Inflammation is the body's natural response to irritants as it attempts to eliminate them. These irritants can be anything from pollens and other allergens to disease-causing organisms. A healthy body can often successfully ward off many of these irritants, making inflammation a temporary and mild discomfort. Sometimes, though, inflammation can last for years and even lead to a debilitating condition that can have long-term negative consequences.
Various factors may contribute to chronic inflammation, but it's often linked to obesity, excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks and unhealthy lifestyle choices. It is also associated with a host of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes and hyperthyroidism, to name a few.
Health professionals have always recommended an anti-inflammatory diet rich in natural antioxidants and plenty of fresh drinking water to help manage inflammation. Water in particular is recommended because it can flush toxins and other irritants out of the system.
Our bodies comprise 70% water. That water must be continuously replaced. What we replace it with makes a profound difference to our health. Unfortunately, in today's society, too many people replace their fluids by drinking soft drinks, coffee and other highly acidic fluids. This is why health professionals would stress water as the best replacement fluid. While that has to be a step in the right direction, many researchers believe that in order to maintain optimum health and reduce the risk of inflammatory disorders, such as arthritis, from occurring, we need to do more.
What Are the Symptoms of Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation may go unnoticed for years, but as it progresses, it causes joint pain and swelling, redness in the affected area, fatigue, high blood pressure, headaches and weight gain. As the condition worsens, it can damage the arteries and prevent the muscles from functioning properly. A c-reactive protein (CRP) test can determine the likely causes of inflammation. Research shows that bacterial infection, exposure to toxic chemicals, traumatic injuries and autoimmune conditions are common triggers of an inflammatory response.
How Does Water Manage Inflammation?
Drinking the recommended daily amount of water per day and eating anti-inflammatory foods, such as cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, fish and nuts, will help improve the body's inflammatory response. Water supports the production of lymph that carries the white blood cells throughout the body to fight infections.
A generous water intake reduces your risk of acquiring all sorts of health conditions, including cancer, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and neurodegenerative disorders. Drinking plenty of water also helps relieve fatigue, abdominal pain, mouth ulcers, fever and rashes.
What Is the Best Water to Drink?
Many researchers believe that acidosis, or an excess of acids in the body, is endemic in society today and may be a direct cause of most unhealthy inflammatory conditions. Many go so far as to say that an acidic body predisposes us to most diseases, including life-threatening cardiovascular disease. Ideally, our bodies' pH level should have an 80% alkaline, 20% acid balance. Because the pH balance of the water we drink can have a direct affect on our internal pH balance, researchers believe we should choose our drinking water as carefully as we choose the foods we eat.
Most health conscious Australians now know that tap water is not ideal for drinking and are either buying their drinking water or having water purifiers installed in their homes. However, some of the filters used in making home and commercial drinking water may be better than others for managing inflammation. Some filters, while designed to remove impurities from the water, do nothing to improve its pH balance and may in fact also remove healthy minerals along with the unhealthy substances.
While the science behind water filtration systems is very complex, in a nutshell, it is the minerals in the water that are acid or alkaline, not the water itself. Acidic minerals are those that oxidise or rust. Alkaline minerals, on the other hand, contain negative ions that energise the body and help fight inflammation. For this reason, the best water to drink is believed to be ionized water. According to ionized water filtration advocates, this type of filtration system has two advantages:
- It does not filter out healthy minerals.
- It gives the water a negative electrical charge, which has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
How Much Water Should I Drink per Day?
One prevailing opinion is that we should all drink at least 8 glasses of water per day in order to maintain optimum health. However, many health professionals dispute this claim and say we should focus more on drinking water instead of sugary drinks when we feel thirsty and not worry as much about the quantity of water we drink. They point out that we need far more water during the hot summer months and when we exercise than we need in cooler climates or when we are resting.
We all like to have a "cuppa" throughout the day and in the evening. This can be a great way to manage inflammation. Green tea is known to be high in antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation and fight disease. If you drink green tea made with ionized water regularly, it may be the best "medicine" you can take.
What Are Other Ways to Reduce Inflammation?
Steer clear of foods that are packed with refined sugar and carbs to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Sugar prompts the liver to produce fatty acids which increase inflammation levels, leading to heart disease, obesity and Type II diabetes.
In addition to that, getting an adequate amount of probiotics, like yogurt and kefir, and consuming more foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids will provide your body with anti-inflammatory effects. Cooking oil, among other kitchen staples we use to prepare our meals, also contribute to inflammation. Be more picky with the quality of oil that you cook with to protect your cells. As much as possible, stay away from corn oil and vegetable oil as these are high in omega-6 fatty acids that are among the building blocks of inflammation. You can substitute them for healthier oils like coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil.
If you're manifesting symptoms of inflammation and want to consult a natural therapist in your area, you may check the Natural Therapy Pages' complete listing of highly competent health practitioners.