So what is all the hype about drinking water, why do we need it? Well it’s not hype we need water to sustain life.! You only have to look at a neglected plant to see the devastating effects of dehydration. Leaves shrivel, the plant goes brown, wrinkled and crispy, leaves and petals fall off and the plant will eventually die. Over watering has similar effects so as with most things in life it’s all about finding balance. Our bodies are way more complex than plants so it’s even more important that we are aware of the balance required for optimum health.
What does water do for our health?
So our bodies are made up of around 60% water, our cells 70% water and our blood is about 90% water. Bearing this in mind it’s easy to see why maintaining a hydrated body is so important. As we age our body requires more water. In fact, the aging process has been linked to dehydration. Throughout the day we lose water through sweat, urine, breathing and digestion. This water needs to be replaced, but more than that, every system in our body requires water to function.
Water is important for our joints, muscles and tissues. It lubricates joints so injury is less likely to occur and can lessen the effects of arthritis. In the digestive system, water helps to dissolve nutrients and minerals making them easier to absorb. It prevents constipation (here I go again my favorite bowel topic : ). We may increase our fibre intake to help our bowels but this will only hinder our bowels unless we drink enough water. The large bowel absorbs water to soften the stool and fibre will bulk out the stool and scrub the bowel. Without water the stool becomes hard.dry and difficult to pass.
Body temperature is regulated with water. We sweat we get hot and take in more fluid to cool and re hydrate the system. This is why it is so important to drink plenty of fluid when you have a fever or are unwell. It will also help flush out your system and help you to recover quickly. Water is vital for flushing the kidneys and liver to relive the body of toxins, chemicals and waste. Headaches are caused most of the time by dehydration. This is because the brain shrinks slightly causing pain as it pulls away from the skull. Easy remedy, drink more throughout the day and increase your intake of water when exercising or in hot weather.
Water is the most important nutrient in our intake, we can live sometime on just water without food but will die within a few days of receiving no water.
What should the PH of our water be?
Each and every cell in our body contains water so it makes sense that the water we drink should be of optimum quality to give us the healthiest disease free body. The big debate over the PH of water is still unclear to me. I have read numerous research articles on this topic, without any clear evidence to suggest whether acid or alkaline is best for you. Some say cancer cannot exist in an alkaline environment but then again no cells can exist in an overly alkaline environment. Other studies suggest that cancer cannot exist in an acid environment.
The truth is that each of our bodily systems have a different PH. It is vital to our health that the PH is maintained in each system for optimum healthy. For example the stomach is acidic and needs to remain this way for digestion but over production of acid can result in stomach ulcers. The blood is slightly alkaline and has a very narrow margin for change if health is to be maintained. Bile and pancreatic fluid are also alkaline to help neutralise stomach acid and assist enzymes in breaking down our food. Once again balance is so important for maintaining health.
Just to throw a spanner in the works, there is some evidence to suggest that eating an alkaline diet is helpful in conditions such as chronic kidney disease. We could therefore debate whether this would be a preventative measure as well? Another interesting theory to consider is whether our diet has become more acidic over time with the introduction of more animal products, preservatives and fast foods. Is balance indeed maintained by an alkaline diet rich in high pH water fruit and vegetables? These are just my ideas from the evidence of numerous studies that I have read but it is indeed a very interesting topic.
When I moved into my new home in the Perth hills I was excited that we had our own rainwater system. I loved the idea that we were self-sufficient and had to rely on rainfall to match our water needs. I also loved the idea that I was drinking fresh rainwater hmmmm… Over time, I researched rainwater and found that it was quite acidic. Being a curious little bean, I was unsure whether this was actually a problem or not, so I researched further. When looking at rainwater however the main problem seemed to be the effect of the acid corroding the copper pipes causing an increase in copper intake. Too much copper can have a range of side effects mainly on the liver, but can also cause neurological conditions.I also hadn’t initially considered that my rainwater runs off my roof along with everything else that is in the environment, pesticides, carbon, dust etc.
I decided to research the best water filters and eventually landed on the Berkey water filter. Since I’ve had this filter I’ve never looked back. I am 100% confident that I am drinking chemical free naturally filtered water. These filters are able to filter the dirtiest river water. Not only are they incredibly efficient they are extremely economical. The 2 big filters last for 4 years!! I love this idea. I used to have a fridge water filter that needed to be changed every month. It was expensive and I never remembered to change it on time. I’m also uncomfortable with plastic containers for my food or water but I’ll save that for another post. Because we have rainwater our water is heavy in sediment so I have to scrub my filters weekly but a small price to pay for beautiful clean water.
The fluoride debate
The other consideration is the fluoride debate. Now because my water has no added fluoride I am happy with what I drink. Adding fluoride to water is used in many countries and banned in others. There are several factors to be considered. Yes it has been proven that a certain amount of fluoride is beneficial in dental care. On the flip side how do we know how much fluoride we are getting? I drink a lot of water so I wouldn’t be comfortable drinking fluoridated water. Babies, toddlers, children, men and women also drink the same water yet they must have different needs. Are levels of fluoride ever tested to see if we are having too much? Toxicity due to fluoride can include gastro disturbances, as well as bone fragility. I am not convinced there is enough evidence to support the use of fluoride in drinking water. Berkey also do fluoride water filters if this is a concern to you.
Drink and be healthy!
So we’ve discussed why we need water and how it makes us healthy. Lack of water and dehydration has massive effects on our body. These can be mild, such as headaches and skin wrinkling with age, to drastic such as low blood pressure, seizures and even death. We need around 3 litres a day but this will vary person to person depending on age, activity, general state of health, sex and climate. Increase to around 3 litres and then adjust up or down to find your own balance. Try to understand what your body needs we are all so different. At first, you will be running to the bathroom as your body adjusts to the increased intake but this does settle down and you are left with a beautifully hydrated system.
When trying to determine the mass of information out there stick to solid research (more than just single study’s as these can be very biased) and your own common sense. There are plenty of company’s trying to sell their products that will try to convince you that you need certain things, sometimes the products are good sometimes they are just trendy or gimmicky.
Anyway I will leave you with this to digest until next time.
Hope you have a great day!
Deb (The Organic Nut)