The Truths about Bottled Water

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Bottled Water: It’s something the big companies have got us all buying, when the fact is, the same stuff comes right out of your tap at home for next to nothing, so why buy it?? 

Here’s some simple facts. Bottled water is big business, with sales somewhere between 50 to 100 billion a year, with an annual growth rate of 7%. This distracts from the construction and maintenance of safe water systems. A quarter of the world doesn’t have safe drinking water, so bottled water is the only alternative. But wouldn’t it be better if that money went into developing safer water systems? Over half of the bottled water out there comes from the tap in developed countries. That’s right, its the same stuff that is supplied directly to your house. It also produces tonnes of garbage every year, having a significant impact on our environment. Its also a privatization and commodification of a basic human right. What if they started selling us air? Okay that’s a stretch, but you get the point. 

There are plenty of causes out there discouraging the purchase of bottled water, and with good reason. If you want to carry a bottle of water around with you, get a stainless steel thermos, or a sports bottle. I know for most of us, that might be a little too much. But at least limit the amount of bottled water you buy. Reuse old bottles (I wouldn’t encourage to reuse indefinitely and never ones that have been left in the sun or heat), or buy a glass bottle and reuse that. Refill your bottles at bubblers or at home. Its simple things we can do that can make a difference in the long run. 

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We can all make a difference! Stay hydrated in a responsible way! 

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Flying and Dehydration

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Plenty of us go on holidays whenever we can afford the time and expenses, and flying is the best way to get around. Most of us would have noticed ourselves getting a little dry mouthed and thirsty while inside the air cabin, and I usually need to ask for an extra orange juice or two to keep me feeling good. The reason for this is that the cabin is low in humidity and so can cause mild signs of dehydration in most passengers. 

Cabin air humidty often range from 10-20% but can get lower. To give you an idea of how dry that is, the Sahara desert is usually around 25%, and the average humidity in a house ranges from 30-50%. Its not a drastic situation, but it is important to be aware of the effects this could have on your body. Symptoms can range from dry mouths, dry skin and eyes to fatigue and elevated stress levels. 

Another fact is that our defenses against diseases are comprised because of the dry air. Our normally moist throats and nasal passages can trap bacteria. Also, the air is recycled and is being shared by a hundred other people for however long the flight is. 

A simple solution to this is to pick up a bottle of water after going through the security screening (security will confiscate bottles of liquid). It might be a good idea to have some moisturiser on you as well for your skin (within the limits allowed through security). Drink plenty during the flight, and when you arrive at your destination. Also remember to walk around every once in a while, just to get the blood circulating. On most flights Ill get up and stretch a bit, my legs get so sore after a while! 

So remember next time you take a plane, drink a little extra water while your on board and keep yourself hydrated!

Some links: Cabin Humidity, Flight Attendant’s Tips

Drinking Salt Water!?

I recently came across a video documentary from Phillip Bloom, a filmmaker I like and admire. It’s about people who drink salt water from the sea in Durban in South Africa. It wasn’t something you expect to come across everyday! A fantastic little documentary, and worth a watch! But it got me thinking about salt water, and whether it has any benefits at all. 

I did come across a number of articles about salt water and how it actually has benefits to the body when drunk (in moderation ofcourse). It all relates back to the idea that your body not only needs water, but electrolytes and other minerals, such as salt, to keep running at optimum levels. We loose salt through normal urination, and sometimes what we eat may not be enough to replace the lost salts. If you suffer from dizziness and chronic fatigue, drinking water with a little salt may help (I advise you to do your own research before taking on any advice I place here, I’m just commenting on the info that’s out there). Another benefit that’s often mentioned is cleaning your colon. If you drink salt water first thing in the morning, apparently it flushes out your system (by causing multiple bowl movements) and can help with a number of bowel related problems. For more detail, go to this blog here.  And for a more detailed description of the benefits of salt water, try here. Its important to note though, that all articles don’t recommend it for everybody, and that high quality salts should be used, not regular table salt. 

Oh, and here’s the documentary about the Sea Water Drinkers in South Africa. Enjoy! 

Why drink water in the morning?

When I was in highschool, I remember a random piece of advice my science teacher gave me for my health. I don’t know why I remember it, but it still sticks with me and it rings true. He said,

‘Drinking water the first thing in the morning is the best thing for you. I drink water in the morning, hate the stuff, its disgusting, but I drink it.’  

I think the fact that he was so blunt about hating water in the morning was what made it memorable. But its true, I came across this article that gives a couple of good bits of info on why to drink water in the morning.

Firstly, it rehydrates your body. We loose a lot of water when we sleep from sweating and breathing and its important to top that up when we first wake. It also allows more oxygen to be carried in your blood and so keeps you energized and alert. 

Second, it aids in weight loss. I’ve already mentioned this, but more specifically it boosts your metabolism. It increases the rate at which you burn calories. In addition, it could curb your appetite or replace an unhealthy morning drink choice. 

Lastly, it can help prevent sicknesses. It maintains a healthy lymphatic system which in turn helps to fight off infections. Dehydration can contribute to higher levels of stress and sickness. 

So these are just a couple points on why drinking water first thing in the morning is a good choice. It’s easy too, just one glass can get you on your way to having a great day. Make it a habit! Your body will love you for it. 

Oh, and here’s a link to a blog that shows you how to naturally flavour water! Its actually really creative and interesting, I might give it a try!

http://www.theyummylife.com/Flavored_Water#CommentsForm

 

Hydration Myths

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In a previous blog, I mentioned the confusing amount of information and advice that is out there. This time I want to delve into some of the myths about hydration that is circulating.

One of the first big ones is the 8 glasses a day recommendation. It’s true that you do need to drink everyday in order to stay hydrated, but how much really depends on your individual circumstances. They vary day to day, with the weather, with what your eating and what activities your engaged in. If its a hot day, your doing exercise, you will have to drink more than on a cold day spent inside. If you don’t sweat much, then you don’t need to hydrate as much, but if your sweating a lot, you’ll need to replenish your fluids. It may seem rather obvious, but thirst is a good indicator of when to drink and how much. You also get plenty of water from the foods you eat. Fruit and veggies are good ways to get water into your system, as well as essential vitamins. Win-win.

 

Another myth is that your pee must be clear to be hydrated. Well, yes it does mean you are hydrated, but its actually a bit excessive. Your body is simply getting rid of the water it doesn’t need. What you want to aim for is a clear yellow colour. If it is dark, then you are dehydrated, and you’ll need to drink up. I don’t think its healthy to be obsessed with the colour of your pee in order to stay hydrated, but it could be a simple indicator for you, or reminder if you do need to drink some more.

 

Another one is that pure water is best when your dehydrated. Not always the case. When you sweat, you loose electrolytes and salts and this needs to be replaced in order for your body to be running at its best. Sports drinks are good for this, as well as fruit juices. In saying this though, sports drinks are not good if your not being physically active. It’s designed for those that are exercising; using energy and losing salts.  If your having a chill day and just want to drink something, water will be your best choice. 

 

For an extensive list, go here. 

What myths have you heard? What advice have you got to keep hydrated?

 

Water and Weight Loss

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I’ve been reading a lot on how drinking water can help you loose weight and thought I’d share the most interesting points here. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog how water is part of almost every function in your body, and this is an important point when thinking about loosing weight. Your body burns a number of calories just to stay alive. It’s called your basal metabolism. Its the amount of energy needed by your body to keep everything running. Now when your hydrated, your body is running at its optimum levels, burning calories and keeping everything going smooth, but when you get dehydrated, this drops and so does the amount of calories you burn. Toxins are also left over when you burn calories and without water, these toxins cannot be properly removed from your body. Dehydration also causes a reduction in blood volume which can mean less oxygen is carried to your muscles. Finally it affects your physical performance during exercise. Without being properly hydrated, you can feel tired and sluggish and thus miss out on getting a good workout. Your strength and endurance can drop if you fail to drink enough. Your muscles need water to keep themselves running smoothly and your joints will also benefit from being hydrated and lubricated. So if your looking to loose some weight, drinking plenty of water alongside a healthy diet, lifestyle and exercise can help you along your way. Having the determination to loose that weight is the most important thing though! 

How much to drink!?

The more I look into this, the more I see a lot of differing views on staying hydrated! It seems like such a simple thing, but there is a lot going on. Bottled water vs. tap water, the 8-cups-a-day recommendation, the pale-yellow-urine recommendation, the follow-your-thirst recommendation, what to do? Can you really trust your thirst to tell you when to drink? Maybe not? Why can’t things be simple? Then, to make things more complicated, there is a condition called hyponatremia which is when you have too much water in your system and your blood salt content drops to a dangerous levels. Most us however, don’t have to worry about that though, unless your a marathon runner. I also found an interesting blog that claimed manufacturers were behind a lot of the recommendations to drink 8 cups a day, rather than being based on solid science. 

So….

Too little water = bad

Too much water = bad

What have you heard?