Suffice it to say, because our body consists of roughly 75% water (with the brain being 85%), the element is incredibly important for the body’s function . . . and survival. Dr. F. Batmanghelidj illustrates this point well in his book, “Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life”.
Listed below is a general synopsis of the specific health benefits derived from water, as researched and discussed by Batmanghelidj. Sure, you’ve always known that staying hydrated was important. Hopefully this list gives you a greater appreciation of the “why” it’s important . . . as well as a bit of motivation to keep the pure water flowing! J
WATER . . .
- Provides energy. Water — not carbohydrates, protein or fat — is the MAIN source of energy for the body. Furthermore, without water we can’t effectively digest the food we eat (p.61).
- Enables better sleep. Ample hydration maintains consistent melatonin production . . . and accounts for the dehydration that takes place during sleep via the lungs (p. 65).
- Detoxifies the body. Think of it in terms of flushing out the system . . . providing an eternal rinse to help remove all that’s unwanted (or in excess) in the body (p. 33).
- Reduces/eliminates asthma and allergies. Water is a natural antihistamine. (As is salt, by the way!) (pp. 72-77).
- Reduces pain – whether it be low back pain, joints pain, gut aches, headache . . . Among other things, dehydration contributes to increased acidity in the body and this acidity contributes to sensitive nerves and increased pain sensitivity (p. 126).
- Prevents heartburn and indigestion. Being fully hydrated enables the digestion process to occur efficiently, with consistent flow. Efficient digestion eradicates heartburn and indigestion (p.130).
- Prevents hypertension. When dehydrated, one way the body responds is constriction of the blood vessels and salt retention to direct water where it needs to go. Reverse the process by drinking water and making sure sea salt is a part of your diet (pp. 94-104).
- Prevents high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a critical component in cell membrane construction and in hormone production. It is also hypothesized that cholesterol protects the body in times of chronic dehydration by lining the blood vessels to regulate water flow. In other words, “high cholesterol is a sign that the cells of the body have developed a defense mechanism against the strong osmotic forces of the blood” (p. 206) . . . and the means to lower the cholesterol come with the consistent presence of water.
- Prevents depression (anxiety, irritability and impatience). The amino acids Tryptophan (used to make serotonin, melatonin, tryptamine and indolamine) and Tyrosine (used to make adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine) are critical for the management of brain and body function — including sleep, mood quality and energy capabilities. In states of dehydration, these essential amino acids are less available to make the aforementioned neurotransmitters because they’re called upon to help detoxify the body in water’s absence (p. 63).
- Enables fat loss. An argument is made that drinking water will actually regulate your eating habits, if for no other reason than “thirst pangs” and “hunger pangs” are typically sensed as one and the same thing. In other words, feeling hungry may simply be a call for water . . . and drinking water before, or in lieu of, eating may reduce your feelings/needs for food. (Note that water is even more efficient at generating energy than food.) Beyond this, water stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in adrenaline secretion . . . and the activation of fat-burning enzymes (which are sensitive to hormones of the adrenaline family)(p. 162).
- Prevents constipation. Constipation is actually one of the first signs of dehydration as the intestines do all they can to get water from your bowels. They constrict, move more slowly, and squeeze all they can from the fecal material, making it hard to pass (p.118).
- Prevents osteoporosis. Dr. Batmanghelidj suggests that chronic overproduction of histamine due to dehydration chronically activates Prostaglandin E, which is one of the main factors in bone tissue breakdown. As we age, if the rate of bone formation decreases relative to bone tissue breakdown, osteoporosis could result (p. 217).
- Prevents chronic disease and mental/neurological disorders. Hey, the body is 75% water . . . and the brain is 85%. Making sure it’s “swimming” in its intended environment will go a long way toward the effective/efficient function of all cells, tissues and systems (pp. 110-123).
- Prevents cancer. Among other things, water can help prevent cancer by simply being present to improve circulation to all cells of the body. Circulation delivers oxygen to cells . . . and cancer cells typically only survive in an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment. Furthermore, proper hydration keeps the immune system from being suppressed, rendering it capable of finding and destroying mutated cells (pp 218-224).
Batmanghelidj, F. (2003). Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life. New York, NY: Grand Central Life & Style.