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Water!
A drop of water plunges into a body of water, creating a ripple effect --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Water!

My greatest discovery this decade has been water. This sounds ridiculous, the answer I have been searching for all these years is right in front of my nose! I was dealing with a nasty injury that has been difficult to heal. I was already on a life mission to bring good health to my community and the world, however, this injury and the need to cure myself really increased my drive. I was determined to find the answer, and so it is – H20, Water.

Keep-Calm-and-Drink-More-WaterMy live revolves around water. I sail yachts for a living, and great amounts of pleasure, surf, kite board, swim daily, and live at the beach. I love the rain, I love jumping in puddles and then I bathe, cook, drink and even pee in water. Meanwhile I have been roaming the world searching for the perfect super food, a cure for cancer and an anti-inflammatory and longentivity. Bizarre, isn’t it, the answer was encompassing me the entire time, every single one of my cells is made up of water and swims in it.

So why was this discovery so big for me? I knew it was good for me, I have been a 2lt a day girl for 20 years or more. So, how can a Registered Nurse, Nutritionist and Naturopath, with a Masters in International & Public Health, be so surprised at this finding? Basically, because I had been led to believe that bottled and tap water in the Western World was fully drinkable, and in fact healthy. Well it is not, unfortunately, we are at risk every time we drink it, and I believe this is why I was not healing my bones and muscles.

It was a water report about our local water source that really changed my life. I had noticed I was not satisfied by water anymore. I craved the Tasmanian rain water (which I gathered because I could not drink the Tasmanian tap water, it made me feel tired and dull) my own Tasmanian Rain Tank water, and the Spring Water from the French Alps I was drinking prior to moving here. I was using a Brit filter, I was constantly dehydrated. I brought bottled water, I felt worse. Then I started to boil my water for 30 minutes, amazed at the layers of sediment which would gather on the bottom of the pan, I would strain the water, then add Himalayan rock salt and a touch of spirulina or blue green algae to put electrolytes back in, but it was still not enough. At this stage I realized I needed to work out what was in the water, and how I could treat it at home and safely drink it. This is what led me to this report.

I was shocked to find the water in Palma Mallorca, where I am based, has 9ppm (parts per million) of Chlorine in the municipal water. This is over 4 times the limit which is recommended by WHO (World Health Organisation). The municipal water in the Balearics (and many other places in the world) requires this much chlorine to counteract the E-Coli (a bacteria from faecal matter) in the soil, which remains from so many years of farming these lands.

Water2Chlorine is a cleaner. It is great in vegetables, such as celery, as it cleans out the body. However, when it is in water, added as a chemical, it indiscriminately cleans out all the good and bad nutrients and bacteria in your system. While I had noted that chlorinated water was gross to swim in, and chlorine tasting water was not real flash, I had not realized the massive effects it had on the old body. Even those times where I was in a hotel or somewhere where the bottled water ran out and I took a swig from the tap, I had no idea that I was endangering my health.

Before I really get on my high horse, I must digress and discuss the benefits of water: Water improves oxygen delivery to cells; transports nutrients; enables cellular hydration; moistens oxygen for easier breathing; cushions bones and joints; absorbs shocks to joints and organs; regulates body temperature; removes wastes; flushes toxins; prevents tissues from sticking; lubricates joints; improves cell communications; maintains normal electrical properties of cells; empowers the body’s natural healing process; adds weight to faeces.

Every cell is basically made up of water (intercellular fluid), every cell then floats in a sea of salt water (extra cellular fluid) our bodies are 70% water. When you consider this, isn’t it bizarre that we are obsessed with all that dehydrates us: coffee; alcohol; sport; heat; air-conditioning; carbonated drinks; pollution; smoking and pharmaceuticals. Imagine if a litre of good quality water had the same effect as an anti inflammatory! I have often dehydrated myself, on purpose. I did it for yacht racing for years to weigh in at the right weight for racing. I also did it racing on smaller race boats, with no toilet, so I would not have to pee into a bucket and carry it past the fellas. Once this even caused my kidneys so much distress I ended up in hospital quite unwell. My friends whom are models regularly take diuretics, to make them, pee 2 kilos of fluids and flatten their tummy for bikini shoots. Many people only have one or two cups of tea or coffee a day, especially the elderly. Often we are so busy at work; we do not even have time to sip water. I was constantly dehydrated when I was nursing full time, pushing fluids into patients, but never myself.

While we have all experienced the effects of dehydration, even minor dehydration can cause major problems. Hydration is actually a massive public health issue that is in great need of attention.

Mild dehydration causes dizziness, lethargy, headaches, muscle aches, depression, and loss of appetite, extreme appetite and confusion. Intermediate signs of dehydration are heart burn, joint pain, back pain, migraines, headache, fibromyalgia, constipation, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome and angina or chest pain. Desperate signs of dehydration are asthma, allergies, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, and auto immune disorders such as lupus and psoriasis and chronic fatigue.

Adequate hydration can improve allergies, asthma, high and low blood pressure, obesity, Alzheimer’s, back pain, migraines and depression. Adequate hydration is 2 cups (200ml) an hour of good quality water. If you have a cup of coffee or a unit of alcohol or carbonated drink, or a cigarette you must replace it with 1 litre of fluid. We do know hydration makes you feel better, if you come into hospital we put you on a drip and you will feel better. When you have joint pain we reach for painkillers, such as anti inflammatory, we just hand them out and never check your water and salt levels (which can be done simply with a urine test).

Water balance is maintained by electrolytes. In early dehydration there is insufficient water to reach the cells. The cells then have to draw upon the extra cellular fluid; this causes the brain to tell us to retain water, to keep the cells safe. This causes edema, water retention, which is a primary cause of high blood pressure.

So, how do you know if you are dehydrated? Look at your pee! It needs to be a really light yellow colour, all the time, even first thing in the morning (when did you last see that?). If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Statistics prove that hydrated people are less likely to get cancer. People who drink only 5 glasses of water a day are 45% less likely to get kidney cancer. Why? Simple, water flushes out the toxins from the body before they can do any damage.

Ok, simple, you have got the message, drink more water. The problem now is that our water sources are in dire staits, you basically cannot drink the tap water – especially in the western world. Current EPA (environmental protection agency) guidelines allow “acceptable” levels of pollutants such as chlorine, lead, fluoride, arsenic, and aluminum in our water. In water tests I did in Hobart, Perth and Palma Mallorca, I found: Chlorine, Fluoride, Arsenic, Cyanide, Nitrate, Atrazine and Halacacetic acids.

Chlorine is added as a sanitizer. It removes the nasty bacteria such as E-coli, MRSA (golden staph) etc. While it eats up all the nasty bacteria, it also eats up all the good bacteria (a bit like antibiotics) and nutrients in your system. Chlorine is linked to asthma, eczema, psoriasis, bladder cancer, heart disease, miscarriage, and birth defects. The best way to remove it is filtering it through a carbon block filter. A quick fix is at least refrigerating your water, or at least running it through an average filter (such as a brit filter) and refrigerating it. The chill will get rid of some of the chlorine at least. The carbon block filter will remove 99.9% of chlorine, if it has small pores and is of good quality.

Fluoride is added to water to prevent cavities. It is a pretty controversial topic at the moment. It is definitely worth investigating and making up your own mind. I grew up on fluoridates water (Tasmania was, proudly, the first place in the world to get fluoridated water) and still go cavities, and we were not even allowed to eat sugar, sweets (lollies) or carbonated drinks. Basically Fluoride is toxic, it is fatal in large doses and is actually the by product of uranium environment. It is linked to osteoporosis, bone cancer, and Down syndrome. It can also be filtered out with a good carbon block filter, or reverse osmosis treatment.

Lead leeches into municipal water from distribution pipes, especially in older cities whose pluming was done before laws were passed to restrict lead in pluming. Lead poisoning causes brain damage and lesser intelligence, high blood pressure and kidney problems.

Organic arsenic occurs naturally in rocks, soil and water and plants and animals. High inorganic arsenic levels can also come from certain fertilizers and animal feeding operations. Inorganic arsenic can cause stomach lining irritation, intestinal irritation, decreased production of red and white blood cells, skin changes and lung irritation. Organic arsenic cannot cause cancer or DNA mutation, but can cause nerve injury and stomachaches.

Exposure to inorganic arsenic can cause various health effects, such as irritation of the stomach and intestines, decreased production of red and white blood cells, skin changes and lung irritation. Organic arsenic can cause neither cancer, nor DNA damage. But exposure to high doses may cause certain effects to human health, such as nerve injury and stomachaches.

Cyanide is a byproduct of treating waste with chlorine. Cyanide can cause cell death, fatigue, shortness of breath, seizures and heart disease.

Nitrate is a byproduct of animal waste and fertilizer. It can cause anencephaly in fetus or blue baby syndrome if ingested in 10ppm (the EPA states 10ppm is a safe level though). Atrazine is a pesticide which seeps into ground water. It can cause heart, lung and kidney congestion, weight loss, and adrenal damage, muscle spasm, blood pressure issues and prostate cancer. Halcacetic acids come from waste treatment process. They cause brain cancer, lukaemia, and miscarriage.

Now, don’t think bottled water keeps you safe. Bottled water companies do not even have to disclose their water analysis (which at least municipal tap water providers do). Bottled water costs 2000 times more than tap water and it is a disaster for the environment. It takes twice the amount of water to fill a bottle, and the plastic is inorganic and the plastic water bottle industry uses 86 million barrels of oil a year to manufacture the bottles.

A tank of rain water is generally safe, providing you live in an unpolluted area, and the tanks and fittings and pipes are all “food grade” materials. Many old houses, especially shacks have old lead and copper pipes and galvanized tin tanks, whose galvanization has worn out. There are also many microbes which get in the water from the drains. However I’d drink the microbes from a dead possum any day compared to drinking chlorine and fluoride. It must also be noted that our entire water table is polluted now and many inorganic chemicals are found in even the most pure rain. Also, if your tank water runs out, you are usually buying municipal water and hence, you are lured into a false sense of security and think your drinking pure rain water, that some old codger actually filled up in town from his backyard hose, which is municipal water. Test your tank water.

So the answer, it’s actually pretty simple. Filter your own clean water and carry it with you everywhere. After a year of solid research I have chosen simple carbon block filters, with small pores. The smaller the pores, the cleaner the water. I have one on each tap (I’d have the whole house done, if I could only find the mains for our apartment and fit it!). I travel with one for hotels, and yachts. Plus I have a day to day one in a drink bottle that I take everywhere. For my main water tap, I enrich it with an ionizer. Ionised water is generally called kangan water these days. The combination of the carbon filter and ionizer has truly changed my life, not to mention my communities. I have people rocking up with their tanks to be filled daily. The combination of the carbon block filter and kangan water produces water with the same properties as a glacial spring. Not only does it taste amazing, like the water we use to drink out of our rivers, I have noticed a 90% recovery from my injury, loss of joint and bone aches, improved knees, nil constipation, flatter stomach, nil bloating, weight loss, younger skin, no knee or hip or back pain, no dry lips, softer hair, more energy, stable moods, needing less sleep, improved memory, increased motivation and I am really enjoying a speedy recovery, nearly medication free, from an injury I was told I would have for life and was prescribed a range of opiates and strong pain killers for.

Amanda is a Registered Nurse, Nutritionist and Sailor with a master’s in International & Public Health (Marine Medicine). She is the founder of Palma Health, an organization that aims to reduce stress in yachting and runs courses in Health, Wellness, Hydration and Stress Management online and live in Palma de Mallorca.

Check out www.palmahealth.com

For more information and a FREE water consultation contact Amanda on 600073217