I often get the question, “What is the first thing I should change to get healthier? Should I take vitamins? Exercise? Meditate”
There are so many products, services, new technologies, superfoods, and healing methods out there that it can get pretty confusing. There is no “one thing’” that will give you perfect health, but there is one thing I find most people fall short on: water.
Think about this: the earth is made up of about 70 percent water. So are our BODIES! Water is one of the ONLY substances that actually gets LESS dense as it changes from a liquid to a solid. Pretty much everything else gets MORE dense as it freezes, because the molecules are more tightly packed. As a gas, things are less dense, and expand to take up a larger space. What would happen in our oceans and lakes if ice was more dense than water and sank? The ice would sink and crush everything! No water bound animals would survive. No plants would survive. Our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams would be lifeless if they froze. But that isn’t what happens. Pretty amazing, right?
Water is the medium for most chemical reactions in the body. It also cleanses, and flushes out harmful, destructive toxins as passes from our bodies. 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 a few days we would be suffering from dehydration. The blood would get thicker from lack of hydration, making the heart work harder to pump the blood to the brain and the rest of the body. Our energy would drop, and the body would slow. Within a week, we’d be dead.
So how much water do we need?
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 can’t substitute juice, soda, tea or other beverages, because the sugar or mineral content makes you need more water! You’ve got to drink plain water.
For every caffeinated or alcoholic drink you have, you need an extra 8 ounces. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics. They cause you to excrete more water than they give you, leaving you with a negative overall water gain.
If you exercise or are are sweating a lot, you need more water. An extra 16-24 ounces is recommended 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 intense exercise. You can weigh yourself before and after to find out how much water weight was lost, or you can just estimate.
Look at your urine color. The is probably the easiest and most effective measurement of hydration level. If it is clear coming out, you’re all good. The darker the color, the more water you need. This is also a good way to measure your kids hydration level.
As soon as you wake up each morning, drink two large glasses of water before doing anything else. This will this make sure that you get a good start on your hydration for the day. This “primes-the-pump,” by kick-starting your metabolism and flushing out the digestive tract, and will give you a great start to your day.
Do this for four weeks, and you will feel like a new person!
Make sure that you are drinking purified water. While a Brita or Pur filter is much better than tap water, an even better choice is reverse osmosis. Home kits cost between $200 -$300, and will last for years. Replacement filters cost between $50 and $100 a year. It is one of the best investments our family has ever made.
So drink up. Cheers!