By MIKE CARAVAGGIO RHN
Adequate consumption of water is a vital component in maintaining optimal health. Healthy blood flow, elimination of toxins, and cellular health are all dependent on a healthy intake of water. Many diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis and colitis often begin from dehydration. The quality of the water is at least as important as the amount of water that you drink. Tap water can be loaded with chemicals and toxins, depending on the source. In addition to chlorine and fluoride, tap water can contain various levels of lead, mercury, arsenic, nitrates, radon, pesticides, and herbicides. Bottled water and well water, though typically better choices, can also vary greatly in their purity. One of the best options is reverse osmosis with a UV filter. Just be mindful to re-mineralize the water with a pinch of sea salt. This is important, since RO water has almost everything, including minerals removed, and it will leach minerals from your body if they are absent in the water.
The daily amount of water an individual requires is largely determined by their body mass, duration and intensity of exercise, ambient temperature, and individual body chemistry. Virtually everyone, however, may benefit by starting their day with a large glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice added. In addition to hydration, this will also gently boost your liver to start the day. It is also ideal to drink one or two glasses of water an hour before every meal. Drinking during or just after a meal can dilute digestive juices, hindering digestion and nutrient assimilation.
Those with an active lifestyle should be mindful to stay hydrated before, during and after intense exercise, especially intense exercise of a long duration, such as a marathon. It is not advised to “fluid load” by drinking a large quantity of water right before a marathon or triathlon, since the excess water will simply pass through the body, and likely will even slow you down. Instead, a moderate amount of extra water about 2 hours before the event, (3 glasses instead of 2) seems to be a good consensus. During the event, it is recommended to “drink according to your thirst”. Being slightly dehydrated during the event doesn’t harm you, and won’t affect performance. It is important, however, to rehydrate afterwards, as well as to replenish lost carbohydrates by consuming small amounts during the event. Eating 1 gram of carbohydrates for every kg. of body weight within 2 hours after the event is sufficient, and drinking a good quality sports drinks spaced out during the first 2 hours should help with recovery. With less rigorous activities it is important to stay hydrated before and after working out, while drinking according to your thirst during the workout. The basic pattern of eating within 2 hours of the workout is also a good idea.
By MIKE CARAVAGGIO RHN