STRONG IDEA: Sick or Thirsty ... Revisited

By Emily Stapleton on October 29, 2013 from Strong Ideas via

Several weeks ago I wrote a post introducing a book about hydration: “You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty”, by F. Batmanghelidj.  Click here to read my original post with my initial thoughts on hydration in general and this book specifically.
In this controversial book, the author makes extraordinary claims about the cause of some of today’s most deadly diseases.  The information is pretty technical and much of the details are beyond the scope of this post.  In a nutshell, he claims that most diseases (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma, allergies) are caused by the overproduction of histamine resulting from chronic dehydration.  He’s not talking about not drinking enough for a day or a week, but not drinking enough water over the course of many years.  It’s unclear why dehydration in some people results in diabetes, while in others it results in cancer.
His claim, in the case of allergies and asthma, is that water is a natural antihistamine; therefore no other medication is necessary.  The author does not claim that drinking water can cure all diseases once they’ve reached a certain point.  He doesn’t recommend going off of life saving medications in exchange for adequate water intake (though he does give several case studies of people that were able to do just that).  He claims that these diseases can be PREVENTED by adequate hydration, but there can be a point of no return when hydration cannot be the cure…and there is likely no cure.  In those cases he recommends treatment of the symptoms through the use of modern medicine.
My take?  Water is the source of life.  It’s best in it’s purest form. It’s a source of healing and rejuvenating.  I do not; however, believe that staying hydrated alone will prevent cancer and heart disease. 
One of the most interesting parts of the book is the section on obesity.  According to the author’s research, obesity can be prevented through proper hydration.  The body’s amazing digestive system only works when the body has enough water; and most people go into a meal severely dehydrated.  The body’s inability to digest food properly leads to additional intake of calories.  I think Badmanhelidj is spot on here…hydration is a key component to losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight.  Now that I think of it, maintaining a healthy weight decreases the risk of heart disease and diabetes, so maybe it’s all connected.
Many people that make unhealthy choices overall are also dehydrated.  Healthy choices usually go hand in hand.  In many cases, people who don’t pay attention to proper nutrition, don’t exercise, and don’t get enough sleep; are the same people that don’t drink enough water.  These are the people that are at a higher risk for most diseases. 
I think that Batmanhelidj, while making a compelling plea to drink more water, tries to simplify disease prevention.  Water consumption, though important, is only part of the puzzle.  In his defense, he does touch on being active and eating a healthy diet at the end of his book.
After reading this book and taking some time to digest the information and even putting some of it into practice in my own life, my thoughts on hydration remain the same.  Drinking water is extremely important to overall health.  Proper hydration is part of an overall healthy lifestyle, along with proper nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy relationships.  In addition, drinking water has very few negative (if any) side effects.  Drinking water can only improve your health.  Drinking more water will likely lead to other healthy choices, like fueling your body with the proper nutrients and moving your body more.  So…what do you have to lose?  Make a choice today to increase your daily water consumption and encourage those around you to do the same.
Until Next Week,
Emily Stapleton

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