Drinking sufficient good quality water is required to keep you hydrated, and keep your body’s processes running well.
Whilst there is some disagreement about how much we should drink, I suggest letting thirst be your guide. This requires having good connection with your body, and understanding that sometimes when you think you are hungry, you are actually thirsty. I drink about 1.5 litres (six cups) of water per day, more if I exercise heavily, have a sauna or the day is particularly hot, or if I have any alcohol, tea or coffee. Alcohol can be dehydrating, and coffee and tea are both diuretics – that is they cause your body to get rid of extra fluid and salt.
I find when I don’t drink enough water in a day, my stool tells the story – of course there are other reasons for constipation, and if you are concerned you should seek advice from your medical practitioner. If you are wondering what your stool should look like I recommend familiarising yourself with the Bristol Stool Chart .
Other signs of dehydration include headache and very dark urine, but according to this article, these are long held beliefs with no research to back them up. Sometimes, long held beliefs are right – I’ll keep an open mind on this one while waiting for the research to be done.
In Andrew Huberman’s recent podcast about water, he mentions restricting your water intake to 10 hours per day. That is, someone who starts their day at 6am with a drink of water, will be finished drinking their water by 4pm. These are generally the most active hours of the day, and give your body ample time to process the water, and reduce the likelihood of waking during the night for a trip to the toilet.
Tap water is treated to disinfect it, which is something we want, but this can leave some nasty chemical residues in our drinking water, which we don’t want. In addition, catchment water journeys through hundreds of kilometres of aged aqueducts, tunnels and pipes constructed from various materials such as concrete, iron, steel, and copper, picking particles up on the way. Thus, water quality steadily deteriorates in transit to your tap; what you drink from your tap is not the same clear water that resides in our catchments. Instead, parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium; chemicals like chlorine, toxic heavy metals and fluoride; metals like copper and lead (picked up from corroding pipes and plumbing) – all posing health threats – may very well be present in your drinking water.
Because of this I drink filtered water and have a filter on my shower. I am also not fond of drinking from plastic bottles; I bring my own filled stainless steel water bottle with me, so I have filtered water on hand wherever I go.
The issue with filtering your water is often the minerals we want in our water can be reduced by the filtration process, or may be very low anyway. It seems nothing is straight forward! I add minerals to my drinking water. You can also purchase water filters that have minerals in the water, or you can also get mineral salts to add to your water. Make sure you purchase one that has no added sugar or preservatives.
The simplest solution is to find a filter that cuts out the nasties such as chorine and fluoride and adds in the minerals. Examples include benchtop filters from Zarzen and Waters Co Australia, or plumbed-in filters from Pure Magic.
Getting into the habit of drinking water to quench your thirst is a great way to improve your overall health, and reduce or eliminate sugary juices and soft drinks from your diet. If you do not enjoy drinking water, you can jazz it up with a slice or squeeze of lemon or lime, or even some fresh mint. Drinking sufficient good quality water is a great step toward improving your health.