The Benefits and Potential Dangers Of Drinking Water
By Louise Belle BHSc Nut Med
Water. We bathe in it, we drink it, we water our plants and wash our clothes with it. Water is an essential part of life and we can’t survive without it for more than a few days. We all know that we are supposed to drink about 2 litres of water a day, but many of us either ignore or forget about it, failing to reach the mark on a daily basis. So, why is it so important to drink enough water?
One of the most common causes of constipation is dehydration. Water helps to keep things moving along the digestive track for removal. When your body is dehydrated it will absorb water from your stools, making them hard and difficult to pass.
Maintains healthy blood pressure
Picture a cake batter – when you don’t add enough water, it’s very thick and hard to stir. The same goes for your blood- when you don’t drink enough water your blood becomes viscous (thick) and your heart has to pump much harder to move the blood around, resulting in increased blood pressure.
Flushes out kidneys
Drinking at least 2 litres of water a day flushes out the kidneys and helps to prevent the formation of kidney stones. It also flushes out your urinary tract and helps to prevent urinary tract infections. Your urine should be a clear to light yellow colour – if its darker than this, you aren’t drinking enough water!
Imagine what would happen if we had no garbage trucks to collect rubbish – some will break down, but the rest will pile up. When you drink water, it acts as one of those garbage trucks, helping to flush out and remove toxins, heavy metals, excess cholesterol and waste products from your body. Your liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and digestive tract are all involved in filtering waste, and all require adequate water to do so.
Boost energy levels
Did you know that a common cause of low energy or fatigue is dehydration? Water makes up a large percentage of your cells, and when you are just 1% dehydrated, it can cause a large reduction in energy production. At this point, you may not even feel thirsty, but your cells are certainly wanting more water.
What happens to a grape when its left without water and is exposed to the sun? It turns into a dry, wrinkly sultana! Now imagine that grape is your skin – if you don’t nourish your body with water, your skin can become dry, flaky and lined with wrinkles. Drinking water hydrates your skin and reduces the occurrence of breakouts.
A great majority of the population drink water out of plastic bottles, but did you know that you could actually be drinking plastic along with it? A new study conducted on plastic water bottles from 9 different countries found that 90% of water was contaminated with microplastics – and you’re drinking them! These can get lodged in your gut and your lymphatic system, causing damage to your body and putting pressure on the liver. Plastics can cause endocrine disruption in the body, mimicking hormones and leading to hormonal imbalances. Whilst it may be convenient to drink plastic bottled water, it could be damaging your health! Switching over to reusable, stainless steel drink bottles is not only beneficial for the environment and your wallet, it will benefit your health in the long run!
Australian drinking water contains small amounts of chlorine and heavy metals such as lead, mercury, nickel, cadmium and fluoride. Whilst these may only be in small amounts, our bodies have trouble eliminating heavy metals and they can build up over time and contribute to many different symptoms. There is a lot of debate about the safety of fluoride in our water and some preliminary research suggest that it could be harmful to our brains. To minimise the risk of heavy metals building up in your body, drinking filtered water is the way to go. There are many good quality water filters on the market that will remove heavy metals, chlorine and impurities from your water.
Spice up your water!
- Throw in some fresh lemon, lime, orange, strawberries, mint or basil to your water for a flavour and vitamin C boost!
- Mix in some Gut Health powder to soothe, heal and support your gut.
- Sprinkle a tablespoon of chia seeds for a boost of omega 3, fibre and protein.
- Add a pinch of sea salt to better absorb water if you feel like it’s going straight through you.
- Mix in some Superfood powder for a nutrient and antioxidant boost!
- Diffuse some herbal tea such as chamomile, dandelion, lavender, rose, ginger or peppermint.
- Mix in some Tyrosine powder to reduce stress and boost motivation and concentration.
- Add a dash of apple cider vinegar and swig before your meals to aid digestion.
- Mix in some Magnesium powder and drink after a workout to reduce muscle cramps.
- Add a sprinkle of activated charcoal and drink it when you have a stomach bug.