After a heart attack at age 33, I became obsessive about health, and in particular, hydration and salt
(Have you ever noticed that when you’re admitted to hospital, even before they do any tests, they will hook an IV (drip) into your arm? This is because 95% of common ailments are caused by, or exacerbated by, chronic dehydration. Even without diagnosis, doctors know that the risks of accidentally having “too much water” are safe, whereas it is highly dangerous to not have enough water. There is no other medication, injection or treatment that a doctor would authorise without diagnostic tests, apart from adding salt water to your body.)
I used to drink 10 coffees a day to get me going (caffeine is a diuretic, which means I was drinking ten cups of water in, but probably peeing 12 cups out), and then I would drink 5-6 glasses of alcohol each night to calm me down (alcohol is also a diuretic, which can lead to chronic dehydration, plus issues with kidneys and liver).
Most doctors now recommend patients drink 2 litres (8 glasses) of water each day.
This is the MINIMUM recommendation to stop you from becoming sick; it is NOT the optimum amount to keep you well.
US Doctors recommend over 3 litres of water per day to “avoid dehydration”. Note it does not say the amount to “become adequately hydrated and super-healthy”, just up to 3.5l/day to become “not sick”.
I started drinking 4-6 litres of water each day (16-24 glasses of water a day), as this is a great way to detoxify the body, remove buildup of fatty residue, and flush out toxins such as artificial colours and flavours which are stored in the organs.
I have done water fasts (eating no food, just drinking water) for five days, eleven days, and up to 40 days in a row*, to radically improve my health.
*(CAVEAT: when drinking water for extended periods, it is important to keep up salt levels. This is why doctors will alternate IV drips with saline solution and glucose solution; our bodies are mostly salt water, after all. I recommend using pink Himalayan salt, as it is not just table salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl). Himalayan salt also contains potassium, manganese, magnesium, and 80+ other essential minerals.)
I recall seeing a study where they analysed the water content of different people: a baby at birth is almost 85% water, a younger child 75%. Teens to adolescents can drop to 60% and in older age and illness, the body can become a shrivelled prune, around 45-55% water.
Most of this damage is internal, and often the only sign you see of dehydration is heart attack, stroke, or sudden death (which will be medically attributed to the symptoms, not the root cause).
Drink More Water!!
But how do you drink 4-6 litres of water a day, won’t you be peeing all day long?
The bladder, like any muscle, can stretch and contract. Most people drink small amounts, pee small amounts and have small bladders that can hold possibly a cupful of urine. Over a period of 3-4 weeks, if you continue to drink 4-6 litres of water a day, your bladder will stretch, and become capable of holding up to a litre at a time. Yes, for the first week or two, you will need to urinate small amounts, ten times a day; but after that, you’ll only be taking bathroom breaks 3-4 times a day, with a more productive flow.
Health benefits include:
- weight loss, appetite control, detoxing the body, lighter coloured urine, less smelly urine and faeces.
- Less water retention, less buildup of artficial flavours, colours and other processed food toxins in the body.
- Shinier hair, more supple skin, less wrinkles. Lower incidence of cancer, heart attack, stroke, alzheimers and other diseases caused by blockages of veins, arteries and capillaries.
- Reduced need for aspirin or blood thinners, reduced need for paracetamol or painkillers.
- Greater ability to focus, concentrate on tasks, greater memory, faster thinking.
A quick test for dehydration: pinch the skin on the back of the hand. If you’re fully hydrated, the skin will bounce back into place immediately. If it takes half a second or longer, drink water!
How to build the new habit:
It’s hard to go from 0-100 km/hr in a car without getting whiplash, and it’s hard to go from drinking 1-2L/day to drinking 4-6L/day. Take a litre bottle of water to bed with you; anytime you wake in the night, take a sip and go back to sleep. Have 3 to 4x 750ml bottles of water, filled up and sitting on your desk as you work. Pace yourself, every few minutes as you’re distracted or looking away from a task, see the water and take a sip. See if you can finish an entire bottle before you take a bathroom break. Stretch the bladder, and over time, you’ll be able to finish two bottles before you need to go 🙂 When all bottles are empty, refill them and continue, drinking every time your’re distracted, unfocussed or interupted. Over time, you’ll be drinking faster, thinking faster and taking less breaks.
*again, remember that the body is composed of *salt* water, not just water. You lose salt every time you sweat or urinate, so you need to replenish the salt supply. Top up with sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, as often as you can. A half teaspoon of salt in 1.5 L of water is a good start, and up to a full teaspoon per bottle, if you don’t put sea salt on your foods.
** Many doctors reported years ago that “salt is bad for you” and the medical industry recommended a low sodium diet. This was due to the fact that most of the heart attack and stroke victims admitted to hospital showed high levels of sodium in their blood. I’m not saying that all of those doctors were wrong, just one-eyed. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that if you take most of the water out of a salt-water body, that the resulting body will be very salty… The “Dead Sea” is not toxic to life because it has too much salt, but because it has too little water!
Very few doctors now prescribe low-sodium diets, as this was incorrect diagnosis. However, as doctors are paid by pharmaceutical companies and not by water companies, they are far more likely to prescribe blood-thinning medication than daily drinks of water. Listen to your doctor’s advice, do your own research from unbiased sources, drink more water and, as grandma used to say, “take it with a grain of salt”.