Thursday, 25 October 2018

It is not just how much water we drink, it's how we drink it that is SO important!


How many times have you been told to drink water?  You hear about the importance of hydration while at the gym or read yet another article touting the benefits of water.
Many of us increase our water intake for a few weeks but still admit, “I don’t drink enough water.”  Eventually, even our month long sprint of drinking more water ends because we can’t stand going to the loo all the time.

The advice on water is not working. Let’s have a broader conversation on how to drink water. 

The majority of our body is water. This water is stored both inside and outside cells. Water helps in so many ways I can’t even list them all!

Some examples include: helping to dissolve nutrients, carry waste, regulate body temperature, send messages to the brain, and lubricate our joints
You need water to function and feel good. However, you lose a lot of water every day through breath, sweat (even if you don’t work out), urine, and bowels. Your only choice for perfect health is to replenish your body with the water that it needs.

How do you know you might need more water? Here are tell tale signs:

  • Dryness, dry lips, skin, eyes, and hair (even during spring and summer).
  • Inflammation, skin rashes and burns, clogged pores leading to acne, red eyes
  • Urine colour, the moment  you wake up your pee is dark yellow instead of light yellow (not clear)
  • Constipation – sometimes you don’t have a bowel movement that day
  • Little to no sweat

It is much better to drink water so that we absorb it rather than end up just going to the toilet lots.  Many people gulp water and within 20 minutes pee a clear liquid out, which means their body did not absorb most of the water. While increasing water does involve taking a few more trips to the loo (people may wee every 3 hours), you will eventually stop weeing out volumes of water immediately after drinking water. It is a process.

An analogy would be if you have an indoor plant and you have forgotten to water it.  You then pour an entire cup over the plant thinking this will help.  All that happens is the water goes right through the plant and then just pours out the bottom.  This is what happens to us if we glug large amounts of water in one go. 

Drink room temperature to warm water instead of ice cold water to remove toxic buildup.
Ice cold water can freeze the enzymes and fluids in your gut preventing your body from properly digesting food. This creates toxic build up. In addition, the blood vessels constrict so the toxic build up gets stuck inside you instead of draining out through your lymph (cleansing) system. Blood vessel constriction also prevents blood from circulating where it needs to be so your organs don’t get nutrients when they need them.

Warm water gently encourages the natural flow of the lymph system and over time, you have less build up. This rule is extremely important for women during menstruation or when wanting to conceive because warm water increases circulation and the energy needed to prepare the reproductive organs.
Drinking warm water helps digestion, cleanses the bladder, removes unwanted gas and smells, and clears colds and coughs.

This does not mean cold water is out the question; it’s just more suitable for certain situations like exhaustion and heat stroke.
If you really prefer ice cold drinks, switch to slightly chilled water before you make the transition to room temperature water.  A few things can be added to water to increase absorption.
These ingredients bind to water molecules to make delivery into the body faster.
  • Add a pinch to 1/4 teaspoon of unrefined mineral salt  (not ordinary table salt but Celtic Sea Salt, or Pink Himalayan Salt) to every litre of water. 
  • Add a squeeze of lemon to your water.
  • Soak chia seeds for a few hours and add them to your water.
  • Add ginger slices to your water.

Diet drinks, large amounts of refined sugar (juice /fizzy drinks), or caffeine (coffee /tea) make the body work harder so you’re not getting immediate hydration to your cells. Sugar not used immediately will store as fat. Increasing ANY liquid intake is NOT equal to increasing water intake.

When I first started drinking more water, I’d gulp water just before I went to bed or in the evening if I thought I hadn't quite reached my target, which is about 2 - 21/2 litres a day. I was happy I reached my goal but then I’d have to wake up in the night a couple of times to go to the toilet. It was because I never actually absorbed the water I gulped at night.
Do not go crazy with your hydration goals – eventually, you’ll be in tune with your thirst patterns. 

Eat your water through consuming vegetables and fruits

One of the main reasons for eating both vegetables and fruits is that they are great delivery sources of water along with additional nutrients. The water you “eat” will often integrate into your system better than the water you drink.

Keep the same glass handy for drinking water every day so you have a visual cue to remind you water is available if you need it.

Water & Meal Times

Too much water with meals kills the digestive enzymes that are trying to process your food. Food will go unprocessed and become waste in your system.
Instead, 30 minutes before a meal, drink a glass of water. This hydrates the stomach’s lining to produce the sufficient stomach acid you need to digest difficult foods  (dairy, eggs, nuts, etc).

Don’t drink a whole glass of water right before a meal (e.g. 5 minutes before) or you might dilute your stomach acid. Don’t drink a whole glass of water right after a meal (e.g. 5 minutes after). It makes you susceptible to sluggish digestion and weight gain.

As you form the proper water habits, look for signs of hydration in your body.  
In 1 month, you will see results. Check your hands and lips to see if they are less dry. Look at your face to see if blemishes are starting to clear. Assess the overall shine of your hair and skin.  You might start to notice you feel less tired in the morning and have more energy to sustain you during the day.

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