The benefits of water – Two weeks in

Fun With Water Drops - 6

Image by Cayusa via Flickr

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the benefits of drinking enough water spaced throughout the day. I am amazed at the results so far so I wanted to share an update of what I have experienced. Firstly, it has just been a bit over three weeks of drinking water whenever my alarm rings on my phone. The transition to this new habit was pretty easy, though I definitely needed by phone to remind me. I noticed I was pretty good about drinking water when I was at home, but when I went out I realized that I would usually go for long stretches of the day with no water at all.

The first week was interesting since I felt like I was a sponge; I just couldn’t get enough water. It was interesting to me that the more water I drank, the more water I wanted. Somehow I thought it would be the opposite. I noticed my weight go up a bit on the scale and I felt like my tissues were swelling. Not in an unpleasant way, more like a dried up bean soaking up the water it needs to sprout new life.

I have more energy since drinking water regularly. Mornings have never been my thing, but I feel an ease getting out of bed that reminds me of when I was a little kid. There are some mornings where I wake up groggy or anxious about the day, but I’m finding that after a good glass or two of water my tiredness and hesitation fades away. I also notice that my slow mornings usually are after days of not drinking water often enough. Who knew? Water could make me a morning person! 🙂

I notice that my skin is radiant, soft and less wrinkly. My  lips, usually screaming for chapstick by this point in the winter, are fine. They are moistened from the inside. It seems to me that dry lips is an indicator of my need for more water. I also have lost a few pounds and feel an increased energy overall. I don’t dread working out or drag myself in front of the Kinect. I just show up.

Overall, I feel … softer, more relaxed, but also more energy too. The hectic edge of city life seems to have softened to the ebb and flow of a more natural existence. I notice the corners of my lips are different. When I look in the mirror, they curve up. I notice my patience growing, especially when dealing with tantrums from my three year old. I seem to be having fewer of my own internal tantrums when I bump up against an obstacle.

And lastly, what I notice, which is nothing short of a miracle, is the disappearance of cold symptoms with water alone. I was starting to get a runny nose and I drank a litre or two of water and went to bed early. By morning, I was fine. Then tonight again, I felt my nose going again, and again, it went away after a few glasses of water. Astounding!

All this from regular water intake, just drinking to my comfort level about 6 or 7 times a day. Sold!

Water: For Health, For Healing, For Life

Mineral water being poured from a bottle into ...

Image via Wikipedia

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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