Hot! Hot! Hot!

Here we are again in the  middle of another hot summer and water is so important to us during these hot days.  I remember summers being much more humid than this one too. Water is so important to our bodies and even more important on the hot, dry days, especially if we play or work outside.So today as I see the temp is 95 degrees at 6:30 pm  I am reminded of something I wrote last summer on water and posted on Facebook. I think it deserves a repeat here, with a little update of course. After all, part of living a great life is living a healthy one too. Look for more health related posts coming soon too.

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The summer of 2010 is being called the hottest on record and my thoughts have turned to water. Not only have all of us here on the eastern seaboard experienced temperatures above 90 degree for over 55 days, other parts of the world are also suffering from record high heat. Saudi Arabia has seen the mercury rise to over 125 degrees, Pakistan over 128 and Moscow hit an all time record of 102. Many of us are aware that the increased heat causes us to require increased amounts of water but few of us ever really think about just how important water is to our daily lives, or our health. Our world and our bodies are mostly water. It’s necessary for life. We know this. We also know that without it nothing can live and most of us also know we could and should be better stewards of our water resources.

Doctors and other medical professionals rarely talk about the healing effects of water but there is one doctor who studied water and its effects on the human body with some amazing discoveries, Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj. He was born in Iran in 1931 and educated in the United Kingdom before returning to his native Iran native Iran where he was instrumental in developing hospitals and medicals centers and where history changed his life.

After the Iranian revolution in1979, Dr. Batmanghelidj was arrested and held as a political prisoner in the famed Evin prison in northwestern Tehran. While there, a fellow prisoner was experiencing crippling pain caused by a peptic ulcer and Dr. B. had no medications to treat him except water. He gave the man two glasses of water to drink and in less than 10 minute the pain was gone. The man was told to drink 2 glasses every three hours. He followed the instructions and was pain free for the rest of his incarceration. During the nearly three years Dr. B. was held prisoner he treated over 3,000 fellow prisoners with stress induced peptic ulcers with nothing more than water. He even rejected an early release to stay in the prison for four more months to complete his research. This prison environment gave him a nearly ideal laboratory where he could study the effects of water on not only pain relief but preventing painful degenerative disease.

Shortly after his release from Evin prison in 1982, Dr. B. escaped Iran and came to the United States. Shortly there after, Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology published a report of his findings as an editorial in it’s June 1983 edition. He continued his research on the effects of continual unintentional dehydration of the human body at “the Foundation for the Simple in Medicine”. The 1991 and 1992 report of his findings printed in the Foundation’s journal can be read at www.watercure.com.

Like many of us, I thought that getting thirsty was the first and only sign I needed something to drink. I learned a lot about water when I moved to Tucson Arizona for few months in late 1999. It didn’t take long in the dry Arizona air before I began to notice changes in my skin and hair. I felt like every part of me was drying out, getting sore and cracking. Until then I rarely drank water and went for iced tea most often. I was surprised to learn that feeling thirsty is actually a sign that were dehydrated, not that we are approaching that state. I soon realized just how much I needed to drink more water and began to constantly carry a bottle or two with me.

There simply is no substitute for water , yet most of us think that if it’s a liquid it is hydrating us. Fact is many of the things we drink actually deplete our body’s reserve of water. Coffee and tea are mild diuretics taking water away from the body and sodas only taste good which is a subject I will save for a later discussion.

The body gives many clues we need water according to Dr. B. His studies showed that many degenerative diseases such are adult onset diabetes; arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure and angina are related to pain and dehydration. Adequate hydration is also necessary for good brain function some say a lack of it may contribute to memory loss or Alzheimer’s. Pain is one of the body’s first signs of a water shortage. One of the simplest examples of this is a hangover from drinking too much alcohol. Dr. Batmaghelidj’s message to the world was “You are not sick, you are thirsty. Don’t treat thirst with medication.” A message simple yet powerful message.

We take water for granted in so many ways. The last decade southeastern US has experienced drought. Our water reserves have gone up in 2009 and 2010 and we seem to have moved our focus on to other things besides water conservation. Truth is our weather patterns are becoming unpredictable and conservation should be a way of life like it is in many countries around the world. It means life for all and thanks to researchers like Dr. Fereydoon Batmaghelidj we know more about how it can prevent and cure disease.

Drink more water. The often recommended eight glasses a day seems like a lot but it really is not when spread out over the day. For many Americans eight glasses are not enough  if you go by the amount recommendations by body weight. What that means is you take half your weight and that equals the number of ounces of water you should be drinking.  A 200 lb person should be drinking 100 oz of water a day. That is equal to nearly 13 glasses of water a day. But wait a minute! I am sure most of us do not think of 8 oz  as a glass. Most of us think of “one glass” in terms of what we get at a restaurant or one of those tall ones in the kitchen cabinet. Actually, 8 oz is one cup and a cup is really small in comparison. So lets assume that the average household glass is 16 oz.. Then drinking 100 oz of water a day becomes more doable. You would only need to drink a little over 6 glasses to equal 100 oz a day. Sound better? I thought so.

The next time you have sore muscles from exercise or yard work, grab a tall glass of water instead of an over the counter pain reliever. Your body will love you for it. And don’t forget to conserve our precious water resources too. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth, soap up or shave in the shower and limit the amount of water you use on your lawns. Conservation will help ensure we all have plenty to drink and stay healthy.
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