Health BlogStaley Sednaoui is a Princeton-based certified nutritional counselor. She helps her clients discover better nutrition; and focuses her practice on the psychology of eating in general and emotional eating in particular.
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A few weeks ago it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t been drinking very much water during these long, cold winter weeks. Hmmm, maybe that’s why I had been waking up in the morning with a dry mouth and a slight headache. This revelation led me to remember an interesting book I had previously read about the importance of drinking adequate amounts of water. Your Body's Many Cries for Water by F. Batmanghelidj, MD is a fascinating read and reveals how many of our common health problems can be solved by drink more water.
Dr Batmanghelidj, an American citizen, was born in Iran, educated in England and had his medical training and early practice in London. He was practicing medicine in Iran, however, when the revolution broke out in 1979 and he was imprisoned in the infamous Evin Prison and slated to be executed. In prison, many inmates had serious physical ailments and Dr Batmanghelidj was asked to help. Having no medical bag, no medicines, and no diagnostic tools, he was helpless to do much, but he began to prescribe two glasses of water for the prisoners with ulcer problems. Within ten minutes or so, these patients had relief from their pain and Dr Batmanghelidj told them to drink 2 glasses of water every three hours. Without any medicines these patients became free from the pain and discomforts of ulcers. During the thirty-one months Dr Batmanghelidj was imprisoned he treated more than three thousand people with water alone. He did extensive research during his prison stay about the effects of water on common degenerative illnesses and wrote about his findings. This report was smuggled out of Iran and ended up as an article in a medical journal as well as in the New York Times science section in June 1983.
Dr Batmanghelidj believed that the following traditional assumptions of the medical establishment were wrong: 1) a dry mouth signals the body’s need for water, 2) water has no chemical properties, 3) the human body is able to regulate water throughout life, and 4) any fluid will replace water. He believed that by the time we have a dry mouth, we are already dehydrated. He believed that water is a main energizer in the body, creating hydroelectric energy at the cellular level. He believed that as we age, we lose our ability to gauge our need for water. Also, he believed that our society’s huge intake of coffee, tea, and soda only amplifies the problem, as caffeine is a dehydrating agent, stressing the brain and the kidneys.
Dr. Batmanghelidj thought that the body manifests dehydration in many, many ways from fatigue to anxiety to depression to morning sickness to allergies, asthma, high cholesterol and hypertension. He believed that the pain of ulcers, heartburn, migraines, colitis, and joints was the body’s emergency call for water. He believed the major complications from dehydration resulted in diseases like MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even some forms of cancer. He contended that the medical establishment continues to treat illness with medication rather than water. He prescribes giving water a chance: you may be thirsty, not sick!
Begin by realizing that the body has no water reservoir, so water must be consumed throughout the day.
Drink roughly half your body weight in ounces of water a day. (A 140-lb person should drink 70 oz of water a day.) A simple way to accomplish this is to drink 2-3 glasses as soon as you wake up when the body is most dehydrated from sleep. Then drink 2 glasses of water ½ hour before lunch and drink 2-3 glasses a few hours after a meal. Another glass towards the end of the evening and you should be close to the right amount.
Dr Batmanghelidj believed the balance of salt and water in the body was very, very important. He recommended adding ¼ tsp of unrefined sea salt to each quart of water we drink. (However, be sure to check with your doctor to make sure your sodium levels are normal and you are not prone to high blood pressure before adding additional salt to your diet, especially if you eat a lot of processed and restaurant foods which are sodium heavy.)
Try adding a little coconut water to your glass or bottle of water. It has 15 times the electrolytes of sports drinks, is low in calories, and has the potassium of two bananas per 8 ounces.
Try adding some Vitamin C to your water. 1,000 mg in a packet of Emergen-C or use unflavored, uncolored powdered vitamin C.
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