As Dr. F. Batmanghelidj MD outlines in his book, “Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty!” the health benefits of water extend to every system of the body. He reminds readers that an initial protocol when any patient is hospitalized is to hydrate them intravenously with a saline solution. The following a broad overview of the ways that water benefits wellness, as Dr. Batmanghelidj points out.
Mental and Emotional Wellness
Hydration helps relieve depression by replenishing the neurotransmitter serotonin. The brain, comprised of 85% water, requires more water to imprint new information. Water helps with memory, focus, and concentration, and reduces symptoms of ADD/ADHD. The production of melatonin, the body’s sleep regulator, requires hydration; water consumption helps promote regular, healthy, restful sleep. Additionally, water increases our energy levels by literally generating an electromagnetic charge in our cells.
Protection from Disease
Even a 1% decrease in the hydration of the brain can damage blood vessels and cause plaque and bleeding, which is responsible for Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. By normalizing the blood, water can even help treat and prevent leukemia, lymphoma, and other forms of cancer.
Dehydration can cause or exacerbate back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and other joint pain. Hydration lubricates the cartilage that cushions joints and the tendons and ligaments that hold them together, making for greater mobility, flexibility, and comfort.
Hydration keeps blood vessels clean and clear, helping lower cholesterol. This reduces risk of heart disease and stroke. Water can also lower high blood pressure.
The skin needs moisture to perspire, one of the primary processes by which the body releases toxins. Skin experiencing dehydration holds on to what water it has left, halting the essential process of perspiration. This dries and withers skin, leading to wrinkles and other signs of early aging. In cases of extreme dehydration, the skin is at risk of scleroderma.
Dr. Sang Whang, in his book “Reverse Aging,” asserts that aging mostly results from a build-up of waste in the body. Water helps flush that waste from the system. It helps detoxify the liver and kidneys, cleanse the bloodstream, facilitate good digestive function, promote lymphatic wellness, and regulate the body’s pH balance. These processes combined help stave off early aging and keep the body looking and feeling young.
Water is a necessary component for the proper functioning of the metabolism, the process by which the body breaks down proteins and carbohydrates into energy, rather than storing it as fat. Even bodies overweight from retaining liquid may benefit from drinking more water, as retention is a biological process spurred by dehydration. Water is also instrumental for healthy digestion, as it circulates enzymes through food and helps nutrients absorb into the bloodstream. Water consumption naturally reduces appetite, as a hydrated body is more nourished by the food it eats and craves less. The National Institute of Health advises parents of overweight children to replace sodas and other sweetened beverages in their child’s diet with water.
When you wash your wounds, they heal faster and won’t get infected.
How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?
Water is the “principal chemical component” of the body, comprising about 60% of our bodies’ weight. Folk wisdom advises that a person should drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day. While this advice is not espoused by any particular medical or scientific body, the Institute of Medicine in Canada notes that women drink a daily average of nine cups of water, and that men drink thirteen.