Dehydration is perhaps the most common, yet largely unrecognized problem prevalent in modern societies today. Alcohol, coffee, tea and soft drinks have become the primary choice for satisfying thirst, especially among the younger generations. The principal effect of these beverages, however, is to remove water – the most important and precious resource in the body – from the blood, cells and organs. Drinking enough fresh water is an essential prerequisite for avoiding disease and slowing the aging process. Anyone who is healthy and wants to stay that way needs to drink about 6-8 eight-ounce glasses of fresh water each day. This will ensure that the 60-100 trillion cells in the body receive their daily-needed ration of water in order to maintain efficient digestion, metabolism and waste removal. Children may need to drink 4-6 glasses of water per day, depending on how physically active they are.
Simple guidelines for keeping your body sufficiently hydrated
Start the day by drinking one glass of warm water to end the ‘drought’ of the night and remove accumulated wastes from the excretory organs. As previously mentioned, this can be followed by a glass of warm water with lemon and honey.
About half an hour before each meal, drink one glass of water. Doing this will keep your blood thin and thereby enable it to take up nutrients and distribute them to the cells. The water also helps increase the secretion of digestive juices and prevents bile from becoming too viscous. Drinking a lot of water or other beverages with your meal, however, dilutes the digestive juices. This should be avoided because it undermines the digestive process.
Following a meal, the blood uses up a considerable amount of water to distribute nutrients to the cells and can, therefore, become water deficient quite quickly. Drinking another glass of water approximately 2 ½ hours after each meal restores the blood’s water requirements.
These simple guidelines can help prevent the most serious major diseases that are prevalent in modern societies today. Drinking sufficient amounts of water at the right times can and should be part of every other therapy used in the treatment of disease.
A note of caution: Any attempt to restore the proper state of hydration of the body should be made gradually. otherwise this may cause serious harm. A dehydrated person, that is, someone who has not taken the minimum required amount of water for several weeks, months or years, and/or has depleted the cells of excessive amounts of water by consuming caffeine or sugar-containing foods or beverages for a considerable length of time, is susceptible to becoming ill. During dehydration, the body’s cells are no longer able to function efficiently. To protect themselves against further loss of water, they make their membranes less penetrable to water diffusion by pulling in extra amounts of fats, including cholesterol. This survival mechanism, however, also prevents metabolic waste from leaving the cells, causing them to suffocate in their own waste. Some of the cells, in order to survive in this toxic environment, may eventually need to undergo genetic mutation and become cancerous.
During the state of dehydration, the kidneys hold on to water and so does the rest of the body. At this point many people start craving and overeating salt or salty foods because the body needs more salt to hold on to the little water it has left. This, however, causes the kidneys to contract and filter even less water than before. Urine becomes more and more concentrated and scarce. In this condition of extreme dehydration, it would be unwise to suddenly start drinking even the recommended 6-8 glasses per day of water. Since the cells have created a barrier in order to save water, they are in no position to absorb a quantity of water to which they have become unaccustomed, all at once. The water would simply stagnate outside the cells and lead to water retention and weight gain. Given these circumstances, the kidneys are not able to filter much of it, and urine will remain scarce. Any sudden intake of large amounts of water can indeed cause severe lymph congestion, swelling, and in some cases, even death. The effect would be water intoxication, a potentially fatal disturbance in brain function that results when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is pushed outside of safe limits by a very rapid intake of water. The transition from a state of severe dehydration to improved hydration should be very gradual and is best monitored by a health practitioner who knows the basics of water metabolism.
Guidelines for Gradual Rehydration
Add only about one glass of water per day to the amount of water you usually drink and check whether urination increases. If it does, drink another 1-2 glasses per day. If not, reduce the additional amount to a third or half glass of water per day. It is of principal importance that your kidneys begin to filter more water when you drink more water. You don’t want to create a ‘dam’ in your kidneys, which could end up flooding even your lungs. In time, the kidneys will recognize that water is no longer a scarcity in the body and will make the necessary adjustments to increase urination. At the same time, the body will naturally decrease its salt production and salt retention. When this occurs, the urge to eat a lot of salt or salty foods will also lessen. This response is caused by the water’s own natural diuretic effects.
If you are on diuretic drugs, it is important for you to know that water is a much more efficient diuretic than any drug can possibly be, and it has no harmful side effects. Diuretic drugs should be decreased gradually and under the supervision of a health practitioner.
Once the kidneys have no more difficulties with eliminating urine, you can increase your water intake to the natural minimum daily requirement of 6-8 glasses per day. This will drastically reduce the health risks imposed by an illness. To undo years of dehydration and to be completely hydrated again, however, may take up to a year, and sometimes even longer.
A note of caution: When the body is dehydrated, it tries to retain its salt in order to hold on to water. Once urination increases following improved hydration, these salts are gradually passed out with the urine. If the hydration attempts are implemented too quickly, those areas with the most salt retention may develop lymph edema. Any emerging puffiness of or around the eyes or swelling of the ankles indicates that the hydration process should be done more gradually. As the swellings decrease, you may resume drinking normal quantities of water. With increased water intake, your body will also be able to remove any excessive salt. However, you do not want to become salt-deficient. You should, therefore, be certain to include some unrefined salt as an important part of your diet. If don’t use your muscles enough and they start to cramp, particularly during the night, your body is most likely not getting enough salt (or it is getting the wrong type of salt, which is commercially produced table salt).
Both water and salt are absolutely essential for keeping the water metabolism balanced and for generating enough hydroelectric energy to maintain cellular activities. Drinking water is the most important therapy of all therapies because absolutely nothing in the body does not depend on it. Drinking water and cutting out any energy-depleting (overstimulating) influences should be the very first treatment in the case of an illness, before attempting to do anything else. In most cases, the problem will disappear naturally when the body is properly hydrated and allowed to rest.