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.
The Role of Hydration in Managing Inflammation
While there are various strategies to combat inflammation, one often overlooked yet powerful approach is proper hydration. Adequate hydration plays a vital role in managing inflammation by supporting the body's natural detoxification processes and promoting overall health. Let's explore the benefits of hydration in managing inflammation and how you can incorporate it into your daily routine.
Flush out Toxins
Water acts as a natural cleanser, helping to flush out toxins and waste products from the body. When we are well-hydrated, our kidneys are better able to filter waste and remove inflammatory byproducts. Staying hydrated ensures that these substances are efficiently eliminated, reducing the burden on our organs and helping to manage inflammation.
Support Organ Function
Our organs require proper hydration to function optimally. When we are dehydrated, our organs, including the liver and lymphatic system, may not work as efficiently, leading to a buildup of toxins and increased inflammation. By maintaining adequate hydration levels, we support the optimal function of these organs, aiding in inflammation management.
Promote Overall Health
Hydration is essential for maintaining overall health, and a healthy body is better equipped to manage inflammation. Water plays a crucial role in supporting immune function, lubricating joints, regulating body temperature and facilitating nutrient absorption. By keeping our bodies well-hydrated, we provide the foundation for effective inflammation management.
Incorporating proper hydration into our daily routine is a simple yet powerful strategy for managing inflammation. By staying hydrated, we can support our body's natural detoxification processes, promote organ function and maintain overall health. Remember to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day and listen to your body's signals for hydration. With this proactive approach to hydration, you can take a significant step towards effectively managing inflammation and improving your overall wellbeing.
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
- high blood pressure
- 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.
Water Quality and Inflammation
Water is an essential resource for our wellbeing, but have you ever considered how water quality can impact inflammation in the body?
The quality of the water we consume plays a significant role in our overall health, including the management of inflammation. Contaminants present in tap water, such as heavy metals, chlorine or pesticides, can contribute to inflammation and affect our wellbeing.
Let's delve into the connection between water quality and inflammation, highlighting the importance of clean, purified water sources for optimal health.
Contaminants and Inflammation: Tap water can contain various contaminants that have the potential to trigger or worsen inflammation in the body. Heavy metals like lead, arsenic and mercury, when present in water, can have inflammatory effects. Chlorine, commonly used as a disinfectant in tap water, may disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in our gut, leading to inflammation. Pesticides and other chemical pollutants in water sources can also contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress.
Impact on the Immune System: Water quality affects the immune system, which plays a crucial role in regulating inflammation. Contaminants in water can weaken the immune system's response, making the body more susceptible to inflammation. These contaminants may disrupt the immune system's ability to identify and neutralise harmful substances, leading to chronic inflammation.
The Importance of Filtration: To ensure optimal water quality and minimise the risk of inflammation, it is crucial to use water filtration systems. Filtration systems, such as activated carbon filters or reverse osmosis systems, can effectively remove contaminants from tap water, providing a cleaner and safer drinking water source. Investing in a quality water filter can significantly reduce the potential inflammatory effects of contaminants in your water supply.
Alternative Water Sources: In addition to filtration systems, exploring alternative water sources can contribute to reducing inflammation. Natural spring water or purified bottled water from trusted sources are viable alternatives to tap water. These options often undergo rigorous testing and filtration processes, ensuring that they are free from harmful contaminants that may contribute to inflammation.
Water quality plays a crucial role in inflammation management and overall health. Contaminants present in tap water can exacerbate inflammation and compromise the immune system. By investing in water filtration systems or opting for clean, purified water sources, we can minimise the potential inflammatory effects of contaminants.
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.
Infused Water for Inflammation Management
When it comes to managing inflammation, sometimes the simplest remedies can have the most profound effects. One such remedy is infused water, which combines the hydrating benefits of water with the anti-inflammatory properties of various ingredients.
Infused water is not only a refreshing and flavourful beverage but can also help support inflammation management. Let's explore the concept of infused water for inflammation and provide recipes and suggestions to incorporate anti-inflammatory ingredients into your hydration routine.
The Power of Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients
Infused water allows you to infuse water with a range of ingredients that possess anti-inflammatory properties. Ingredients like cucumber, ginger, lemon and turmeric have been shown to have natural anti-inflammatory effects in the body. These ingredients contain bioactive compounds that can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms associated with chronic inflammation.
Cucumber and Mint Infusion
Cucumbers are hydrating and rich in antioxidants, while mint leaves provide a refreshing flavour and additional anti-inflammatory benefits. To create a cucumber and mint infusion, simply slice a cucumber and add it to a pitcher of water along with a handful of fresh mint leaves. Allow the ingredients to infuse in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. The resulting infused water is not only hydrating but also aids in reducing inflammation.
Ginger and Lemon Infusion
Ginger possesses potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, while lemon adds a burst of vitamin C and additional flavour. To make a ginger and lemon infusion, grate a small piece of fresh ginger and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a pitcher of water. Stir well and let it infuse for a few hours. This zesty and invigorating infused water can help soothe inflammation and promote overall wellness.
Turmeric and Orange Infusion
Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful compound renowned for its anti-inflammatory effects. Oranges add a citrusy flavour and are a great source of vitamin C. Combine a teaspoon of ground turmeric with freshly squeezed orange juice in a pitcher of water. Mix well and let it infuse for a few hours. This vibrant infused water provides a delicious way to incorporate turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties into your daily routine.
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.
Clinical Trials and Studies on Water's Role in Alleviating Inflammation
Clinical trials and studies have explored the effects of drinking water on inflammation management, shedding light on its therapeutic benefits. Here, below, we summarise some key findings from clinical trials and studies that highlight the role of water in alleviating inflammation and its potential as a simple yet effective intervention.
Study 1: A randomised controlled trial published in the Journal of Nutrition found that increasing water consumption was associated with lower concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation. The study involved middle-aged and older adults who were instructed to increase their daily water intake for a period of 12 months. The results indicated that higher water consumption was associated with reduced levels of CRP, suggesting a potential anti-inflammatory effect.
Study 2: In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, researchers investigated the effects of increased water intake on pro-inflammatory markers in healthy individuals. The participants were instructed to increase their daily water consumption for a period of 6 weeks. The findings revealed a significant decrease in pro-inflammatory markers, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), indicating that increased water intake had a modulating effect on inflammation.
Study 3: A clinical trial published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition explored the impact of water intake on patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic inflammatory condition. Participants were divided into two groups, with one group consuming an additional 1.5 liters of water daily for 8 weeks. The results showed that the group with increased water intake experienced significant improvements in disease activity, as measured by disease activity scores and inflammatory markers.
Study 4: In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers examined the effects of water consumption on markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in overweight women. The participants were instructed to drink an additional 1.5 liters of water per day for 8 weeks. The study revealed a reduction in markers of oxidative stress and inflammation, suggesting that increased water intake can have a positive impact on these factors.
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.
Originally published on May 19, 2018