Why Water Is The Key To Detoxifing Your
Water is, quite literally, the river on which our
good health flows. Water carries nutrients to our
cells, aids digestion by forming stomach
secretions, flushes our bodies of wastes, and keeps
our kidneys healthy. It keeps our moisture-rich
organs (our skin, eyes, mouth, and nose)
functioning well, it lubricates and cushions our
joints, and it regulates our body temperature and
our metabolism, just to name a few of its many
Water also plays a crucial role in disease
prevention. In a study conducted at the Centre for
Human Nutrition at the University of Sheffield,
England, researchers concluded that women who stay
adequately hydrated reduce their risk of breast
cancer by 79 percent. Another study, done at the
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle,
found that women who drink more than five glasses
of water a day have a 45 percent reduced risk of
colon cancer compared with women who drink two or
fewer glasses of water a day.
Many doctors believe that proper hydration can
help prevent chronic joint diseases, such as
rheumatoid arthritis, because water reduces
inflammation and promotes cartilage health.
Adequate water consumption can also slow the
signs of aging and improve conditions such as
constipation, diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity,
arthritis, kidney stones, dry skin, wrinkles,
cataracts, and glaucoma.
H20: The Toxic Avenger
Without enough water flowing through our systems
to carry out wastes and toxins, we would literally
drown in our own poisonous metabolic wastes. I
don't mean to sound alarmist, but this is no
exaggeration. Even slight dehydration can wear down
our systems in ways that seriously compromise our
overall quality of life.
Just as the liver is crucial to the digestive
process, the kidneys are necessary for helping the
body remove water and waste. The kidneys are a pair
of small organs that are located near the spine at
the small of the back. They take in about 20
percent of the body's blood each time the heart
beats, cleans it of unwanted substances and then
produce urine, the fluid by which these wastes are
eliminated from the body. Normal-functioning
kidneys also control the concentration levels of
body fluids. If body fluids are too dilute, the
kidneys expel excess water via urine. If body
fluids are too concentrated, the kidneys excrete
the excess solutes and hang on to the water. In
short, the kidneys are all about balancing the
fluids and electrolytes in our bodies so that our
systems run smoothly.
If the kidneys don't get the water they need to
perform these filtering functions, our health
Electrolyte is the scientific term for a type of
salt made up of ions that are positively and
negatively charged. These are the "sparks" that
transfer electrical messages across cells, and this
activity is what makes our bodies function. Our
kidneys work to keep our electrolyte concentrations
steady, since they must be replaced constantly. If
they're not, dehydration can set in, which can lead
to organ damage and seizures. How can we be sure
that we're getting enough electrolytes? Do we need
to buy specially formulated, sugar-enhanced sports
drinks? Many sports physiologists actually
recommend water -- that's right, plain water --
over the fancy sports drinks that are marketed to
us. Experts have found that the difference in
electrolyte content between water and sports drinks
is important only to elite athletes who are
competing professionally in endurance events. Since
electrolytes are already plentiful in the American
diet, moderate to regular exercisers don't have to
worry about running out of these salty ions. Edible
sea vegetables, the most nutrient-dense foods on
the planet, are a great source of electrolytes as
well as of minerals and trace elements.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the
kidneys and bladder regulate the fluids in our
bodies and make up the Water Element. Our kidneys
are fantastic waste removers; they get rid of the
waste products from protein metabolism -- uric
acid, urea, and lactic acid -- but they need lots
of water to accomplish this.
Traditional Chinese Medicine reveres the kidneys
because they distribute qi, or vital life energy,
throughout the body. The kidneys are responsible
for removing excess hormones, vitamins, minerals,
and foreign toxins such as drugs, chemicals, and
How To Boost Your Water Intake
Here are the tips I share with my clients on how
to get enough water in their diets.
- Drink one to two glasses of water as soon as
you get up in the morning. You have been asleep
for 6 to 10 hours, and that's a long time to go
without any liquids. (This often helps people
overcome their addictions to caffeine, as
rehydrating the body and brain lead to clearer
thinking and better energy.)
- Keep a beautiful pitcher of filtered water
near your work space so that you are constantly
reminded to drink during the day. Fill up the
pitcher with the amount of water you want to
consume in the day.
- Drink a glass of water before exercise.
- During exercise, drink about 8 ounces of
fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.
- Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol, which
have a dehydrating effect.
- Never restrict the amount of water you crave
during regular exercise.
- Always make fluids a part of your exercise
- Bottles, bottles everywhere! Keep bottles of
water in your car, at the office, or around your
work areas. One client of mine bought a whole
case and kept it in the trunk of her car!
- To reduce the amount of chlorine in your
drinking water if you aren't using a filter, try
this simple tip: Allow drinking water to stand
at room temperature for an hour or more, which
will allow most of the chlorine to evaporate out
of the water.
- Drink at least one glass of room-temperature
water with every meal.
© 2005, Alex Jamieson
Source: Alex Jamieson is a
Holistic Health Counselor and Gourmet Natural Foods
Chef. She lives in Los Angeles and New York with
her fiancé, Morgan, and their cat, Sue.
Great American Detox Diet: 8 Weeks to Weight
Loss is her first book.
Permission granted by Rodale, Inc. www.healthychefalex.com
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