Friday, September 9, 2016

THE GUIDE: HOW TO HYDRATE


T H E   G U I D E   |   H Y D R A T I O N 
a guide on how to hydrate optimally, regulate hormones, + balance electrolyte levels . . . 


c l e a n l i n e s s  |  to hydrate properly is to hydrate with clean water. Our bodies cannot optimally use chemical- and toxic-laden water—it's not a filtration system. So, first and foremost, make sure to get a filter that removes the top known contaminants, such as hydrogen sulfide, pesticides, herbicides, PCBs, and heavy metals. An ideal multi-step filtration system will then also re-mineralise the water by adding essential inert ones such as magnesium and potassium. You can check out EWG's water filtration guide here for options. If you have the pretty penny to spare, you could invest in a reverse osmosis water filtration system. My favourite non-permanent installation options are the Berkey and the New Wave Enviro 10-stage water filter.

a m o u n t  |  the generic prescription is at least eight glasses a day and the trend is to lug bottles of water around, but the worry of proper hydration can lead to over-hydration. Drinking too much water is just as dangerous as drinking too little as it creates electrolyte deficiency. Our cells swim in extracellular fluid that is composed of sodium and other electrolytes. Flushing this balanced fluid with too much plain water can dilute it and cause an imbalance of fluid levels between extracellular fluid and the blood. Drink when you're thirsty and make sure to get an adequate amount of sodium through sea salts. I also love this natural electrolyte drink from Lauren of Empowered Sustenance. Not only does the glucose from honey coupled with the sodium of sea salt level out electrolytes, but the tulsi tea allows the body to adapt to stress levels and promotes a focused relaxation.

u r i n e   c o l o u r |  most of us have been incorrectly told that clear urine indicates proper hydration levels. Clear urine is rather a sign of over-hydration and imbalance of electrolytes. Proper hydration is indicated instead by pale yellow urine colour. You can use this New York Times dehydration level test to check for optimum levels according to urine colour.

a d r e n a l s  +  h o r m o n e s  |  another danger posed by over- or improper hydration is taxing the adrenal glands and, consequently, the hormone system. The adrenals control the body's stress response and, when taxed, flood the body with stress hormones. Their release then causes an inability to regulate the overall hormonal cycle with imbalanced levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, or aldosterone. When the body is already suffering from adrenal fatigue, like those of many people who are under chronic stress or experiencing/have experienced trauma, levels of aldosterone in the body are already low. When this happens, sodium regulation is altered and the body begins to lose sodium. This is crucial in considering water intake as an increase in water will further deplete sodium levels from a stressed body, aggravating already-taxed adrenal glands. If you are concerned about the health of your adrenal glands, speak with your physician or an endocrinologist about blood tests to ensure that your stress levels have not taken a serious physical toll on your body.

b o t t l e d   w a t e r  |  another way in which water can affect our hormonal balance is its source. Unless otherwise stated, all bottled water is contained in BPA-laden plastic. BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a hormone disruptor that leaches into the water it contains. It mimics sex hormones through its estrogenic effect and can promote cell proliferation, potentially causing cancer. Its ability to increase estrogen in the body is what makes it so dangerous for women especially by increasing the risk of breast cancer. 

w a s t e  -  f r e e  |  in avoiding plastic water bottles, opt for a zero-waste way to hydrate. My favourite and EWG-approved option is a Klean Kanteen, which keeps water cool or hot with its vacuum-sealed, insulated bottles. When I'm not toting my bottle and I'm thirsty while about town, I pay the pretty penny for a glass bottle. My favourite is Mountain Valley Spring and Sparkling Water. 

m i n e r a l  +  s p a r k l i n g   w a t e r |  mineral water—still and sparkling—is essentially water with supplements in it. It's full of essential minerals like magnesium, calcium, lithium, sodium, and, most importantly, sulfate. Most of our diets are low in this mineral, but we can increase our intake with foods like pasture-raised organic eggs and broccoli along with mineral water. Just make sure to get it in a glass bottle . . .

w a t e r   s u p p l e m e n t s |  Rather than chugging cups of water, hack into your body's hydration regulation with a shot of aloe vera juice or detoxification system with liquid chlorophyll drops. Aloe vera lubricates our insides while chlorophyll builds the blood, oxygenates our cells, and cleans the liver of toxins. Just practise caution and use safe sunscreen when supplementing with chlorophyll in your water as chlorophyll makes the skin more susceptible to burns.

h y d r a t i n g   t e a s  +  b r o t h  |  Teas provide deeper levels of moisture into the tissues than drinking pure water does by boosting water with balancing properties inherent in the plant's chemical structure such as antioxidant polyphenic content and flavanoids. My favourites are gynostemmaraspberry leaf, and rooibos teas. Some other skin-hydrating options are strawberry leaf, nettle leaf, rosehip, and persimmon tea. Bone broth is also an optimal way to hydrate as it contains minerals that hydrate the body and build the bone, especially so when seasoned with electrolyte-balancing Himalayan or Real salt.

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