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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Words on Water

WATER: It’s All in How You Drink It…

The hot topic in current news seems to be water, and how much you don’t need. This topic has made the news several times in the past few years, sometimes to the chagrin of health advocates who believe water is life giving.

In a report this week, Dr. Stanley Goldfarb gives unclear evidence to his claim, and states he reviewed only data back to the 1970s.

This troubles me because, like most mainstream media reports, a majority of people take little time to look further, or fail to consider how such alleged findings apply to their own health.

In years past, the information taught to students of allopathic medicine was in support of a daily need for eight glasses of water. In 2005, The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons said the vast majority of patients with constipation can be successfully treated by adding high fiber foods, whole grain breads and certain fruits and vegetables to the diet, along with increased fluids. Increasing fluids usually comes as a directive to drink more water. In another 2005 study it was suggested that without water, the body's physiology will cause an involuntarily effort reduce feeding, leading to dehydration or anorexia.

In Oriental Medicine, Ayurveda (both systems dating back thousands of years) and traditional naturopathy water is considered a great healer.

Traditional short water fasts, from one to three days, historically have been used to gain health benefits. Longer fasts are best done under care and supervision of a trained healer. I included this therapy when I was recovering from a severe mold allergy with excellent benefit.

Dr. Lindlahr, one of our country’s early Nature Doctors, taught that “Under ordinary conditions from five to eight glasses of water a day are probably sufficient; the quantity consumed must be regulated by the desire of the patient.”

Consider sipping a glass of room temperature (pure) water on rising each morning, as a way to flush kidneys and bladder, and benefit health. This is a traditional naturopathic guideline, often called the ‘Cool Morning Draught’.

Facts about water –

The human body is generally about 60 % - 65% water. On a daily basis, through respiration (breathing), urination, defecation and sweating the human body may lose up to 3000 ml of “water”, or 8 -10 glasses of water. You do need to replace what you use. Adding a pinch of Celtic salt (about 1/8 teaspoon) to one glass of water daily will provide electrolytes necessary to maintain the proper function of water in the body, allowing it to move in and out of the cell to hydrate and cleanse (as described in basic human physiology).

When you live in hot and/or humid climates your need for water is higher than in more temperate locations. As an infant and as you age your body is more prone to become dehydrated.

Exercise hastens water loss.

Drinking water assists with weight management. Often when you snack it is a signal that you are slightly dehydrated, so try “cool, clear water” instead.

People who have diabetes often crave copious amounts of water in an effort to reduce blood sugar levels in their body.

Drinking cool, not iced, water is closer to normal body temperature and helps improve absorption, as does ‘sipping’.

Constipation affects about 4.5 million people in the US. Most people are aware that constipation is often due to an inadequate amount of water, dietary fiber and exercise.

It is best to avoid foods and drinks that may contribute to dehydration. Alcoholic and other beverages with sugar, artificial sweeteners, HFCS and/or caffeine (such as fruit juice, soda, diet soda, energy drinks, Gatorade type drinks, tea and coffee) may be fluids, but these are not as beneficial to health as water.

Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, by F. Batmanghelidj, MD, is an excellent resource four you to learn more about water.

These are interesting resources, and even most of the information on the Mayo Clinic site is fairly good. However, I do not advise drinking fluids, except for small sips, while eating meals, as this tends to dilute needed digestive fluids.

This chart is informative:

This is a special commentary I wrote this morning (3 April 2008) at the request of the major alternative news service

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