When I ran detox groups, the first week was largely spent looking at the issue of hydration, from the quantity and quality of the water we drink to the things in our life that dehydrate us. There is much controversy around the subject of hydration; devotees finding that they feel and look better from drinking around two litres of fresh water daily, critics claiming it makes no difference. But, without exception, those on my courses who gradually increased their intake of water felt much better than those who didn’t. So the following is an edited extract from the-book-that-never-was, complete with quotes from detox group attendees and the book review panel. I hope that you find it useful!
“My mum said how much brighter my skin and eyes look!” Kirsty C.
Those on my courses have often been surprised at how increasing their water intake and decreasing dehydrating factors in their lives have made such a difference. Over the next few weeks I’d love for you to experiment for yourself! Not by gulping down loads today and tomorrow; that approach will only confuse your body, ensure you spend a couple of days needing the loo all the time and have no positive effects whatsoever. But by having an extra glass a day for a week, and then maybe another glass a day the week after you’ll be on your way to better health in the easiest way imaginable!
Why should we drink water?
- Around 70% of our body consists of water. The average adult body contains about 40 litres (70 pints) of water.
- Almost every bodily function utilises water (including metabolism, circulation, digestion, and detoxification).
- The body cannot process vitamins and minerals, or indeed any nutrients without the presence of water. At best it is a waste of money to take any supplement if it is not washed down with water. At worst your body will have to use up precious supplies to carry out the job of processing a tablet, therefore becoming more dehydrated.
- All healing therapies require the body to be hydrated whether they are structural (chiropractic), muscular (massage), bio-chemical (herbal, nutritive) or energetic (reiki, homeopathy).
- Early signs of dehydration may include headaches, dizziness, sluggishness, fatigue, sugar cravings, caffeine cravings, dull, oily or dry skin, constipation, fluid retention.
- Later signs of dehydration will be indicated in depression, high blood pressure, excess body weight, IBS, allergies etc
- Chronic (long term) signs of dehydration show up in each and every type of disease.
“I really enjoy my water now! And feel better for it!” Ellis B.
Convinced yet? I don’t mind if you aren’t right now, I’m pretty confident you will be within a couple of weeks! Let’s go through some of the early signs of dehydration again:
Headaches, Dizziness, Sluggishness, Fatigue, Sugar cravings, Caffeine cravings, Dull, oily or dry skin; Constipation, Fluid retention
Are any of these familiar to you? Do you put up with them uncomplainingly? Do you give in to liver-stressing medication to cover the symptoms up? Do you moan to your friends and family about them? Did you know that by just drinking a steady 1 ½ litres of fresh water every single day you can make a significant difference?
“My headaches, mood and energy vastly improved as a result of the increased water intake” Avril C.
The current advice often quoted, to drink 8 glasses daily isn’t very helpful. My glasses at home range from 150mls to 500mls, meaning that my 8 glasses could mean anywhere from 1.2 litres to 4 litres. So you’ll need to measure how much water your glasses hold before you can work out your average. From there, and if you need to, you can gradually build up your intake over the next few weeks.
Spread your intake out over the day. It’s no good drinking a pint of water in the morning and then forgetting about it for the rest of the day. Also, please avoid drinking more than a litre within the space of an hour as your electrolyte (salt) balance could become significantly disturbed, with potentially life-threatening consequences.
“I’ve stopped drinking coffee first thing in the morning. I have hot water with lemon in now and I really like it!” Sylvia
How much should everyone aim for?
This depends on so many things: our size, our activity levels, the climate we live in, the temperature and certain environmental factors such as central heating. However, as a general rule of thumb, a minimum of 1.5 litres (3 pints) daily is probably worth aiming for. During a detox I advise that most people drink around 2 litres (4 pints). If you are also exercising or sun-bathing you’d probably want to up this to at least 2.5 litres (5 pints). Personally, I drink between 2 and 3 litres of water every day. Think of detoxing like cleaning, you can’t clean your house thoroughly without clean water. And you can’t clean your internal environment without it either.
“Straws! Makes it quicker to drink.” Kat H.
When should you drink water?
- First thing in the morning.
- About an hour before each meal.
- Before, during and after exercise.
- Whenever a headache threatens.
- Whenever you feel hungry, but suspect that that feeling isn’t actually justified.
- When you feel stressed or grumpy.
- Last thing at night – even if it’s just a small glass.
“Drink hot water as opposed to cold – much easier to drink lots of that!” Lindsay I.
I’ll witter on about hydration a bit more next week. For now, happy hydrating!