WATER: THE ELIXIR OF LIFE
Often I hear the question, “What is the most important thing I can do for myself? Should I take vitamins? Exercise? What should I do?”
With so many products, services, new technologies, emerging superfoods, and alternative healing methods, I can understand how one might desire a simpler answer. And while there is no “one thing’” that will give you the perfectly healthy life you so desire, I find that most all of us fall short on one very important need: water.
The earth is made up of approximately 70 percent water. Is it any coincidence that our bodies consist of roughly the same percentage of this miraculous molecule? Did you know that water is one of the ONLY substances that actually gets LESS dense as it converts from a liquid to a solid state? Most every other substance becomes MORE dense as it freezes, because the molecules are more tightly packed. In a gas state, they are less dense, and take up a much larger space as they expand. What would happen in our oceans and lakes if ice was more dense than water and sank? How would our plants and animals fare if they were under the weight of thousands of pounds of ice? Not only would we be eating less shrimp cocktails and sushi maki, but the effects on the ecosystem and the earth as a whole would be catastrophic! Coincidence, or the loving-kindness of our Divine Creator?
I see it as no coincidence that this wonder molecule is so important. Water is the medium for most chemical reactions in the body. It cleanses, flushes out many harmful, destructive toxins as we excrete it from our body. It is important for healing, for digesting our food, for our mood and energy, for our immunity, for… well, everything! We can go days without eating solid food, but how long can we go without water? After two days we would be suffering from dehydration. As blood gets thicker from lack of hydration, the heart must work harder to pump the blood to the brain and the rest of the body. Our energy drops, the body slows. Within a week, the body will give out (if in the desert one would be lucky to last three days!)
So the question remains: How much water do we need?
There are many variables to figure out exactly how much each individual needs, but follow this basic guide:
Your body should get as many ounces as half of your weight (in pounds). If you weigh 100 lbs, you need 50 ounces of water. 200 lbs = 100 ounces, etc. You cannot substitute juice, pop, tea or any other beverage. This must be pure water!
For every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you consume, you must add an extra 8 ounces. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, meaning they cause you to excrete more water than they give you, leaving you with a negative overall water gain from them.
If you exercise or are in a situation where you are sweating a lot, you must add more water. Some recommend an extra 16-24 ounces per pound lost during a workout. An average, healthy person can produce as much as 32 ounces of sweat during an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise. You can weigh yourself before and after to find out how much water weight was lost, or you can just estimate.
Monitor urine color! The most effective measurement of hydration levels is urine color. If it is clear coming out, you are well hydrated. The darker the color, the more water you need. This is also a good way to monitor the hydration level of children.
As soon as you wake up each morning, drink two large glasses of water before putting anything else into your body. This will this ensure that you get a good start on your water consumption for the day. Doing this “primes-the-pump,” by kick-starting your metabolism and flushing out the digestive tract, thereby giving you a great start to your day.
Do this for four weeks, and you will feel like a new person!
Please, make sure that you are consuming purified water. While a simple Brita or Pur filter is much better than tap water, the best water is that which is filtered by reverse osmosis. Home kits cost between $200 -$300, will last for years and years, and cost between $50 and $100 a year in filters. It is one of the best investments our family has ever made!
So drink up! Cheers!