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  • Larissa Spafford,NTP

Water. Surprisingly, this essential nutrient is the most common deficiency in America.

Glass of Water | Bend Nutritional Therapy

When you decide to make your health a priority, drinking more water is a great place to start. Water is an essential nutrient that we can’t live very long without, yet it is the most common nutritional deficiency in the American population. Water does SO many important things for your body. It keeps your bodily fluids viscous so they can flow as needed. It flushes toxins, cushions bones and joints, transports nutrients, lubricates joints and empowers your body’s natural healing process. There are many more. Early signs of dehydration include fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression, cravings, cramps and headaches. Late signs of dehydration include heartburn, joint pain, back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, constipation and colitis. This is a long list of problems that may improve simply by drinking more water. So, how much water should you drink?

Drink 1/2 your body weight in oz. daily, up to 128 oz. (1 gallon). Drinking too much water isn't good because it can flush out important minerals. If you drink diuretics (coffee, some teas, packaged fruit juices, soda, and alcohol) you will need to add 1.5 times the ounces of diuretics. You want the total to be 128 oz. or less. You may need to cut down on diuretics. Add a pinch of unrefined sea salt to your water to help you absorb the water better. Like anything else, getting in the habit of drinking more water can take time and practice. Once you get in the habit, it becomes easy. Here are two things you can do to get into the habit. 1. Start each day by filling large containers (preferably stainless steel or glass) with your daily amount of water. Bring them with you and re-fill a smaller glass or stainless steel water bottle to sip from throughout the day. 2. Begin each day by drinking a large glass of water (before the coffee!). For the rest of the day, the best way to drink water is to sip it regularly. A small amount of water with meals is ok, but too much can dilute digestive juices and impair digestion, which leads to many problems. The source of your drinking water is important. Tap water often contains contaminants from pipes, industrial and agricultural run off, run off from pesticides sprayed on lawns, even the chemicals in the soap you use to wash your car can end up in your tap water. Some contaminants are naturally occurring and others are a by product of water treatment. If you are in the U.S. you can look up the quality of your drinking water here. If you don’t like what you find, many contaminants can be filtered out. Here is a guide to water filters. Drinking water from plastic bottles isn’t a great option because they contain an endocrine disrupting chemical, BPA, that can leach into your water, especially when left in a hot car. BPA mimics or partially mimics your natural hormones which leads to many problems. The BPA free plastics may contain chemicals that are just as bad, I'm avoiding them too.

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