Tip: Hydrate for Better Health
Growing up in Hong Kong, I drank a lot of water
as that area is often very hot. When I came to
the United States, it was quite a surprise to
see that people here did not drink water as we
did in Asia. Fortunately, this bad habit is changing
and it's now a common sight to see people carrying
and drinking from water bottles.
only way the human body eliminates toxins and
wastes is through urination, and this requires
adequate water intake. First, the liver detoxifies
the wastes and allows them to be excreted by the
kidneys. The kidneys work like a filter and good
hydration keeps the filter from becoming clogged;
the kidneys can then dump the wastes efficiently.
Insufficient water consumption is one reason people
have constipation, and can also contribute to
the bladder infections often experienced by women.
The human kidney starts to deteriorate after age
30. It does not regenerate itself and can only
go downhill. The liver can regenerate and continue
to grow, but the kidneys can only shrink. The
kidneys dump out the junk in the blood, and when
there is not enough hydration, some kidney cells
die. About the only simple way to minimize kidney
damage is to push more water through and flush
Hydration is often the simplest and most effective
health habit for people to adopt. A normal person
should drink as much water as she or he can tolerate,
or which conditions allow—improved hydration
requires easy access to restroom facilities and,
at work, time for restroom breaks.
In 2003, I took a study trip abroad and a classmate
told me he hadn't needed to urinate for a few
hours. He appeared proud of his ability and I
felt terribly sad when I heard his words. To me
it was the same as telling me he was proud of
constipation. All the waste products in the body
get out by urine, and it is not an achievement
to keep them inside.
I tell patients that if there is any color in
the urine, they need to drink more water. Urine
should look almost like water—colorless.
The brain keeps track of the amount of water in
the body. The amount is critical and needs to
be in delicate balance.
A good tip is to gauge the amount of water you
normally drink; then start drinking double that
amount. The body dumps out the excess and keeps
all it needs.
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