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The Why’s and How’s of Water

Why drink water?

F. Batmanghelidj, M.D., author of WATER for Health, for Healing, for Life lists “Forty-six reasons why your body needs water every day” (p.32-35).  He has dedicated his life to the study of water and healing.  Here are a few of his reasons to drink water:

  1. Water gives us power and electrical energy for all brain functions, most particularly, thinking.
  2. Water is a better pick-me-up than any other beverage in the world—and it has no side effects.
  3. Water increases the efficiency of red blood cells in collecting oxygen in the lungs.
  4. Water helps prevent the loss of memory as we age.  It helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  5. Water is the main lubricant in the joint spaces and helps prevent arthritis and back pain.

Dehydration pulls water from the bones, contributing to osteoporosis and is the reason 37% of people in America are grossly overweight.  Water needs to be broken down first— hydrolyzed—before the body can use the various components in food.  “This is why we need to supply the body with water before we eat solid foods” (p. 39).

How much water should I drink?

There are different answers to that question, and some people think if they aren’t thirsty they should not drink water.  Consider this:

There was a study many years ago about age and thirst.  There were groups of teenagers, young adults, and older people.  They were all playing the same sport.  What the researchers learned was that the older we get, the less thirsty we are.  That made a big impression on me, because when I read that in my thirties I was already not drinking water except for the infrequent visit to the water fountain near my office.

How much water should I drink?

Dr. Greger, M.D., author of the first How Not to Die book, says five large (12-ounce) glasses/day, a total of sixty ounces.  For everyone? Athletes? Children?

Patrick Holford, the author of The New Optimum Nutrition Bible, says eight glasses are better for your kidneys.  He explains that exercise and diet make a difference in how much water your body produces and how much you should drink (Please see page 163 of his book).  Holford wrote,

The maximum intake from oral liquids should be that which kidneys can reasonably excrete in twenty-four hours, and in adults, this is around 2 quarts per day (2.45 to 2.7 fl. oz./5 pounds of body weight), according to research by S.M. Kleiner at the University of Washington, published in the Journal of the American Dietetics Association in 1999.

Holford goes on to say that more than eight glasses is worse because it taxes the kidneys.  Jon Barron, the author of Lessons from the Miracle Doctors disagrees.

Barron wrote,  “At the very minimum we lose (and must replace) approximately 2.5 quarts (liters) of water a day.  But that’s the minimum.  Ideally, in addition to any water in our food, we need to consume 64 to 96 ounces of pure water a day” (p.131).

But Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, M.D., the expert about all things water, wrote this:

Every twenty-four hours the body recycles the equivalent of forty thousand glasses of water to maintain its normal physiological functions.  It does this every day f its life.  Within this pattern of water metabolism and its recycling process, and depending on environmental conditions, the body becomes short of about six to ten glasses of water each day.  This deficit has to be supplied to the body every day.

If you think you are different and your body does not need this amount of water, you are making a major mistake.  The body uses up the equivalent of between six to eight glasses of its total body water for essential functions.  It needs an average upwards of half its weight in ounces of water per day—a minimum of eight to ten glasses.  

Water should be taken in eight- or sixteen- ounce portions spaced throughout the day.  In the same way you don’t let your car run out of gas before you fill the tank, the body must not be allowed to become dehydrated before you drink more (Chapter 12:  The Water Cure:  How Much and How Often?, Water for Health, for Healing, for Life, p.225-226).

How should I drink water?

According to Dr. Batmanghelidj:

  • Water should be drunk before meals.  The optimum time is thirty minutes before eating.  This prepares the digestive tract, particularly in people with gastritis, duodenitis, heartburn, peptic ulcer, colitis, or gas-producing indigestion.
  • Water should be taken anytime you are thirsty—even during meals.
  • Water should be taken two and a half hours after a meal to complete the process of digestion and correct the dehydration caused by food breakdown.
  • Water should be taken first thing in the morning to correct dehydration produced during long sleep.
  • Water should be taken before exercising to have it available for creating sweat.
  • Water should be taken by people who are constipated and don’t eat sufficient fruits and vegetables.  Two to three glasses of water first thing in the morning act as a most effective laxative (p.226).

Dr. Sinatra, M.D., who specializes in heart disease, says do this:

  • 2 glasses after waking up helps to activate organs
  • 1 glass ½ hour before a meal helps digestion.
  • 1 glass before bath helps to lower blood pressure.
  • 1 glass before bed avoids stroke or heart attack. (Sorry I don’t have the reference for Dr. Sinatra.  That information was sent to me by a friend twenty years ago.)

Finally, let me emphasize that anything in the water cancels that serving.  No powders, coffee, tea, or anything else.  Only pure WATER counts. 

How I drink water NOW:

1.  Because I have osteoporosis, I know that if I don’t drink half my body weight in ounces and get dehydrated, my body will take the water from my bones!  Say I weigh 140 pounds.  Half that would be 70 ounces of water a day, or seven 10-ounce glasses.

2.  I’m following Dr. Sinatra’s plan because it’s been on my fridge for years, and it works for me.

3.  I am considering adding drinking water two and a half hours after meals “to complete the process of digestion and correct the dehydration caused by food breakdown” (Batmanghelidj).

Till next time,

Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi

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