Water, Water Everywhere?

It’s summer, officially, and just in time for the heat wave. I heard on the radio today that it’s going to hit 120 degrees today in some parts of the southwest! Even in northern Colorado, where it”s usually fairly mild weather, it’s been around 100 degrees for the last few afternoons. For those of you who use Celsius, that’s nearly 38 degrees. I used to live in the mid-west, and it’s very different there, because it is humid. Here, it’s dry. Scary dry. There are fires. 

dry ground near my home

dry ground near my home

One thing all this means for us is that water is pretty important. I’ve seen several articles over the last few years saying that water consumption is over-rated, or that you don’t really need as much as popular opinion would suggest. The reality is that most of the folks who come to see me as a health coach are not drinking enough. How do we know? They actually measure their water intake for several days at the start of my program.

Master herbalist Julie Formby says that we should all be drinking about half our body weight (pounds) in ounces each day. So, a person who weighs 120 pounds should be drinking at least 60 ounces of water per day. Most of our clients come in way under that amount, and their urine & saliva analysis shows it. According to Julie, adequate hydration is “the cheapest & easiest health practice for slowing down the aging process.” That’s a pretty compelling incentive!

Here’s another good reason to drink plenty of water: numerous studies I’ve read report that it’s common for people to lose 10 pounds or more, effortlessly, when they replace their various beverages with water.

Straight up from a jelly jar, plain water is the best!

Straight up from a jelly jar, plain water is the best!

Obviously, soda is loaded with sugar, and also sodium, which make you thirstier, ultimately. But even healthier sounding beverages can have lots of carbohydrate. The sugar in fruit juice is natural, but it’s still sugar that has to be processed by your liver, resulting in increased insulin being released into the bloodstream. (Insulin is known as the “fat storing hormone.”) Excess weight, especially around your middle, is a risk factor for the top killer diseases. So, if you normally drink anything sweet, you’d be indirectly lowering your risk for diabetes and heart disease, among others, just by switching to water.

All of our cells and tissues need water, all the time. Babies’ bodies are about 90% water, while average adult’s body is about 75% water. Julie Formby reports that many people’s bodies are only about 50% water at the ends of their lives! (Do you see the connection between dehydration and aging? I found it pretty amazing.)

waterfall, photographed by Lee Freeman

waterfall, photographed by Lee Freeman

There’s so much information and debate over this topic; yet here in Colorado it’s really pretty simple. If we don’t drink enough we have things like headaches and kidney stones. In summer, hikers, bikers,and all those who play outdoors put their lives in jeopardy if they fail to carry & drink enough. The more active you are, and the more you’re out in the heat, the more you need. You also need more water if you’re a larger person. That said, it is possible to drink too much water; that’s just not the issue for most of the folks I see.

It’s also important to consider the quality of your water. However, that’s a big enough discussion for a future post, so I’m not going there for now.

For more information, check out Julie Formby’s blog by clicking here and scrolling down about 3 or 4 posts. You can also take a look at Joshua Rosenthal’s book,Nutrition, Integrative Nutrition and another book called Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, by Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj.


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