One of the first things I learned about good health was the benefits of drinking water daily! Water is a key component of optimal health! That has become a mantra that doctors have repeated throughout the years of dealing with severe autism. Why is it so important? And what do you do when someone will not drink plain water?
- Proper Functioning of the Body: Our bodies are 65% water. So, water is needed for a number of physiological processes like metabolism, regulation of body temperature, and waste removal as well as detoxification. The body will give signals that you need to drink more water. Those signals include: Fatigue – mood swings – foggy thinking – chills – muscle cramps – back or joint aches – constipation – headaches – sugar cravings and bad breath! The next time you hear someone complain about one of the “symptoms” listed, ask them how much water they drink!
- Hydration: It is estimated that a huge majority of American’s are dehydrated. Severe hydration can be life threatening, but even mild hydration can cause problems like impaired cognition. One way to check your hydration level is to note the color of your urine. Dark colored urine is a sign that your kidneys are retaining fluids to maintain your bodily functions, so you need to drink more water. Ideally, your urine needs to be a light-colored yellow. Remember that being dehydrated may be as dangerous as being drunk while driving.
- Proper Metabolism: I see a lot of articles these days about weight loss. If you are having trouble losing weight and you are doing all of the right things (i.e. exercise, raw veggies, little to no carbs) then you may need to evaluate your water intake. Another way to increase metabolism is to add some organic apple cider vinegar to your water. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar will aid in the digestive process, add minerals to the water, and aid in burning fat.
HOW TO INCREASE INTAKE:
- Replace All Other Beverages with Pure Water: This is a major step toward good health. Although soda, fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, and other beverages do contain a fair amount of water, they are a poor substitute for pure water. Drinks that contain caffeine act like a diuretic that will actually dehydrate the body. Even worse, sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks and other sweetened beverages typically contain fructose which is a primary driver of obesity and metabolic dysfunction. One can of soda a day can add as much as 15 pounds to your weight over the course of a single year. One soda a day also increases your risk of diabetes by 85 percent, and frequent soda drinkers have a higher cancer risk.
- Why Sports Drinks Are Best Avoided: Many athletes as well as those who work outside in the heat believe that a sports drink like Gatorade is a good choice because of the electrolyte replacement. In actually, most sport drinks contain as much as two-thirds more sugar than sodas, typically in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. Those that claim to be sugar-free often contain artificial sweeteners which may be even worse for you than fructose. Studies reveal that consuming sugar after exercise will negatively affect your insulin sensitivity as well as your human growth hormone production. Most sport drinks also contain a high amount of sodium (processed salt) which is meant to replenish the electrolytes you lose while sweating. Sodium makes your body believe that it is thirsty, which makes you want to drink more. But if you drink more sodium, then you are in a downward spin with no real answer. If you add natural unprocessed salt to your water, you will be replacing the electrolytes you lose while sweating. Another option is coconut water, which is one of the highest sources of electrolytes known to man at this time. You can also eat fresh fruit to replace electrolytes, just don’t drink the juice.
- Where you get your water is also of concern. I see many people drinking water from a plastic bottle, and find that many hotels and schools offer bottled water. While it is true that the more unfiltered water you drink, the more pollutants you put back into your body, bottled water is not the answer. Drinking from plastic bottles can pose health risks from industrial chemicals like BPA/BPS (bishenol-A, bisphenol-S) which leach from the plastic. Plastic contains soy, which contains estrogen, which leaches from the plastic. Also, bottled water is more likely to be contaminated than tap water because the US Environmental Protection Agency requires large public water supplies to test for contaminants several times a day, but the FDA requires private bottlers to test for contaminants only once a week, once a year, or once every four years, depending on the contaminant.
- A home filtering system is not expensive and can provide you with pure water each and every day. This reduces the cost of bottled water significantly. We save glass bottles that we can use to transport our filtered water wherever we go. In our own personal research, we found that reverse osmosis is an effective water filtering system which even eliminates fluoride, drugs, and chemicals. We like the taste of the water and use it for cooking as well as drinking. For more information about the effects of water on your health, read “Studies on Hydration” by Dr. Mercola.
Getting Emory to drink enough water has been a challenge. We can use lemon juice, organic apple cider vinegar, and a small amount of fruit juice to get him to drink enough. Sometimes he will drink a whole glass of pure water. Other times he will not short of pouring it down his throat, which we would never do.
Emory does like carbonated water, so we have used it a lot to get water down him. I even found truly good source of carbonated water that has been infused with fruit which does not contain any sugars or diet sweeteners that Emory loves. We use it for a treat so that he enjoys it as a reward and we get the water down him at the same time.