What you Really need to know about Water and Your Body
First of all, let me warn you. This is a long article and does get a little technical. I get carried away sometimes, but it's such great stuff! Anyway, you may want to break it up into "sessions." Ok, you've been warned.
Why You Should Care
Drink 8 glasses of water a day. We hear it over and over again. Yes, we need to drink lots of water during the day and I would argue that 8 glasses isn’t going to be enough for some people.
But what you haven’t probably heard is that a lot of that water goes to waste. We are supposed to drink water to flush out toxins, to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all our organs, regulate body temperature, transport oxygen to our cells and protect our joints and organs. But if our cells are damaged, they can’t hold onto the water properly and the water we drink floats aimlessly in our body. Don’t believe me? Ever see someone with swollen ankles from traveling or pregnancy? What is that under the skin? It’s water that has lost its way.
I know how people think. You may not care that your body isn’t efficiently using water because you don’t know how that translates into everyday life. So here are some things that will change by improving your cell's ability to absorb water properly:
• Cellulite reduction – that’s right. If you apply the principles listed below, you will see an incredible difference right there on your thighs.
• Energy Increase – your blood will be circulating better delivering nutrients where they’re needed.
• Better memory and reasoning skills – how can you expect your brain to work if it’s dying of thirst?
• No constipation – get things moving along again.
• Better breath – what? Yep. Because you’re moving smelly toxins out of your body.
• Better looking skin – if your skin is dehydrated, it shows every wrinkle. Plump up your skin and you’ll look younger immediately.
How the Body Uses Water
The body uses water in two main areas, cells and connective tissues. Muscles, organs and the largest organ in the body, skin, are made up of cells. Connective tissue is like the net that hold everything together, linking organs to one another and keeping muscles in place. Even though every part of our body has its own unique job and make up, they all have one thing in common…
The body LOVES water. In fact, as babies we are made up of almost 75% water. As adults, our bodies should be about 70% water. However, because of damage done to our cells and connective tissues, there are some people who are only made up of 50% water (I think I saw them at the beach.) Blood is 83% water, muscles 75%, the brain 74%, and even bone, yes that dry looking bone, is 22% water. Amazing.
The problem is, as we age, our cells and connective tissue become damaged and cannot hold onto water like they used it. Our cells become damaged from the abuse we put them through by eating poorly, getting tans, using drugs (legal and illegal), and all sorts of other nefarious things. So all the water we drink that should end up in our cells and connective tissue ends up in the spaces between causing problems like puffy eyes, bloating, and other wonderful things. The truth is, you can drink 80 glasses of water a day and still be dehydrated! (please don’t try this – it’s merely to make my point.)
The key to getting the most from the water you drink is to first repair your cells and connective tissues.
Repairing the Damage - Showing Your Cells You Appreciate Them
Enough of taking our bodies for granted! I want you to look at your skin and apologize for the baby oil you applied while basting in the sun your senior year. Look at the place you think your liver is (hint, it’s on the right above your stomach), and confess that you shouldn’t have taken antibiotics for a cold!
Now that we’ve reconciled with our bodies, let’s show it that they are not mere empty words, but that this time we mean it. We will right what we’ve wronged.
The body does a great job of maintaining itself. It can repair cells and connective tissue, but only if it has the materials to do it.
Repairing Our Cells
Let’s start with our cells. Cell walls are made up of lecithin and lipids.
Lecithin is a fat like substance. It is produced daily by the liver, but only if the diet is adequate. It is needed by every cell in the body and is a key building block of cell membranes. Although it’s a fatty substance, it is also a fat emulsifier, which means that it breaks down cholesterol and fat. Lecithin causes fats, such as cholesterol, to be dispersed in water and removed from the body.
Sources in Food:
- Egg yolks
- Soy beans
- Whole grains
- Peanuts and peanut butter
If you’re like me and don’t eat a lot of the items listed above, and easy way to get lecithin is to take a supplement. Buy a supplement and aim for 2000 – 4000 mg/ day. It’s the same amount as 1 egg.
Lipids is another word for “fats.” Lipids can be more formally defined as substances such as a fat, oil, or wax that dissolves in alcohol but not water. Lipids include fatty acids, neutral fats, waxes and steroids. We are concerned mostly with fatty acids here.
Fatty acids are acids produced when fats are broken down. They are considered “good fats.” These acids are not highly soluble in water, and they can be used for energy by most types of cells. Fatty acids are found in oils and other fats that make up different foods. Fatty acids help move oxygen through the bloodstream to all parts of the body. They aid cell membrane development, strength, and function, and they are necessary for strong organs and tissue. Fatty acids can also help keep skin healthy, help prevent early aging, and may promote weight loss by helping the body process cholesterol.
There are different types of fatty acids. You have most likely heard of certain types, such as Omega-3. Omega-3 is considered an “essential” fatty acid, as is Omega-6. There is one other, Omega-9, but this type can be readily produced by the body, while the other two types cannot.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are found in fish and certain plants. Since they cannot be produced in the body, they must be ingested in the form of foods or natural supplements.
Sources in foods:
- Flaxseed oil
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Walnut oil
- Seeds (ground flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds)
- Nuts (raw walnuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios)
- Salmon, tuna, sardines
If you struggle with eating the above foods, take 4 – 1000 mg flaxseed oil
plus 100 – 300 mg of micro-algae-derived DHA.
Repairing our Connective Tissues
Repairing our cell walls is only one step, although it’s a big one. But to finish the job off right, we need to fix our brittle connective tissue.
The connective tissue I’m going to write about is the skin, but these principles apply to all connective tissue.
Connective tissue is made up of the body’s matrix or glycosaminoglycans or GAGs. (Big word, but bear with me.) To repair your connective tissues, you have to give it what it considers to be it’s food sources, and that is glucosamine, amino acids, and essential fatty acids.
Glucosamine is produced by the body but not in sufficient amounts to replenish all of its connective tissue. You must supply the body with this important nutrient in order for your skin to be able to repair itself. A dosage of 1000-2000 mg a day will do the job.
Amino acids actually can repair the collagen and elastin in our blood vessels. Our bodies use 20 different kinds of amino acids, but only 11 of them can be manufactured by our body. The other 9 have to be supplied by food.
Amino acids are derived when we consume protein. The body breaks down the protein into different amino acids. The body absorbs these amino acids and then sends them off to where they are needed by the body. Because amino acids are derived from protein, a lot people think if they eat meat they’ll be in good shape. But the truth is, the amino acids in meat takes a lot of work to get to. The amino acids in meat have already been converted into collagen and elastin in the animal’s body. So then our bodies have to break down their collagen and elastin first in order to get the amino acids from them. It’s just not that efficient. The better way to get amino acids is from more direct sources like:
Sources in Foods
- Whole grains
- Fruits & Vegetables
- Goji berries
Essential Fatty Acids
We discussed fatty acids above. The difference is Essential Fatty Acids are those that cannot be produced by the body, so you must get them from food sources.
Sources in Foods
- Seeds & Nuts
- Ground flaxseeds
- Salmon and other cold water fish
If you struggle with eating the above foods, take 4 – 1000 mg flaxseed oil EFA supplement plus 100 – 300 mg of micro-algae-derived DHA supplement as mentioned above.
Yes, water is vitally important to life. But in order for our bodies to get the ultimate use of the water we consume, we need to prepare our bodies to absorb it. By taking this extra step, you’ll notice your skin glows more, you have less cellulite, your memory will miraculously improve, constipation will be a thing of the past, and wrinkles will actually appear smaller because your cells are hydrated and happy!
I’ve compiled a list of the supplements mentioned above so you can print them off and take the list with you to the health food store. Obviously, integrating the right food sources is the best way to absorb the nutrients we need, but I’m a realist. I know there are going to be bad days in my eating. So I take these everyday to ensure I get what I need:
- Lecithin 2000-4000 mg/day
- Flaxseed Oil 4000 mg/day (I usually do 2 x 1000 mg twice a day)
- Micro-algae-derived DHA 100 – 300 mg/day
- Glucosamine 1000-2000 mg/day
I always recommend shopping at a local store, but if you can't get to a vitamin or health store, a great place to get supplements is iherb.com. Their site isn't fancy, but has great reviews and fantastic prices. And, if you use promo code TOT923, you'll receive $5 off your first purchase.
Send me your results after you’ve taken the supplements for 30 days and changed your diet to include at least some of the above mentioned foods. I’d love to hear about it! And drink that water!