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Dr. Mercola's Nutrition Plan
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Beverage: Drink Enough Pure Water

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Drinks like soda, juices, and energy drinks should be eliminated in this level because they don’t do your body any favors, as they contain processed sugar and/or artificial sweeteners, food coloring, high amounts of sodium, and sugar, particularly fructose. They may also contain excessive amounts of caffeine that can lead to dehydration. Fructose in these drinks, in particular, is highly problematic, as these empty calories contribute to weight gain, obesity, and metabolic dysfunction, to name a few.

Pure Water Is the Perfect Choice

I believe that no beverage can quench thirst better than pure water. Water makes up 65 percent of your body, and helps with blood circulation, metabolism, body temperature regulation, and waste removal and detoxification.

Adding lemon or cucumber slices, or even lime juice to water gives it a flavor boost. An article by The Huffington Post says that lemon water helps improve your skin, cleanse your liver, boost your immune system, and even relieve constipation and urinary tract infection.

However, I highly recommend avoiding distilled water, as the distillation process increases the amount of toxic substances, especially DBPs (disinfection byproducts). DBPs are 10,000 times more toxic than chlorine, and are the worst toxins in water. Distilled water is also both acidic and demineralized and can provoke leakage of contaminants into the water.

In addition, some distillers today are made of metal, so toxic substances like nickel may be added. If the distiller uses a plastic bottle, BPA and phthalates can leach in the water as well.

I also advise you to avoid fluoridated water. However, this is easier said than done, as most public water supplies in the United States are treated with fluoride. I strongly oppose water fluoridation because fluoride has been linked to a host of problems, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hypothyroidism, and learning and memory problems. Fluoride negatively impacts your IQ levels too, and has been labeled as an “endocrine disruptor.”

Instead, go for structured, living, or EZ (exclusion zone) water. Water obtains its structured form by getting energy from the environment, such as electromagnetic radiation like sunlight and infrared heat, the visible light spectrum, and ultraviolet (UV) and infrared ways. This is the water your body needs to function optimally, and your cells are mainly composed of it. In the video below, Dr. Gerald Pollack, one of the forerunners on structured water, talks about the benefits of structured water.

Structured water can be found in a natural spring. If you happen to live near one or have the opportunity to drive by, keep the water in glass jars so toxic chemicals and substances cannot get into the water, and be careful when handling, especially during the journey home.

Although not everyone has access to these springs, you can still have your own supply of structured water by cooling water to about 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Centigrade,) or stirring the water with a spoon in a circular jar to make a vortex.

The Benefits of Drinking Enough Water

Should you really drink eight glasses of water a day? This isn’t really the case, as the amount of water you need depends on many factors. Thankfully, your thirst mechanism will remind you to constantly replenish your water supply.

The thirst signal kicks in when your body loses 1 to 2 percent of its total water content. The only caution about depending too much on thirst is you’ll only feel it when you’re already a bit dehydrated. But there are also other signals the body produces to signify you need water.

One is your urine’s color. If it’s light yellow, you’re drinking enough. Dark-colored urine means you’re dehydrated and your kidneys are retaining fluids to maintain fluid-dependent bodily functions. Bright-colored urine, on the other hand, may be triggered by vitamin B2 found in most multivitamins.

The frequency of your toilet trips is another factor. Ideally, you should urinate about seven to eight times a day. If you’re not urinating enough, or intervals between trips take hours, it’s time to drink more water.

Remember to keep track of your water consumption to be well-hydrated. Sipping water throughout the day is preferable to having a huge glass at one time, since the body is only able to process approximately one glass of water per hour. If you drink more, the water won’t be used, and it’ll be flushed down the drain, taking valuable electrolytes with it.

By drinking enough water, you can prevent chronic dehydration, which is highlighted by symptoms like thirst, dry skin, and fatigue. Other signs of dehydration include:

  • Digestive disturbances like heartburn and constipation
  • Confusion and/or anxiety
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Premature aging
  • High cholesterol

Children are very prone to dehydration. A Harvard study found that more than half of American children today are dehydrated, with one quarter of them not drinking water on a daily basis.  With constant consumption of drinks like soda and fruit juice, repercussions on their health and academic performance could increase if no action is taken.

If you have elderly loved ones, monitor their water consumption as well, since their age group is also prone to dehydration.  This is partially related to a progressive decline in the thirst mechanism as one ages. One in 5 senior citizens is dehydrated — this is considering they have a caretaker already. The risk goes up to 1 in 4 senior citizens if they have no caretakers, and those with dementia are six times more dehydrated.

Is Bottled Water Bad for You?

Beware, because the plastic bottles used for bottled water are actually an opportunity for dangerous chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA), bisphenol S (BPS), and phthalates. BPA and BPS are estrogen-mimicking chemicals linked to reproductive defects, learning and behavioral problems, immune dysfunction, and prostate and breast cancer. Meanwhile, phthalates are endocrine disruptors linked to developmental and reproductive effects and liver cancer.

In addition, bottled water is an environmental nuisance because of the waste it produces, and is economically impractical and deceiving. Bottled water also costs 1,900 times more than regular tap water.

There’s also the potential that water may not be filtered. It’s been shown that 40 percent of bottled water is regular tap water that didn’t undergo additional filter treatments. Unfiltered, regular tap water is home to large amounts of toxic substances.

Assess Your Water Delivery System

The best type of water comes from a living source — gravity-fed springs. Living water is the best because it’s naturally-filtered and PH-balanced. As I mentioned above, structured or EZ water is a good choice.

If you don’t have access to spring water, use filtered tap water. Make sure that the filter is easy to use, effective, and gives you value for your money. My personal recommendation is a reverse osmosis (RO) filter, which removes more impurities than other types of water filter systems.

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