Establishing the habit of drinking plenty of water is one of the simplest things you can do to benefit your health. Dehydration is THE CAUSE of many ailments, and a major contributing factor in many more. If you have any of the following health problems, drinking more water will be an important part of your healing:
- Chapped lips
- Dry skin
- Pains in joints and muscles
- Lower back pain
- Heart burn
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Dark-colored urine
Guidelines generally say that each day a person should drink ½ ounce per pound of weight. This is just a starting point. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, add water until your urine becomes a pale color and you urinate frequently. Exercise, temperature, altitude, health conditions, medications, liquids in the foods eaten, pregnancies, and breast feeding all affect the amount of liquids needed. Check with your doctor for recommendations.
While there are many drink options out there, water is clearly the best choice, especially considering the negative health effects of carbonated and artificially flavored beverages. The addition of herbal teas or other supplements such as apple cider vinegar or baking soda can be healthful, too, depending on overall health goals and the acidity of the body.
Here are some tips for switching to just plain old water and for increasing liquid intake:
- Add just a small amount of fruit juice to the water. Cut down on the amount each day until you no longer add it.
- Drink your favorite herbal teas
- Add a slice of lemon or lime to the water
- Drink it in your favorite, most attractive container, with ice clinking in it.
- Drink some before and after each meal.
- Drink a glass first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
If water consumption is so important to good health, you may be wondering what risks there could possibly be in drinking it. The answer to that question relates directly to what kind of toxins might be lurking in your water. Water safety has been and will continue to be a dilemma throughout the world. Most municipal water in the U.S. is treated with chlorine and fluoride. Health officials will report that the amount of chlorine present is not harmful to the body. They are mistaken. The very smallest amounts of chlorine can bind with substances in the body to create carcinogenic substances. Over time, the chlorine in your water supply may cause cancer (this is true if you shower or bathe in it, too. The chlorine is absorbed by the skin). Fluoride, while important to our bodies in trace amounts, poses a serious threat when we get too much of it. Pesticides, other chemicals and heavy metals may also be in your municipal water supply.
What about bottled water? Bottled water is just as risky as tap water. Many bottled water tests positive for a wide array of contaminants such as pesticides, fertilizer, and bacteria. Nearly 50% of bottled water brands come directly from a municipal water supply. Typically, water labeled “artesian,” “spring,” or “mineral” water is the exception. The safety of the plastic bottle itself has come under scrutiny recently as well. The bottom line is that bottled water is costly, creates waste, and is no better for you than tap water. Rather than buying bottled water, buy a good filter for your home tap and fight for safer, healthier municipal water.
In many areas well water may be the healthiest option. It has naturally occurring minerals, and it is neither chlorinated nor fluoridated. It is important to have it tested, however, as some well water tests high for naturally occurring contaminants such as heavy metals, bacteria, radioactive elements, radon, nitrates and nitrites. Human causes of pollution, such as pesticides, can contaminate ground water for decades or longer, whether the well is deep or shallow. The EPA recommends having your well tested each year. Know your well. Use your own judgment for your locale. Know what types of activities could have an effect on it.
If your water is less than desirable, consider one of the following options for making it safer:
- An inexpensive carbon filter will remove many contaminants.
- A reverse osmosis filter is one of the best options. It removes chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, bacteria, and viruses.
- If a reverse osmosis filter is not an option, leaving water in an open container overnight will allow the chlorine to evaporate.
- Boiling it (make herbal tea!) will increase the safety of the water.
- Don’t worry! If this sounds like a gloom and doom article, then read on.
The body has an amazing ability to eliminate toxins. If it’s in optimal running condition, while not favorable, it can handle a few toxins in the water. By maintaining optimum natural health, carcinogenic substances and other toxins will be safely eliminated and the body will be a poor environment for growing cancer. So, raise your glass to good health–often, and naturally!