We live in a world full of toxins; some avoidable and others not. In the air you breathe, the food you eat, and even the products you use to clean your home, there are substances that can interfere with vital organ function and have a negative impact on your overall well-being. It’s important to implement practical techniques that will help reduce your toxic load.
Increased risk for various allergies, digestive ailments, respiratory issues, and impaired immune system function have all been associated with excessive exposure to environmental toxins.
Although minimizing exposure is the first step, your body has vital organs and endogenous mechanisms to regulate and reduce your toxic load.
According to research, maintaining adequate levels of hydration may be one of the most important factors in supporting the health of your liver and kidneys—the internal organs that filter blood, detoxify chemicals, and assist the body in the excretion of waste and toxins.
Water supports your cleansing organs in several different ways: helping flush liver tissues, assisting the kidneys in filtering and excreting waste, and even in mitigating risk for disease.
In a state of dehydration, acid and waste products build up, causing the kidneys to become congested with myoglobin (proteins that carry and store oxygen in muscle cells). The risk for kidney stone formation and urinary tract infections greatly increases, making it more difficult to control toxic load.
Fortunately, improving hydration is a simple change that can lead to big results. Ensuring your water intake is adequate to support toxic load management is possible with three fundamental lifestyle behaviors:
1. Eat a Whole Foods Diet
You receive as much as 30 percent of your daily water from your diet. Foods with high water compositions, especially whole fruits and vegetables, are an important contributor to overall fluid intake. In their natural form, fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, watermelon, and leafy greens have a higher than 90 percent water content. Processed foods, especially those high in sugar, can have a hypernatremic effect, actually drawing water from your body. Additionally, research has shown that if you are drinking your calories, you may be tricking your body into a false sense of adequate hydration.
2. Drink Water at Every Meal.
To optimize digestion and support the proper function of the liver and kidneys, you should be consuming water with every meal. Personally, I recommend drinking most of your water between meals, so you don’t dilute the hydrochloric acid in the stomach which is needed for optimal digestion. But you can use meal times to remind you to drink your water.
Water homeostasis is highly dependent on regular fluid intake, and the kidneys work most efficiently to excrete toxins when there is a fluid excess. Dehydration forces your cells to hold onto water to make up for insufficient intake.
Furthermore, the ability of your kidneys to eliminate water is limited, making it important to hydrate throughout the day as opposed to drinking a large amount of water in one sitting.
We all have different water requirements based on health, activity level, amount of dehydrating foods and beverages being consumed, etc. A good rule of thumb is to try drinking half your weight in ounces of water per day.
3. Improve Hydration with Sleep
In a study published in the journal Sleep, researchers discovered that those who averaged six hours of sleep or less showed several indicators of dehydration. The link between sleep and hydration is a little-known hormone called vasopressin, whose primary purpose is to communicate with the kidneys to balance the amount of water in your blood.
Like many of our physiological processes, the secretion of vasopressin is regulated by our body’s circadian rhythm. While the hypothalamus secretes a consistent stream of vasopressin throughout the day, the vasopressin release peaks in the final stage of your sleep cycle (the rapid eye movement (REM) stage).
If late nights or early mornings are preventing you from going through all five sleep phases, you are missing out on peak vasopressin secretion cycles, making it more difficult to maintain sufficient levels of hydration and manage your overall toxic load.
Make Water a Priority
Exposure to harmful toxins is an unavoidable reality of modern life, but supporting the mechanisms that regulate toxic load may be just be an extra glass of water away. To maintain adequate levels of hydration, start by eating a balanced whole foods diet, consuming water throughout the day, and prioritizing sleep.
How to Make Your Water Taste Good
To add delicious flavor to your water and further support your detox organs, I recommend adding a couple drops of lemon or wild orange essential oil to your glass of water throughout the day.
If you’d like to boost hydration and incorporate electrolytes, I highly recommend a hydration powder called Hydrate. The ingredients are super clean, no added sugar, gluten-free, paleo, keto-friendly. This is great to after exercise, when you’re traveling, or anytime you feel you need a hydration boost.