Proper Hydration

The most commonly deficient nutrient in America is water. Without adequate water intake, the body cannot efficiently rid itself of toxins, and the connective tissue tends to become like a dirty sponge that never gets wrung out.

The 3P rule is useful. Drink 3 pints of water before 3PM in order to properly hydrate. The body flushes the connective tissue mostly in the earlier part of the day. After 3 PM, drink fluids according to your thirst. This is the minimum baseline amount of water. Increase this amount if you are in a dry climate, or heavily active and sweating a lot.

Many patients find it convenient to drink two glasses of water upon awakening, followed by sipping on a glass over each hour. Drinking with meals is acceptable, especially when taking remedies and supplements, and will not dilute your digestive juices. This is an old myth. If in doubt, think about the comforting aspects of eating soup!

Other fluids can be used for hydration, but they do not work as effectively as water. Drinking teas will add fluids, just don’t depend on tea consumption to give adequate hydration.

The best kind of water is natural spring water assuming it is not contaminated with bacteria, parasites, or toxic metals. Tap water should at least be filtered with carbon to remove chlorine before drinking it. Even better is a combination carbon and reverse osmosis filter. It is wise to have your water tested by a reputable lab or the state extension agent in your area. Many water filtration companies provide this service, and will base the filter on specific needs reported in the test. If you are living in a mountainous area, it is extra important to test your water for radon and radioactive substances, such as uranium. Mitigation of toxicity is more complicated than simply removing chlorine and fluorine or particulates. If you have high sediment, it can support the health of your plumbing, as well as your body, to have a “whole-house” filter installed at your home’s water point of entry. This will clean the shower and toothbrush areas of the bathroom and make houseplants a lot happier.

We do not recommend distilled water for drinking, as it causes congestion in the terrain. Some researchers believe that distilled water cannot cross a cell membrane, and will create cellular dehydration while the extracellular fluids are in excess. Others believe it will pull minerals from the tissue and blood, and eventually excrete these nutrients through the urinary pathways. We do not believe either of these statements are true, but regardless of the mechanisms involved, we do know that distilled water is perfectly wonderful for your iron, and should be avoided for your body.

Buying bottled water can be challenging. In soft, translucent plastic containers, water can pick up toxic organic solvents in trace amounts from the plastic itself. These toxins may be a more significant health risk than the tap water you paying to replace. Avoid soft plastic at all costs. Other bottled waters are packaged in harder, clear plastic bottles and do not have toxic solvents, but are not necessarily clean. Just because water is labeled “natural” or “pure” does not mean it is filtered or from a clean spring. Keep in mind that mineral water, and other carbonated beverages, do not count as water for hydration!

We hope this simplified overview of healthy eating principles helps to eliminate confusion and support you in your journey towards optimal health!

References:

Adapted from lecture notes from Rain and Gary Klepper (2006)