It is well known that more than 60 percent of our body weight is compromised of water. We lose water every day through urination, sweat, breathing, and regular cellular activity. When we do not replenish this natural water loss, the body's metabolism can slow down and the process of toxin removal, healing, removal of old cells, and replacement with new tissues can become compromised. Drinking water is an important part of the cleansing process and helps support the detoxification process in the liver.
In addition to supporting your organs of detoxification, drinking extra water offers other benefits. Your skin may become less dry, you may be less prone to acne, your bowel movements might become more regular, and your nose and throat membrane may feel moist or more thoroughly lubricated.
Water is essential in supporting proper functioning in the body. For instance, water helps with the transportation of hormones, nutrients, oxygen, and antibodies throughout the bloodstream and lymphatic system. Water is also present during the digestion process, which helps with the breakdown and absorption of solid foods. Water can also benefit our physical appearance by helping hydrate cells, making the skin look plumper and less saggy.
How Much Water Do You Need?
The amount of water you need daily can vary widely depending on your body size, how much you exercise, where you live, or your health condition. As a general rule of thumb, you should drink enough water so that your urine is pale yellow rather than dark. The color of your urine is a good indicator as to whether or not you are properly hydrated.
We suggest you increase your intake... but don't overdo it. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood and faulty cellular metabolism, a condition called hyponatremia. This condition causes the cells in your body to swell which can result in a myriad of problems from mild fatigue to severe muscle weakness, decreased consciousness or even coma. First aid for this condition can include mixing 1/8 teaspoonful of sea salt in a glass of water to keep cells balanced.
Water should be consumed at meal time in place of sugary fruit juices or soda pop which is void of nutritional value. Water should also be consumed between meals, and especially before and after exercising. Sparkling water with a twist of lemon in a fancy glass makes a nice substitute for alcoholic beverages at social gatherings.
Water, Water, Everywhere... Which Kind Should I Drink?
With so many different types of water available on the market today, it is sometimes difficult knowing which one to buy. Our position is that any mineral or spring water is fine for drinking, but you should consider staying away from large amounts of bottled water. Plastic bottles contain significant quantities of BPA, a known toxin that can often leach from the bottle into the water, and into you. It is best to get yourself a water filter for your kitchen tap or a water pitcher with a built-in filter and simply and inexpensively refill a reusable steel drinking bottle to carry with you (they are now widely available).
Distilled water is another "no-no." Water made through the distillation process has been purified through evaporation and, in the process, has been stripped of most naturally occurring minerals. Magnesium, calcium, iron, and other minerals found in water are important, so refrain from purchasing water of the distilled variety.
Pure Drinking Water as a Liver Cleanser
Your liver functions as a filter, so optimal blood volume will help this organ do its job more efficiently. If you do not regularly flush metabolic waste out of your body, you may feel a bit sick, sluggish, or feel headache pain. While the amount of water suggested will send you to the toilet frequently, over time as your body gets used to this additional fluid intake, you will find your stops to the restroom less frequent.
Drinking soda, coffee, or lemonade is not the same as pure drinking water. If you feel sick of plain water, you may squeeze in some fresh lemon, cucumber, or grind up fresh mint or ginger for a hot tea. These simple teas can be counted toward your 10-12 cups of daily water intake. High-quality herbal teas are okay as long as the herbs are not meant for medicinal purposes.
Cleaning Out the "Gunk" & Toxic Buildup
Sometimes our bodies are not able to digest or absorb all food matter, particularly when the food contains preservatives, additives, chemicals, or is grown in an environment using herbicides, pesticides, growth hormones, or antibiotics. According to the traditional Indian medical science of Ayurveda, frozen foods, processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, fried foods, candy, and white sugared foods are all food items that do not always get thoroughly digested, absorbed, or eliminated by the body. Other foods we eat may not be suited to our constitution, such as gluten for those with celiac disease.
Yogis believe that when the body is unable to thoroughly process these foods, a residue is left behind that becomes the building block for imbalance in the digestive system. This residue is called ama, and it can be likened to a mass of gunk that starts to line the stomach, digestive tract, or even arteries, causing a clog in the flow of energy. If not flushed away, ama can create a toxic buildup and becomes a fertile breading ground for inflammation, disease, infection, or illness to take root and flourish.
In both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is believed that drinking iced water or ice-cold beverages douses the digestive fire and causes ama to be generated. For the purposes of your new cleanse lifestyle, it is recommended that only room temperature or hot water be consumed.
Simple Ama Cleanse Instructions
For a simple Ama cleanse, drink 8 cups of hot water (as hot as you can stand it) with a squeeze of fresh lemon daily for seven days.
©2010 by Tamara Quinn, Elisabeth Heller.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Findhorn Press.
www.findhornpress.com. All Rights Reserved.
This article was adapted with permission from the book:
The Infertility Cleanse: Detox, Diet and Dharma for Fertility
by Tami Quinn, Beth Heller.
Women who are trying to conceive will find a holistic approach in this hands-on manual. Step-by-step guidelines help implement a three-part program—of yoga, hypoallergenic and anti-inflammatory nutrition, and stress-reduction techniques—to cleanse the body, mind, and spirit in preparation for pregnancy. Also based on new clinical research that suggests that gut health, chronic inflammation, and environmental toxins may be root causes of infertility, this important book offers all women a natural, holistic approach to readying the womb for a child.
About the Authors
Tamara Quinn and Elisabeth Heller, M.S. are registered yoga instructors. They are the cofounders and codirectors of Pulling Down the Moon, Inc., Integrative Care for Fertility (ICF™), a revolutionary holistic fertility center that has changed the standard of care for women experiencing infertility. They are also the coauthors of Fully Fertile.
Tami was called to this work after a 14-year career in the corporate world, most recently with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia where she spent 8-1/2 years in advertising and marketing. Struggling to find balance between career and family, Tami turned to yoga and discovered ancient healing techniques that not only helped with her stress, but also provided tools to help live a more balanced life. Tami has a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Beth earned her Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics in 1999 and prior to founding PDtM, she spent four years working as a Nutrition Researcher for the Women’s Walking Program, a large National Institutes of Health-funded study that examined the impact of walking exercise on the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of menopausal women. Beth came to yoga in 1998 when she realized that a stressed out graduate student like herself was likely to have difficulty starting a family. She entered teacher training at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago where she researched and wrote her thesis in 2001 on yoga practices to restore fertility. She also began work with an ayurvedic physician who suggested changes to her diet and life habits. Beth is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. She teaches yoga in classes and in one-on-one instruction throughout the Chicago-land area and is a creator, co-director and teacher for Pulling Down the Moon, Yoga for Fertility.