“Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
We seem to have lost the habit of drinking enough pure water every day – and it is having a big impact on our health. I believe one of the simplest, cheapest and most effective things you can do to improve your health is to make sure you drink around 2 litres of pure water every day. You will find health problems radically improve or even disappear (typically: headaches, skin irritations, low energy, low mood, allergies, digestion problems and breathing difficulties). Here’s why:
Quick anatomy lesson: our bodies are made up of systems (circulatory system, hormone system, etc). The systems are made of organs, organs are made of tissues, tissues are made of millions of microscopic cells. So, we are made of billions of different cells – all of them doing really important jobs. EVERY SINGLE CELL IN OUR BODY IS MADE UP OF WATER and a few other bits – even bone cells. More than any other ingredient, we are made of water – in fact, we’re mostly a slightly salty sea of water. Imagine what would happen if you left a jar of water (with the lid tightly closed) on the worktop in your kitchen. It would quickly get really fusty and stagnant. That’s what goes on inside your cells when you don’t drink plenty of pure water every day. Your body is literally going stagnant! Luckily we have amazing detoxification processes that filter and clean our cells constantly – especially when we sleep. However, without adequate water intake the systems struggle to do their job properly or thoroughly.
Most people are long-term mildly dehydrated. Our bodies adapt – thankfully we are highly adaptive beings so we survive (just look at how many different climates and environments humans live in all over the planet). But it’s a fact that without adequate water intake, our bodies have to prioritise vital functions and other functions are put on a go-slow or even shut down. For example, our brains are 90% water and without brain function, we’re dead. So that’s a big priority. However, just a 1% drop in water in our brains and we lose some cognitive function (thought processes) – for example, mental maths becomes more difficult. So, those days when you feel like you can’t add 2 plus 2 and your brain is foggy … they’re probably dehydration (it’s especially noticeable when you’ve been partying the night before!).
The lesson here is that drinking water is not just for when you’re thirsty or you’re doing a detox (which you really want to hope your body is doing all the time not just in January!). THE BIGGEST AND SIMPLEST AND CHEAPEST THING YOU CAN DO TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH IS TO DRINK ENOUGH PURE WATER EVERY DAY!
How much is enough? It depends on our caffeine, alcohol and salt intake, as well as the climate/environment we live in and the life we lead. Every time you have a coffee, tea, soft drink or glass of wine, you need at least one glass of water to cancel it out (in lots of other European countries, coffee is always served with a glass of water). If you sweat for an hour, you generally need a litre of water … being in air conditioning will dry you out just as much. And salt is not our enemy – it’s an important part of hydration. We need to maintain that slightly salty sea in our cells – some of us have taken the anti-salt message too far and we’re now lacking salt which means we can’t be hydrated. However, not all salt is made equal – unrefined sea salt is the best (avoid ‘table’ salt).
People have so many wrong ideas about water … here are some of my favourite popular responses to drinking more (or at least some!) water :
- “I don’t like the taste” – if your water has a bad taste then it’s not pure water! Use a filter – tap water has lots of stuff added that we’re better off without anyway. I love these water filters. I believe we can all learn to love “the taste” of water when we know it’s the ONLY drink our body needs to stay healthy. And, once you start to feel the benefits, you won’t have to learn to love it – you will crave it. Cut out juices, squash (cordial) and fizzy drinks (they’re packed with sugar and/or chemicals), cut down on tea and coffee (no more than 1 or 2 cups a day) and increase your water intake to 6-8 glasses a day (1.5-2L). You’ll soon feel and look so much better.
- “It makes me burp” – I reckon that’s probably body shock! These people usually then reveal that they don’t drink a single drop of pure water all day, every day. I reckon they’re so chronically dehydrated their body literally doesn’t recognise water. Start by sipping one large glass over the morning – after breakfast and finish at least half an hour before lunch. Then one large glass over the afternoon – after lunch and well before dinner. That’s not difficult to fit into any schedule. Do this for a week and then double the number of glasses. Don’t drink half an hour before eating (it dilutes your much-needed stomach acid).
- “If I drink all that, I’d be up all night weeing” – yes, once you start to introduce water to your body, it is a bit of surprise if it hasn’t seen enough for a while. Your body may take a little time to adapt – a few days or weeks – it may wee it straight out (or seem to). Persevere – it will be worth it! Perhaps don’t drink any water after 5pm to begin with. Your body will adjust to the water intake and this will stop (or decrease).
- “You can drink too much water – people have died from that!” I love this one – it really makes me laugh! Yes, I believe there is a form of torture where people are force-fed water until they drown. It must take a long time and a lot of water – how horrific. And definitely not the same as any sane, alive and functioning person drinking water voluntarily. There must be so much of a happy medium between none (which is what these people usually drink) and the litres needed to drown.