Body” by Dr. Wendy Lanser; “The Water in You” by USGS.gov; The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, December 2003.