By Charlotte LaGuardia
Seventy-five percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated—experiencing symptoms like decreased immunity, joint pain, difficulty losing weight, brain fog, fatigue, bad breath and dry skin—when they don’t have to be.
Contrary to popular belief, hydration is not about chugging water all day. Hydration requires an elegant balance between what you drink and eat, and how much you move. In the body, water plays many vital roles. It improves digestion by breaking down food into molecules for absorption. Water then transports nutrients and oxygen into cells so they can work properly. It also supports our detoxification systems through sweat and urination.
The latest research from The University of Washington, Harvard University and Cornell University highlights a new phase of water, a fourth stage referred to as EZ: gel or structured water. Scientists at Cornell suggest that this phase of water, a charged state found to be incredibly healing and energizing, can protect DNA strands, thereby reducing the effects of environmental factors on genetic risks and chronic diseases.
If you have ever soaked chia seeds, or seen the inside of an aloe vera plant, you have witnessed this fourth phase of water. Structured water, found within plant cells and fibers, is denser, contains more oxygen, and is negatively charged, which gives energy to cells. According to the Hydration Foundation, fresh foods can be two-thirds more hydrating than a glass of water.
The benefits of optimal hydration include increased mental clarity, sustained energy throughout the day, and improved visual acuity. To improve hydration, Dr. Dana Cohen and Gina Bria, authors of the comprehensive liquid intake guide Quench, recommend the following:
- DRINK: Start your day with 16 ounces of filtered water with just a pinch of sea salt.
- EAT: Consume five to nine cups of water-rich vegetables per day. A smoothie makes this really easy. Fill up on lettuce, bone broth, apples, cucumbers, celery, radishes, zucchini, watermelon, starfruit, strawberries, nuts and seeds. Avoid dehydrating foods like alcohol, sugar, grains, starches, meats, cheese, coffee and tea.
- MOVE: Getting up often to stretch and walk around helps the body transport water through its fascia system. This is important to spread oxygen and nutrients, as well as remove toxins.