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Water & Your Health

The Importance of Proper Hydration

Hydration is an important but often neglected subject. The body is made up of around 70% water, yet many people don’t drink nearly as much as they should to keep their bodies well hydrated. We regularly lose water through urine, intestines, skin and lungs. In Summer, in order to keep the body from overheating, we tend to sweat more: as sweat evaporates, the tissues beneath cool down. But that means the body’s water level is reduced, so getting enough hydration is of special importance in these warm days to prevent an impact on normal bodily reaction. Many plants are made up mostly of water, but you still need to down some good-quality H2O several times a day in addition to a whole foods diet.

Importance of hydration

By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, and that means you might have lost about 1% of your body water.  When you’re dehydrated, you can experience everything from fatigue to headaches to cramping. With a 2% water loss, you could experience serious fatigue and cardiovascular disease. 1 or 2 % loss might not seem much, but it is a lot for our body. About 80% of our blood is water. Water is important for metabolic processes, supplying nutrients, removing waste, maintaining blood circulation and maintaining body temperature, among other functions.

Benefits of drinking water

Water is the one ingredient that is going to make the largest impact on your overall health. Without enough water, our body is not able to sustain properly the vital functions mentioned before and we start feeling tired. The right amount of water will help the heart pump blood more effectively to bring nutrients to our cells, boosting our energy.  Adequate hydration maintains normal bowel function and prevents constipation. Drinking water hydrates skin cells, flushes out impurities and improves circulation, which helps your skin to look good. Proper hydration helps prevent muscle cramping and lubricates joints in the body. Dehydration brings stress into your body; to keep stress levels down, sip your water regularly. While water doesn’t have a magical effect on weight loss, it increases your metabolism and helps you feel full. Water helps the kidneys do their job of diluting and eliminating toxins out of our body, minimizing the risk of getting kidney stones. Are you sold on drinking more water yet?

Sources of water

There are different sources you can get your water from, some of them with higher qualities and health benefits than others. This list shows some of these sources by order of preference.

  • Spring water above 3000ft (1000m): the higher the altitude the water source, the less contaminants it contains.
  • Spring water below 3000ft (1000m): we have access to springs all over the world. Just go to findaspring.com to see which one is closest to you!
  • Reverse osmosis filters: are a great way to remove any impurities from your drinking and cooking water. When using these systems though, you must make sure to add a re-mineralizing component, which deposits healthy minerals back in. Otherwise, you might be surprised to find that drinking water is actually making you feel dehydrated! In a pinch, a touch of sea salt can replace the lost minerals as well, and will balance your water out.
  • Dual carbon filtered water: this filter, which is simpler to install that a reverse osmosis one, works really well but doesn’t remove fluoride (mineral we shouldn’t be ingesting).

Less preferable water sources:

  • Jar filters: pretty simple to use and widely available, the only warning is to use only cold (room temperature) water, as warm water messes up the particles in the filter making it useless.
  • Bottled water: usually contained in plastic, it can leak all kinds of toxins into the water, and who really knows the source?
  • Tap water: Do you trust your local water treatment plant to filter the water that comes through your pipes to the point that it’s pure enough for your drinking pleasure? Our body (kidneys) will filter out whatever particles contained in the water that can’t be allowed to enter our system.

What To Drink:

  • Warm herbal tea
  • Water with lemon or fruit
  • Coconut water
  • Elixirs (hot or cold)
  • Smoothies
  • Green Juices

What Not to Drink:

  • Soda/Pop
  • Bottled juices
  • Orange juice (pasteurized)
  • Lattes
  • Sports Drinks
  • “Excessive” Coffee

 

TIP: Do not drink cold water or a lot of water for that matter with your meals. We have been conditioned to drink when we eat. This habit can dilute your stomach enzymes and inhibit digestion. So you are best to sip water with meals and drink 30 minutes before your meal or at least two hours after.

Remember: drink water throughout the day. Whether it is plain water, lemon water, or herbal tea, just make sure you get it in. A typical recommendation is to drink half your body weight in ounces. If it is not realistic, at least make sure you’re drinking something, and that doesn’t mean coffee or other caffeinated beverages, because these can dehydrate your body further.