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  • Are you literally running on empty after the holidays? It’s not only all those high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar celebratory over-indulgence meals, it’s most likely dehydration.

    Take the Following Facts to Heart, literally:

    Your body is composed of roughly 69 percent water. When you become even mildly dehydrated (even losing as little as two percent of water) here’s what can happen…

    1. Mood swings unrelated to other extenuating circumstances.
    2. Decreased energy levels and inability to rejuvenate stamina.
    3. Cognitive function decreases (brain-fog for example).

    The following conditions are caused or accelerated by dehydration and most people do not consider the consequences…

    • Diabetics and especially those who are not yet aware they are clinically diabetic. As blood sugar levels rise, your body attempts to eliminate excess glucose through increased urine output—causing more dehydration.
    • That female monthly menstrual cycle influences levels of body fluids, estrogen and progesterone swing up-anddown, making hydration even more important. For women who experience heavy periods, it’s not only blood they lose; it’s water as well.
    • If you must take prescription medications, be sure and check the list of side-effects before taking. Many meds actually have a diuretic effect—increased urine output puts you at higher risk of dehydration.
    • That fight-or-flight response of stress causes your adrenal glands to pump out stress hormones and can lead to chronic adrenal burnout. What most people don’t consider is that the adrenals also produce a hormone called aldosterone, which is responsible in regulating the body’s fluid and electrolyte levels. When chronic adrenal fatigue is present, the body’s production of aldosterone drops—triggering dehydration and low electrolyte levels. Keep in mind that electrolytes are the body’s “electrical system” so it’s no wonder messages get crossed or don’t communicate like in decreased cognitive function (brain-fog).
    • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very challenging condition because its symptoms include nausea and chronic diarrhea—causing even more dehydration.

    The Way I See It…
    Hydration is SO easy and readily available…why would you deprive your body of a simple “fuel” to keep it running at optimum health and speed? The old excuse, “I don’t have time to drink all THAT water” is just that, an excuse, not a reason. Trick yourself anyway that works into drinking more water or herbal teas.

    I fill four quart-sized decanters each morning with water and/or herbal teas. I work very long hours and by the end of the day, my decanters are empty. However, the trick for me is to drink out of a “fat” straw. My sipper cup has a fat straw inserted and both are made of BPA-free material—no, bpa-free isn’t the total answer but for now at least not as toxic as the soft plastic varieties. I also have a stainless steel water bottle with built-in straw and water filter to avoid buying water in plastic, especially when traveling. When you drink out of a straw, your body craves twice as much water and you consume it with half the amount of effort—try it—it works! Remember that herbal teas and sparkling waters count as water as long as you don’t add anything like sugar. However, you can sweeten tea with a natural no-calorie alternative like Stevia or Lakanto (aka Monk Fruit).

  • Your body is about 60 percent water. There’s water inside your cells and out. There’s water in your bloodstream and in your organs. There’s even water inside your bones (synovial fluid) and your spinal cord (spinal fluid).

    Like any healthy body of water — a swimming pool, a lake, an ocean — the water in your body needs to stay CLEAN. And to stay clean, it needs a FILTER.

    Fortunately, your body has one. In fact, it has two — your kidneys. They filter out toxins and wastes and send them to the bladder for disposal.

    The kidneys also help control the alkaline/acid balance of the body (critical for optimal health), cellular levels of electrolytes (potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium), and blood pressure levels.

    Meanwhile, your bladder is the storage container that holds your urine, so you can control your urination to when it’s convenient. Unless of course your bladder is irritated, in which case you go when IT wants you to! If your kidneys and bladder are in tiptop shape, you’ll feel clean and clear from the inside out, helping you maintain abundant energy and a sharp mind.

    Here are a few simple but highly effective tips for the care and maintenance of your filtering system.

    Drink Plenty Of Water
    It’s hard for your kidneys to flush toxins out of your system if you’re dehydrated. But exactly how much water should you drink every day? There are a lot of different recommendations — and I think you should ignore them all! Just check your lips and mouth. If they’re dry, you need to drink more water. It’s as simple as that!

    Another simple method is to check the color of your urine. If it’s a dull yellow, then there’s not enough water diluting it and you should drink more. (Urine can also turn bright yellow from taking B vitamins, but that’s different from the murky yellow of overly concentrated urine.)

    A third method is that when you feel tired, drink a glass of water and see if your energy improves in a couple of minutes. If it does, you were dehydrated.

    Another method, which I often use to tell if I’m dehydrated: when I’m thirsty, I can easily chug a whole glass of water; when I’m not thirsty, I prefer to sip it.

    My final tip? To minimize your intake of possibly toxic chemicals in the water supply, drink filtered tap water. I’ve found that MultiPure makes excellent home water filters, which you can easily install at the faucet or the sink.

    Keep The System Sterile
    Your body’s filtering system functions best when bacteria in the system are kept to a minimum. Fortunately, the body does an excellent job of ridding the system of bacteria, washing them out every time you urinate. But two tips can help:

    1. After a bowel movement, women should wipe front to back, which helps keep nasty bowel bacterial (E. coli) from reaching the bladder.
    2. If you experience urinary burning or urgency, try Dmannose. D-mannose is a natural substance that stops E. coli from sticking to bladder walls. Use ½ to 1 teaspoon, dissolved in water, every two to three hours. (Children under five should use half that dose.) To outflank frequent bladder problems, take ½ to 1 teaspoon a day. Another good idea is that if you tend to develop bladder problems after sexual intercourse (which can also deliver E. coli where it’s not wanted), take a dose one hour before and another dose just after intercourse.

    Stop Calcium Crystals From Forming
    The kidney filters electrolytes like calcium — but too much calcium can precipitate into sharp-edged crystals that can literally rip up the delicate tissues of the kidney and the urethra (the tube between the kidney and bladder). Fortunately the amount of calcium in the diet doesn’t cause these crystals. So enjoy high-calcium foods!

    The main way to keep calcium dissolved so it doesn’t form crystals? Get enough magnesium, which counterbalances calcium. 200 mg a day is a good dose. Vitamin B6 (25 mg daily) is also helpful. You can get that amount of magnesium and B6 in the Energy Revitalization System vitamin powder.

    Increase Your Potassium Intake
    Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels also keeps your kidneys healthy. And the best way to keep blood pressure optimal is by getting enough of the mineral potassium. Coconut water is an excellent source. (I drink Zico, the Safeway brand — it’s 100 percent natural and inexpensive.) Tomato juice and V8 juice also deliver plenty of potassium. Bananas and avocado are excellent food sources.

    Other nutrients that optimize blood pressure include magnesium and coenzyme Q10.

    Cut Back On Sugar
    Maintaining optimal blood sugar levels also helps protect your kidneys. The best way to do that is to not overdose on sugar! The average American eats 140 to 150 pounds of sugar a year. An easy way to start cutting back? Limit (or completely eliminate) your intake of the four types of foods that are loaded with added sugar: fast food, processed food, sodas and fruit drinks.

    Overcome Leaks
    As women age, they can start to leak urine during laughing, sneezing or coughing. An easy solution? Use vaginal bioidentical estrogen/progesterone cream, applied daily by the urethra, the outlet for urine.

    Kegel exercises — repetitive squeezing of the pelvic muscles used to stop the flow of urine — can also help. Simply tighten the muscle for a few seconds while laughing, sneezing or coughing, to decrease the risk of linking. Over time, using Kegels to prevent leakage will become second nature. To learn how to do Kegel exercises, see this online guide from the Mayo Clinic.

    If there is blood visible in your urine, and you have fever and back pain, see your doctor immediately — these are signs of a kidney infection, which can cause severe damage to your kidneys if left untreated.