Water: For Health, For Healing, For Life

Mineral water being poured from a bottle into ...

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Water is amazing stuff. It truly is the basis of all life on earth. We depend so much on water for life that we could not survive three days without it. By now it is pretty much common knowledge that drinking an adequate amount of water is good for our health. What you may not know is that chronic dehydration may be linked to a wide range of dis-eases.

The book “Water: For Health, For Healing, For Life.”, by Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D., presents a fascinating discussion of the role of water in our bodies, and the many ways a chronic lack of water damages our cells. The damage caused by chronic dehydration is linked to many diseases such as asthma, allergies, high blood pressure, chronic pain, obesity, depression, and cancer. While I tend to be wary of overly simple explanations of the causes of disease, this book does present some very reasonable explanations for why water is so important to so many disease processes. Also, Dr. Batmanghelidj is really only advocating drinking a reasonable amount of water (8 to 10 glasses) each day; so it is pretty safe to test these theories out.

Think of your cells as little water balloons in a sink filled with water. These water balloons are made of a material that is leaky, so that water can go in and out of the balloons at a relatively slow rate. The water balance between our cells (the balloons) and our intracellular fluids (the sink water) is regulated by the relative concentrations of salt on the inside of the cell compared to the outside of the cell. This movement of water across the cell membrane (the balloon skin) is called osmosis and requires no energy. Cells aren’t very good at pumping water in or out, but they can move the big salt atoms back and forth to maintain the balance. If too much water rushes in, the cell could burst; if too much water rushes out, then they could shrivel. Either way, the huge amount of work our cells have to do to keep us healthy is compromised if the water balance swings too far in either direction.

We need to drink enough water and spaced throughout the day. An interesting idea presented in the book is that we lose our perception of thirst as we age, so that while young people (younger than 18) can drink when they are thirsty and get enough water, older people won’t drink enough just based on thirst. So clearly most adults will need to be reminded to drink water. Another interesting point is that as you increase your water intake and start to rehydrate your body, you will actually begin to revive your sense of thirst. According to this book, it will take several days to rehydrate the body.

I recommend setting a series of alarms on your cell phone to remind yourself to have a glass or two of water. I have been using this schedule for several days now and I have just loved the effects. I feel a steady energy level during the day, my skin feels smoother, and I feel calmer even during a hectic weekend. I feel so good.

Here are some times to set water drinking reminders, based on the guidance in “Water: For Health, For Healing, For Life.”:

  • 7:00, or when you wake up
  • 10:30, or 2 ½ hours after breakfast
  • 11:30, or ½ hour before lunch
  • 3:00, or 2 ½ hours after lunch
  • 5:30, or ½ hour before dinner
  • 9:00, or 2 ½ hours after dinner
  • Just before bed

I recommend that you only drink to your comfort and listen to your body, and not forcing down water. I think frequency of drinking water is almost more important than how much you drink at any one time.

Try it out for a few days and let me know what you experience.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kelsey
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 07:05:10

    I’ve tried this, including using a timer! My naturopath must have read the same book, as the times you listed are about the same that she recommended.
    What I noticed right away is that my cravings for sugar disappeared almost instantly (for me, that says a lot – most days I only want sugar, nothing else – and sugar is what typically causes weight gain (not fat or salt), and some dis-eases). I also felt like my body was “rebooting” – it was the first time that I felt “awake” in the morning, and it felt good!
    My naturopath recommended drinking 2 full glasses at a time, but as a grazer, I am not physically capable of doing that. Thank you for giving me permission to only drink the amount I need!
    Yay, water!

    Reply

    • overachairfeet
      Nov 14, 2011 @ 09:50:22

      So cool about the decrease in cravings. The author also says that irresistable cravings are one of the many indicators of thirst that we don’t usually think of as thirst. Other cues that we are really thirsty are: not sleeping well, feeling tired, flushed, irritable, anxious, dejected, depressed, foggy brain, and a fear of crowds or leaving the house.

      I increased my water intake, but drank it in huge amounts only a few times a day. I felt bloated and uncomfortable when I was guzzling the water. Since I have switched to drinking water more frequently (the same total amount each day), I have felt huge, immediate changes in my body-mind. I really think it is the frequency of water intake that is the key.

      So, yes, drink whatever amount feels good to you, just drink often. 🙂

      Reply

  2. Robert
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 17:57:35

    Try some glycerine with the water, you will adsob more while drinking less.

    Reply

  3. Robert
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 22:19:26

    In fact if you take the glycerine in the right proportions when mixed with water you can achieve hyper-hydration.

    Reply

  4. sweetopiagirl
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 19:11:29

    Reblogged this on inspiredweightloss.

    Reply

  5. Trackback: The benefits of water – Two weeks in « OverAChairFeet's Bloginess
  6. Trackback: Water – The Older Adult’s Best Medicine | Hands-of-Faith Holistic Healing Centers® Blog

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