One of the most important aspects of good health is optimal hydration. So understanding your own water requirements will help you achieve many health benefits, including increased energy and loss of excess body fat. Dehydration, in some cases, is linked to conditions such as asthma, allergies, depression, diabetes, obesity, high blood cholesterol and coronary heart disease, to name a few.

Benefits of water

Below are just some of the reasons your body needs water.  This list is taken from Dr F Batmanghelidj’s best-selling book, Water & Salt, Your Healers from Within. Water:

  • prevents DNA damage
  • greatly increases the efficiency of the immune system – including its efficiency against cancer
  • clears toxic waste from different parts of the body and takes it to the liver and kidneys for disposal
  • is the main lubricant in the joint spaces and helps prevent arthritis and back pain
  • is the best lubricating laxative and prevents constipation
  • helps to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes
  • prevents the clogging of arteries in the heart and the brain
  • it is essential for the body’s cooling (sweat) and heating (electrical) systems
  • is directly needed for the efficient manufacture of all neurotransmitters, including serotonin (our ‘feel good’ hormone)
  • it is directly needed for the production of all hormones made by the brain, including melatonin (our ‘sleep’ hormone)
  • helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression
  • restores normal sleep rhythms
  • decreases premenstrual pains and hot flushes
  • dehydration prevents sex hormone production – one of the primary causes of impotence and loss of libido

Water is also a natural thermogenic compound, helping to mobilize excess body fat.

Is tap water healthy?

Unfortunately, the quality of our current tap water is highly questionable. All municipal water has chlorine added to it in order to destroy potentially harmful pathogens.  Although in its pure form chlorine is harmless to the body, when it comes into contact with organic matter (such as is found in water), it becomes very toxic and is a known carcinogen.

This means that every time you ingest any kind of tap water (whether through your bath, shower or drinking water), you’re exposing yourself to a very dangerous substance. The use of chlorine in municipal water is banned in some countries, due to its detrimental effects on human health.  As an alternative, they use natural anti-pathogenic compounds. There are many other potentially harmful metals in tap water, so it would be better to look for clean water sources.

What are your options?

The benchmark for drinking water in filtration systems is quality is a reverse-osmosis (RO) unit, although this technology results in massive waste water. So this system is best kept for those cities with recycled and fluoridated water.  You can also purchase large quantities of RO water at various water shops. Second choice is a counter-top or under-counter filter that takes out chlorine and pathogens.

Jug (carbon) filters will do this in a less effective way, but the filter should be changed a minimum of two to three times monthly. Fast selling, well-known plastic-bottled water is last on the list, due to the inherent health issues that surround the use of plastics. But they also place extraordinary strain plastic on the environment. Always check the label for a low ‘TDS’ (total dissolved solids) reading. Aim for as close to zero as possible. RO water is somewhere between five and twenty, whereas municipal water can be upward of 200 to 300.

The above relates specifically to drinking water. You’ll also need to remember that you absorb greater amounts of metals and chlorine when you expose the surface of your skin to heated water, such as when washing dishes, bathing showering and washing hands.  In some instances you could reduce your exposure somewhat by fitting a filter on your shower head and/or the hand-held shower head and pipe fitted to some baths. Better yet, you might want to consider purchasing a whole-house filter system. Doing this ensures that all water coming into your house is filtered.  This costs about the same as an RO unit, so may the best and cheapest all-round option in the long run.

How much water do you need?

To work out your ideal personal water requirements in litres, multiply 0.033 by your weight in kilograms. E.g. 0.033 X 58kg = 1.91 litres daily. You can’t include coffee and other caffeinated drinks as part of your daily quota. These drinks act as diuretics, which means they stimulate water loss.  Ideally, you should consume an additional glass of water (outside of your optimal daily quota) before drinking one of these types of drinks. You can include herbal and Ceylon teas in daily quota, assuming you don’t add sugar to them.