Good morning. It’s a glorious, sunny winter day here in Arizona. But it’s dry. Always dry. As much as I dislike the humidity of the East Coast, the dry cold (and heat) is a challenge for me as well. So here I sit, writing and drinking my huge breakfast smoothie with lots of fruits, veggies, & coconut water.
Due to some adverse experiences of exercising in this dry climate, I have dug into the science of hydration. During college, I read Dr. F. Batmanghelidj’s Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, and it made an impression, with information on how chronic dehydration can result in high cholesterol, high blood pressure, chronic pain, asthma, allergies, etc. However, since I hadn’t heard anything in the media or read other books supporting these ideas, I thought, ok, interesting, but hydration couldn’t possibly be that critical. Otherwise, we’d all know about it. Right?
Wrong! The past 20 years have taught me that much of the health information that we most need is not very publicized or, if it does happen to make a media appearance, a campaign of propaganda is often initiated to cause us to believe otherwise. Many times this is done in the name of profit, and usually to the detriment of our health and environment. Or, the propaganda has been around for a lifetime and it’s really difficult to get folks to believe anything different. (Prime examples that you might have heard include the myths that we should all eat a high-protein diet and dairy is essential for healthy teeth and bones.) Dehydration creates a great many problems in the human body, driving a need for pharmaceuticals and contributing to a trillion dollar industry worldwide.
Dr. Zach Bush, a triple board-certified physician, says that virtually all of us are chronically dehydrated. Pretty strong assertion, huh? At his clinic in Virginia, he offers a device called a Phase Angle that measures the ability of cells to hold an electrical charge, which translates into an individual’s hydration level. Dr. Bush says typically, a patient’s results are less than 7 on a scale that tops out at 10 (even those considered healthy.) His cancer patients usually show a result of 4.5 or less, and death can occur at about the 3.5 mark. And, apparently, improving your score on this test is not something that happens quickly. A full year of committed lifestyle changes may increase your score by only 1/2 point. In my mind, this brings the importance of proper daily hydration to the forefront. Does it change your thinking?
My understanding of proper hydration has been furthered by listening to The Hydration Solution Summit from the Hydration Foundation and reading the book Quench: Beat Fatigue, Drop Weight, and Heal Your Body Through the New Science of Optimum Hydration coauthored by the podcast host, Gina Bria, and Dana Cohen, MD. Interestingly, Bria is an anthropologist who has studied desert dwellers to learn their hydration secrets. The lessons from the podcast and the book are most practical, like why foods such as fruits & cucumbers are more hydrating than plain water, the reason adding fresh lemon juice and/or Himalayan salt to your water is helpful, and the fact that placing your water in a glass in direct sunlight supercharges it & helps hydrate you even more. The eight glasses of plain water a day that most of us believe we need is no longer the best recommendation, due to decades of heavy chemical exposure and tap water being forced through less than ideal city water systems & home pipes.
Speaking of sunlight’s effect on water, don’t forget our body composition is more than 2/3 water. Time outside and other hydrating efforts influence our abilities to remember & feel energized, our cells’ capacity to clear debris vs. generate inflammation, and our power of creativity. Check out my post Water: The Miraculous Molecule for more on these ideas.
Staying on top of your hydration needs is one of the best things you can do to assist your body with optimal function. If you have health issues, you may find that simply eating more fruits and drinking fresh lemon water help you feel better. You can’t always believe what you hear. Don’t sell your health short: hydrate and thrive!
Blessings for Hydration,
The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.