Water. It makes our beautiful blue marble of a planet what it is – the perfect environment for us to live and thrive. In fact, about 71 percent of the Earth is covered by water! The oceans hold 96.5 percent of that, with fresh water comprising the rest in lakes, rivers, glaciers and ice caps, permafrost, swamps and marshes, atmosphere and living things.
We ourselves are 60 – 65% made of water. I’m sure you knew your blood was mostly water (94%), but did you know that your eyes are 95% water? Your brain is 83% water, and your muscles, kidneys, lungs, heart are comprised of 75 – 85% water!
WATER is the next “Hunger of Health,” vital because we are mostly water!
Water is a MAJOR vital player in our health. But not just what we drink; also where we carry the water inside our bodies – inside our cells, or outside our cells – it tells us a lot about our health, and greatly affects how we function.
We should all carry the majority of water (at least 50% and more is better) inside our cells – that is called “intracellular water.” Water outside our cells is called “extracellular water.” When this gets out of balance, we are on the way to disease. At a 50:50 ratio, the red warning light is flashing; when that ration slips below 50% intracellular and higher than 50% extracellular, we are well into a disease process, and the sirens start blaring to accompany the flashing red light.
(Our bodies do all they can to alert us to dis-ease – our job is to listen when the signs are subtle, before they get to full out state of emergency alert, as in autoimmune disease.)
Let’s talk first about how much water we actually use in our bodies on a daily basis. For the average man, that is nearly 16 cups (3.7 liters, 124 ounces) and for the average woman, it’s nearly 12 cups (2.7 liters, 96 ounces). Even while we sleep, we lose water through our breath – up to a liter per night!
But…that’s not the whole story.
That’s not taking into account any exercise, diuretic substances consumed (like coffee), or prescription drugs. And mouth breathers lose a lot more water daily than nose breathers. All of these drive that daily requirement for water even higher!
You probably know that thirst is a sign of dehydration, but did you know that dehydration can also manifest as fatigue? Hunger and cravings? Headache? Bad breath, dizziness, palpitations or swollen tongue? Brain fog, weight gain, mood swings, anger and constipation can also be signs that you are not getting enough water. Our bodies give us information all the time, telling us what they need.
Unfortunately, we have become somewhat numb to our bodies’ pure messaging of what they need – thirst among these Hungers of Health for survival – a numbness that is certainly exacerbated by the many messages bombarding us daily to get us to buy something to “fix” what is wrong! Pills for headaches, lozenges for dry mouths, gum for bad breath, potions for constipation, and the many, many “remedies” we are sold to fix our “broken” moods.
(Sometimes I wonder what an alien would think of our world if they only learned about us via television commercials…)
The upshot of all this is that many – if not most – exist in a state of dehydration. We drink coffee, tea, alcohol, soft drinks, juice, synthetic beverages such as Gatorade…but we do not drink enough pure water!
Then, we may suffer any of the above symptoms, try to remedy them with a pill, which requires even more water to process! On top of that, a special hormone called aldosterone may be causing us to hold onto excess water weight because it registers our insufficient water intake and causes us to retain water to protect us. (Many times I have seen someone lose 2-3 pounds in one day as they rehydrate, when their bodies release this water weight retained by their body as protection.)
So if we want to return to the simple, optimal health our body craves, what about water? How much should we drink? What kind of water should we drink?
To get really simple, and really specific, here is what I recommend:
- Start your day with water. Especially before any caffeine, drink at least 20 ounces of water. More is even better! A squeeze of lemon in it is a great intestinal toner, with maybe a dash of Himalayan sea salt. I drink at least 40 ounces every single morning to rehydrate what my body lost during the night.
- Drink water even before you feel thirst. Many of us need to retrain ourselves to feel thirst anyway. Before every meal, drink a big glass of water. In fact, hunger is often thirst masquerading. Drink water first and see if it satisfies you.
- Aim to drink half your body weight (pounds) in ounces of water every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water.
- Drink from glass or stainless steel, NOT plastic, which contains harmful toxic chemicals that will leach into your body, such as xenoestrogens.
- No Gatorade or similar. You do NOT need any artificial beverage to replace sweat. Your body knows exactly what to do with pure plain water after even a hard workout.
- Teach yourself and your kids to reach for WATER and water alone when feeling thirsty. Not soda, not juice (high in sugar and calories, low in fiber), not milk, not soft drinks. It is vital to turn back on our natural body signaling.
- I do not recommend alkaline water, as it neutralizes stomach acid, which needs to be at a Ph < 2 to do its job correctly processing our food, especially protein. Most alkaline water is far above this! Over the years I have seen so many clients with indigestion, gerd, etc, and the cause is alkaline water. The only alkaline water I’ve seen that is ok to drink (because it comes from a natural spring source) is Carlsbad Water.
- If you drink reverse osmosis or “purified” water, I recommend adding back in minerals before drinking.
- Consider a water filter for your home. Most municipal sources (city water coming into your home) contain fluoride, chlorine, industrial solvents, pesticides, even residual prescription medications! Berkey makes a great stainless steel filter (which is unfortunately not available in California), and I recommend THIS ONE on the Resource page of my website, which I like for the extremely effective multi-step purification process it provides. Add back minerals (such as IntraMin by Drucker Labs, or CT Minerals by Cellcore) after purification.
- Consider “mouth tape” while you sleep to retrain yourself to nasal breathe. Just a small, postage stamp-sized piece of gentle tape made for skin use (such as 3M) works as a reminder and will not suffocate you. It may take a few nights to get accustomed to the feel but the health benefits are far-reaching: less dehydration, better sleep, diminished snoring and straighter teeth among them.
- Limit Epsom salts baths to 15-20 minutes. Longer than that is dehydrating as your body loses its water to the process of osmosis.
Water is life, as they say. If you would like to delve deeper into study of how much it affects our health, I recommend the book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by Fereydoon Batmanghelidj.
What is your next most important “Hunger of Health?”
What kind, how much, when to eat it…so much to explore…and we will, in the next blog…