PCG members: In addition to PCG Signposts, sign-up for the members-only Friday Philadelphian weekly email newsletter! Click here or email news@pcog.org
Drink Water, Enjoy the Results
If things suddenly get really bad for you, you could survive for a month or so without eating food. But without drinking water, you’ll last only about a week.

Look around. You live in a world largely made of hard things: metal, plastic, glass, wood, concrete. But do you realize that the eyes that observe it, the skin that touches it, the brain that considers it, and the rest of your body is actually made mostly of water?

About 65 percent of the chemical composition of an adult human body consists of dihydrogen oxide: water. The life-giving blood that pumps through your body consists of 92 percent water. Your brain and your muscles are made of 75 percent water. And even your bones are 22 percent H20.

If things suddenly get really bad for you, you could survive for a month or so without eating food. But without drinking water, you’ll last only about a week.

Why Water?

Water is in every cell of your body. This universal solvent regulates all of your body’s fundamental processes: it regulates body temperature, protects your eyes, delivers oxygen to your muscles, balances PH and electrolytes, lubricates joints, reacts with natural chemicals, transports solutes and much more.

One of the absolute easiest ways to give your body what it needs is to reach for a glass of water!

Fun Fact:

The average human will consume about 16,000 gallons of water in his or her lifetime. That would fill more than 450 bathtubs.

Detrimental Dehydration

Did you know that most people are in a state of chronic dehydration? The majority of us simply doesn’t drink enough water—and that likely includes you! A recent Harvard University study shows that the majority of American children are dehydrated.

Being even 1 percent dehydrated can affect your body significantly. Your body adjusts to this deprivation, but when you only drink a cup or two of water per day, your body (and you!) are missing out on good health. And when your health struggles, you struggle.

You might be surprised to learn that thirst is actually the last outward sign of dehydration. By the time you actually feel thirsty, your body has already suffered the effects of dehydration!

Some symptoms of dehydration:

  • Fatigue. Lack of water is the number one cause of daytime fatigue.
  • Aggravated asthma and allergies. Both are indicators of increased histamine response. Histamine-related effects can benefit from increased water intake.
  • Constipation and Colitis (inflammation of the colon). If you are dehydrated, your body will even resort to taking water out of your stool if necessary.
  • Arthritis. Water acts as a necessary lubricant between joints. Less water means more friction.
  • Lower back pain. Between each vertebra of your spine is a little disk that acts as a shock absorber. These disks are bathed in spinal fluids, which need water.
  • Headaches. Proper hydration will reduce the amount of pounding headaches you suffer from.
  • Poor circulation. Hydration increases your blood volume and healthy circulation.

Two Handy Rules of Thumb

How much water should you be drinking? The commonly used formula is to take your body weight and divide it by two. That’s the number of ounces you should consume daily. (Don’t count other drinks like coffee and soda toward this total.) That seems like a lot! But don’t worry over having to make more frequent trips to the restroom at first. Once you consistently drink a proper amount of water for two to three weeks, your body will respond to the increased volume, and you’ll only need to go with the normal, healthy frequency (every two to four hours).

When you do consume alcohol or coffee, aim for a one-to-one ratio: For every latte or bottle of beer, etc., drink at least one glass of water to offset the diuretic effects.

Which Water?

God created water with minerals. Nowhere in nature can you find water without minerals. These minerals not only nourish the body, they actually help your body properly absorb the water itself. If you consume mineral-less water, your body still needs those minerals that God created to be in water. So in order to properly use mineral-less water, the body takes those needed minerals from your skin, organs and bones. Water from clean streams, rivers and lakes was created to give life. Water that has been messed with by man has been compromised. And sadly, drinking the wrong kind of water can actually deplete the body’s mineral reserves! Here is a look at common types of water to help us be more educated in our healthful endeavors.

Tap Water

Can vary in quality. Usually this is from municipal “city water” treatment systems, which means (very simply) that water is collected from rivers, streams and lakes, cleaned, treated with numerous chemicals, stored and distributed. Fluoride and chlorine are the most well known chemicals added—both of which are harmful to the body in a multitude of ways. But it also has many of the natural minerals in the water as well.

Distilled Water

Usually municipal water is boiled, and the evaporation is then condensed into another container. Although this may sound like a good method of purification, there are some drawbacks. A lot of the contaminants originally present in the water (such as metals) have much higher boiling points than water and therefore are “removed,” but there are many volatile organic compounds that have boiling points below that of pure water. This means that when the water is heated, some these contaminants are boiled off first and condensed with the evaporated water. Thus, distilled water is not only completely void of minerals, and therefore the most depleting of the body’s mineral reserves, it can actually contain a condensed amount of contaminants. It is probably the worst form of water to consume, especially on a long-term basis.

Filtered Water

Municipal tap water is run through carbon filters. The degree of contaminants and minerals removed depends on the filter (and when you buy filters, they should tell you what they remove and about how much they remove). Usually this filtration process isn’t very thorough. Much of the time it’s essentially tap water without chlorine. And chlorine is something to avoid, so in this case, this is a better choice than straight tap water.

Purified Water

Any form of water that has been treated in order to remove all impurities, or at least reduce them to extremely low levels. This is commonly confused with filtered water. It is often processed like filtered water, but then is taken through additional purification processes, such as reverse osmosis, distillation or deionization. While this type of water is of the highest purity, it is not nutrient-rich. Though it is generally preferable to tap water because it is void of contaminants (such as chlorine and fluoride), its lack of minerals can present a problem if consumed long term. Therefore, this choice would be better if natural minerals were added (as will be explained below) to liken it to water’s natural form as much as possible.

Fresh Water

Whether bottled or gurgling up in your back yard (unlikely, unfortunately), mineral-rich, clear, clean water from a spring, river, lake or well is the best source of water. If you have to buy water, the best type to buy is spring water bottled at the source. (However, keep in mind, always drinking from plastic bottled water is not ideal because of the leaching of chemicals from the plastic.)

Supplementation of minerals

Since we so often have to drink water that is compromised and lacking in minerals, supplementing your water by adding lemon or lime, or a bit of sea salt can be very helpful in re-mineralizing depleted water, to bring it back to at least close to the way God created it. This can do wonders in providing your body with the nutrients it needs to properly absorb the H20, and build the body. Bone broths can also be very beneficial in making up for our lack of minerals. Because of poor agricultural practices and food manufacturing, most of us can use any extra minerals we can get. If you want to make your water intake count, then try to find a mineral supplement that works for you.

Drink up! Every part of your body will thank you!