Hydration – No, Really
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. So here I sit, writing and drinking my huge breakfast smoothie with lots of fruits, veggies, & coconut water.
Over the past 8 months, I have learned more about hydration than all the rest of my years combined. Which is pretty mind-blowing because I’ve been around for a few decades. During college, I read Dr. F. Batmanghelidj’s Your Body’s Many Cries for Water (watercure.com), and it made an impression, with information of how chronic dehydration can result in disease, eye problems, chronic pain, asthma, allergies, etc., etc. However, since I didn’t hear anything in the media or read other books supporting this idea, 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 as humans 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 on behalf of the mega-wealthy, and usually to the detriment of the health of the individual and our environment. Or, the propaganda has been around for a lifetime and it’s really difficult to get folks to believe anything different. (Funny, I remember learning the meaning of propaganda as a youngster and thinking, wow, we’re lucky there’s none of that going on in the U.S.! Were you ever that naive??)
Dr. Zach Bush (zachbushmd.com), a triple board-certified physician, (whose vast, intricate knowledge of biological systems, coupled with his compassion & spirituality, gives him an approach to health like none I’ve ever witnessed) 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 fall between 3.5 and 7, (even those considered “healthy”) although the scale tops out at 10. His cancer patients have a tendency to 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. Several months 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 this alter your thinking?
The rules of hydration are not what they used to be. The 8-glass-a-day recommendation has become all but obsolete due to decades of heavy chemical exposure, resulting in water that is losing its ability to hydrate us. Additionally, we as a species are spending less time outdoors and more time in front of screens, which greatly increases our cells’ need for hydration.
I’ve begun listening to The Hydration Solution Summit from the Hydration Foundation (hydrationfoundation.org) and reading the book Quench, coauthored by the podcast host, Gina Bria, & one of the presenting physicians, Dr. Dana Cohen. Interestingly, Gina is an anthropologist who has studied desert dwellers to learn their hydration secrets. What I’m learning is most practical, like why foods such as celery & cucumbers are more hydrating than plain water, the reason adding 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. What hacks do you use to hydrate?
Speaking of sunlight’s effect on water, let us not forget the important fact that our body composition is more than 2/3 water. Spending time outside can benefit us profoundly. And of course, the more time we spend in Nature, the more appreciation of Her we have, & the more we might want to protect and preserve Her for future generations.
Blessings for Hydration,