Time To Drink? Water…. And Not Another Martini!
As the summer party scene is in full swing, do consider the following: Why not begin the morning with a glass of filtered, room temperature water with some raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice?
Since over 70% of the body is comprised of water, it’s a good idea to stay well hydrated. Sorry, a watermelon martini or cup of coffee does not provide hydration; to the contrary, it will dehydrate your body. Coffee is a well-known diuretic, as are some herbal teas. Alcohol will deplete the body of many nutrients after the feel-good buzz has worn away…
Did you know that water is a major constituent of the synovial fluid that lubricates our joints? It is also a large constituent of the discs in our spine. If you are dehydrated, it will affect the health of your spine and joints.
Water helps our nerve communications around the whole body; consider it as a transport system within our cells and between the cells. Just because you do not feel thirsty does not mean that your body is not thirsty!
Why Hydration Will Assist In Weight Loss … Move the lymph & toxins
Water is part of the lymph fluid, which is an internal drainage system in the body. The lymph fluid acts as a garbage removal and assists us in getting rid of toxins, infections and waste from our cells. If you are dehydrated, you will keep storing toxins in body fat as a protective measure. Increased toxins = increased body fat reservoir as the body keeps toxins away from our organs.
Conventional medicine does not address the important role of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is also closely connected with our kidneys. Their primary job is flushing out water-soluble toxins. It is essential that there is sufficient hydration to support this purging mechanism otherwise toxins will build up in your body.
The lymphatic system has multiple glands located in different areas of the body. Besides ‘garbage removal’, the lymphatic system is also closely connected with the immune system. Just think of the glands by your throat that swell up when you have a sore throat or the tonsils in the back of the throat swell up with a, e.g. strep throat or viral infection. The lymph fluid between cells (called the interstitial fluid) transports toxins back into the blood stream so the toxic waste can be eliminated. We need to hydrate well to optimize drainage (and movement of our muscles) to occur so we can clear out cells with toxic waste and infectious debris that harms us. Your hydration affects how you can get rid of ‘junk in the trunk’.
Always Thirsty – But drinking water?
One thing I hear in my office is that some individuals drink a lot of water, but they always feel thirsty. Optimal hydration and mineral balance is essential for good communication between all cells in your body. If you are drinking a lot of water and are a visitor the ladies room soon after, you might not be absorbing the water into the cells, where it is needed. This is a big clue that you might need more electrolytes, or that you are not absorbing your minerals. (And you always also want to check with your doctor for a hidden urinary tract infection.)
And you might be losing even more minerals because of too frequent urination. If your urine is too light in color, this is another clue. You want to ‘sponge’ the water into your cells where it is required for various actions.
Swollen Ankles? Water Accumulation?
You do not want the water to accumulate in your body or around the ankles as is common with water retention. A sedentary lifestyle, low potassium levels, cardiovascular challenges, non-optimal kidney or thyroid function, fatigued adrenals, a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and medications all are culprits when it comes to various symptoms of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. (You want to discuss swollen ankles and feet with your doctor or a health professional, especially if medications are in use.)
Symptoms Of Dehydration?
- Cramping in lower limbs at night, or during sports
- Feeling thirsty (you might even think you are hungry)
- Dry skin or ongoing dry lips
- Low blood pressure
- Joint pain
- And premature aging
6+6“Lube The Tube!”
The first line of action with constipation is to make sure that hydration is optimal. Dehydration can keep you constipated. A good bowel movement guideline? A nice swoosh of an earth-colored ‘Poopie-the-Policeman’ (Paul Chek, CHEK Institute) that sinks to the bottom of the bowl. If it is lighter in color or floats, your fatty acid metabolism might need to be addressed. A bowel evacuation should envision the smell of earth after all you are eliminating microbes and dead materials. Any issues with elimination must be addressed beyond hydration as multiple factors can be in play. But hydration is the first step to “lube the tube.”
“Wipe Off The Sweat!”
In hot summer months or when you exercise, you lose sweat. That often is an easy reminder to replenish our hydration. When you sweat, you lose water and electrolytes, so you want to replenish electrolytes too. On the plus side you will also sweat out toxins, especially arsenic. As the pores open up when you are hot and sweaty, wipe off the sweat to prevent reabsorption of toxins. Since the skin is the largest organ of elimination, sweating and hydration are required to get toxins out and keep the complexion clear.
Your Skin Needs Water!
Speaking of skin, if you are dehydrated, you are more prone to wrinkling, aging sooner, and also having clogged-up pores. You can feel that your skin feels drier, especially if it also exposed to chlorine in swimming pools.
Why You Want To Avoid Tap Water!
Avoid tap water, as it contains harmful toxins including chlorine, fluoride and arsenic – and possibly some lead too. Excess copper from old copper pipes in older buildings is also a possible concern, besides toxic residue in the water from industrial water run-off, birth control pills and medications. Estrogen filaments have also been detected besides low levels or arsenic, which at an accumulative level all challenge our bodies. Water pollution is a real concern.
Filtered water at home is the best choice and there are various options depending on your living quarters and budget. When going out to restaurants, still or sparkling water from glass bottles is recommended. Other options include water from companies including Fiji, Evian, Volvic, and Jenna.
As you enjoy fun in the sun, and the longer days of summer, hydrate your body and brain. Even if you do not feel thirsty, chances are your body is!
Rika Keck FDN-P
NY Integrated Health