Water (along with sunlight and oxygen) is a primary source of life and vitality. 99% of our molecules are water. Drinking enough water helps the body flush out toxins. Water is the lubricant for our body. It helps to absorb shock, helps to maintain the balance of fluids, transports nutrients around the body, supports proper digestion, maintains our body temperature, and so much more. Because our skin is an organ that is not an isolated, separate part of the body but an interwoven organ tied to all of the other systems, we know that proper hydration has a significant impact on our skin's health.
Benefits of proper hydration for our skin include:
Improves skin elasticity
Improves the ability to heal
Reduces swelling and puffiness in the face
Symptoms of chronic dehydration include:
Dry, flakey skin
Constant muscle weakness
But if we are drinking multiple liters of water every day, and still experiencing the symptoms of chronic mild dehydration, what gives? The answer to that is we may also be consuming lots of dehydrating items or that we may be taking in lots of water but aren't properly absorbing it into our cells.
Everyone experiences acute dehydration from time to time, but the real problem for our health and vitality is chronic dehydration, even if it is chronic mild dehydration. "The first signs of dehydration are brain fog and sleepiness; if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated." -Dr. Dana Cohen, functional medicine doctor and ½ of the fantastic duo who authored Quench: Beat Fatigue, Drop Weight, and Heal Your Body Through the New Science of Optimum Hydration.
When we are dehydrated, blood is thicker, and the heart must work harder to pump it. You are expending more energy. Blood is 83% water. A decrease in hydration by as little as 2% can have the same impact on blood vessels as smoking a cigarette! "But what if I have all of these symptoms, but I don't feel thirsty, maybe my body just doesn't need to drink that much water?"- an actual thought I have had in the past, haha! Our bodies are unique and incredibly adaptive. The body learns to suppress thirst when it is chronically dehydrated.
Let's talk about what might be counteracting hydration. Diuretics are substances that increase urine flow, and with a high intake of diuretics, You can lose water and electrolytes. Coffee is a diuretic, alcohol is a diuretic, common, table salt, some medications are diuretics, and even many herbs (like in your herbal tea) are diuretics. Just because something is a diuretic does not mean it is "bad" - (except for ordinary table salt, sea salt is less processed and a much better option). But if we are consuming multiple diuretic substances, we need to compensate for that with additional hydration.
What if you are doing all of this and still have classic signs of chronic dehydration? The answer may lie in something called "structured water." Structured water is a relatively recent discovery. Structured water is also known as gel water or "EZ" (exclusion zone) water. Dr. Gerald Pollack discovered EZ water; you can find his Ted Talk about how he discovered it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-T7tCMUDXU. We all grew up understanding that water comes in three stages, liquid, gas (steam/vapor), or solid (ice). However, this discovery shows a fourth stage of water, a gel, also known as structured water.
Structured water: the biggest game-changer in hydration ever!
Structured water exists in all living cells, in both plants and animals. It has a unique structure, and it is three atoms of hydrogen, two atoms of oxygen, H3O2. Because of this unique structure, it conducts electricity very well, and according to Dr. Cohen, it is MORE hydrating than regular water. Much more hydrating than regular water.
Ways that we can get more structured water:
- Eating your water: consuming lots of fresh fruits and veggies.
- Consuming bone broth
- Adding lemon or lime to water (these electrolytes increase gel water in the body)
- Juicing and smoothies
- Eating high-quality fats: coconut oil, butter, ghee, olive oil.
- Incorporating chia seeds (that gel that builds around them, that's structured water!)
- Eating seeds like pumpkin and sunflower
- Adding a pinch of sea salt (these electrolytes increase gel water in the body)
- Getting adequate sunlight or infrared light (light helps to build structured water in the body)
Now that you know the newest science taking place in the beautiful world of water note that it takes up to two weeks of proper hydration to start feeling the benefits. As you begin to hydrate properly, you may notice an increase in urination; this is a good thing! We should be getting up to urinate often. Our body needs movement! If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Quench: Beat Fatigue, Drop Weight, and Heal Your Body Through the New Science of Optimum Hydration by
Dr. Dana Cohen and Gina Bria. It is truly a life-changing book, chock full of useful information.