Did you know there is a hot, new nutrient out on the market? This one can help reduce your seasonal allergies. It works wonders on heartburn. It improves your skin, regulates your bowels and can help you lose wei.ght. It can even reverse arthritis symptoms. It can even lower your blood pressure. You may not believe it, but you already have some of it at home right now….WATER!
So often the simplest things are the most critical. One I try to bear in mind is good hydration. Probably 1/4 of the time when I review someone’s lab tests I’ll see various signs of short or long term dehydration. It’s a big deal and the crazy thing is those who need it the most often do not feel thirsty.
Water Facts and Fallacies:
#1- Fallacy: Your body is 70% water just like the surface of the earth.
Fact: According to Guyton’s Physiology, the standard medical text for how the body’s functions work, we start out as infants in the low 60% range but get to the low 40% range as we age. Most adults are around half. You know how we get shorter with age? That is primarily loss of intervertebral disc space in our spines from dehydration.
Tip: Urine color is the simplest indicator of hydration. Here’s a good picture of urine colors, 1-3 represent good hydration, higher numbers mean you’re dried out. If your computer screen gets wet while doing this test, don’t blame me!
#2 – Fallacy: Distilled water leaches minerals out of your body.
Fact: You can absorb minerals from water but water enters your body from your small intestines and leaves through your kidneys and stools. It has no means of taking anything out that you already had.
Tip: Purified water is best for day to day use. I recommend home reverse osmosis systems for the simplest, most economical way to get pure drinking water. Be sure filters are changed at least twice each year or per schedule. Our family has rented a unit from Arizona Water Rentals for well over a decade, the rental cost is about the same as annual filter costs and they do all the work. Filters are a little better but don’t take out pesticides and solvents.
#3 – Fallacy: When you’re exercising you should avoid cold water since your body can’t absorb it.
Fact: Here’s a case where you can trust your instinct. Which would you drink first on a hot day? The absorption rate is the same regardless of the temperature. And drinking cold water lowers your core body temperature which improves your performance and heat tolerance.
#4 – Fallacy: Spring water comes from high mountain springs.
Fact: Unless it says “purified by distillation” or “reverse osmosis”, it is tap water with a picture of a mountain. Do you buy bottle water? Take the time to watch ‘Tapped‘. Bottle water is a disaster for your health since it is unregulated and full of toxic plastic by products, and it is a source of huge amounts of pollution and carbon.
Tip: Drink your water from glass or stainless steel containers. Avoid plastic. Trace amounts of plastic residue have been shown to promote breast and prostate cancer, cause thyroid disease and disrupt male and female fertility.
#5 – Fallacy: If you drink when you’re thirsty, you’ll get enough water.
Fact: Your thirst is unfortunately a poor indicator of hydration. If you lose as little as 3% of your body’s fluids your thirst can become unreliable. Look at your urine color and plan to consume 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. This is 3-5 quarts for most of us.
#6 – Fallacy: You get lots of fluid from coffee, tea, juice, soda, etc.
Fact: Caffeine is a diuretic, you pee out more than you get. Sugar makes fluid absorb poorly. If you’re still drinking soda I don’t know what to say, but I’ll still try to help :)
Tip: You can help your water intake by consuming herbal teas and soups.
Tip: Most who are well hydrated need to urinate at least every few hours. I’ve known about a dozen people who bragged about their ability to thrive in Arizona on little water intake and how they urinate only once or twice a day. All but one went on to have massive kidney stones. The other, I hope I’m wrong, but I think he’s next.
# 7 – Fallacy: When you run, bike, hike in the heat, you need to consume as much water as you can.
Fact: Here’s a tricky one. We can lose water at an amazing rate when we’re out sweating in the heat. Unfortunately we can’t absorb it as quickly. If we take it in too fast, it stays in our intestines. This can case us to get cramps, diarrhea and dangerously low sodium levels. No matter how hard we sweat, we can absorb no more than 22-28 ounces per hour. Do not go under or over this when out in the heat. If you’re active for more than an hour you’ll need electrolytes with this, that’s another topic. Easiest solution is Endurolytes caps or powder by Hammer Nutrition. We stock it and so do REI and most bicycle shops.
Tip: Don’t use tap water for cooking or making coffee or tea. Use purified water.
Tip: Run your water for 10 seconds before showering; most wastes concentrate in your water lines when they sit overnight.