When people think of a glass of water, many see it as half empty, while others see it as half full. Here’s another way to look at it: it’s brimming with the essential fluid of life. You probably don’t think of “plain old water” as a way to naturally reduce and even eliminate joint pain, combat premature aging, and lose weight naturally without dieting. Yet simply drinking enough water can dramatically increase your health. It’s practically free, only takes minutes out of your day, and doesn’t require a prescription or logging hours on the treadmill to get results. If you’re thinking, “Oh, I’ve heard that before” or “I drink plenty of liquids” read on for a few interesting facts that may change the way you think about water forever. The Water Secret to End Joint Pain Approximately 60 to 75 percent of the body, and 85 percent of the brain is composed of water. It’s the most abundant substance inside of us, and the universal solvent. Since the beginning of time, we have been water-based life-forms, and virtually every chemical and physical process in our bodies depends on water, from nerve transmission to circulation to motor and immune function. Water is the primary transport system in our bodies. It carries nutrients and oxygen into the cells and waste products out. When we don’t drink enough water, blood turns acidic and becomes thicker. Circulation decreases and toxins are not removed as efficiently. This creates a low-grade acid state in your body, which leads to disease. Are you dehydrated? Most people think of dehydration as simply the body lacking water. If you’re mildly dehydrated, you might feel thirsty or have a dry mouth. Other symptoms include fatigue, headaches, or dry skin. However, many people are chronically dehydrated and don’t know it. Symptoms of chronic, low-grade dehydration include poor circulation, inflammation, digestive disorders, eczema, premature aging including skin wrinkles, and joint pain. How dehydration causes joint pain Water is the main lubricant in the joint spaces, and helps prevent arthritis. This vital fluid cushions and lubricates joints and tissues, and improves flexibility and resilience to keep joints elastic. Since cartilage in the joints consists of 65 – 80 percent water, lubrication and flexibility all suffer when you don’t drink enough water. You’ll feel increased pain until you give your joints the water they need. Dr. F. Batmanghelidj (fondly referred to as “Dr. B” by many health practitioners), author of “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water”, says: “Initially, rheumatoid arthritic joints and their pain are to be viewed as indicators of water deficiency in the affected joint cartilage surfaces. Arthritis pain is another of the regional thirst signals of the body.” In his book, Dr. B explains the concept fully. Here are some key points about joint pain: 1. Well-hydrated cartilage reduces friction and abrasive damage and increases joint efficiency. 2. Pain in the joints is an indication that the joints are not fully hydrated. 3. Pain and inflammation of a rheumatoid joint are a thirst signal in your body, indicating a predisposition to more severe local damage. The good news is that pain and stiffness can remind you to drink more water. Pay attention to your body’s signals, and when you feel pain, start sipping. How to get water into your cells Your body digests two things: food and water. To your body, water is water, and everything else is food. So liquids such as coffee, tea, sports drinks or juices don’t hydrate your body completely and give it what it needs. Dr. B says that water combined with other ingredients “has an agenda” and you can’t count it as part of your daily water intake. Your body doesn’t recognize it as water, and digests it as food. Howard Murad, MD, author of "The Water Secret," says that you need to get water into your cells and keep it there, so that every cell can function at its full capacity. He suggests that the optimal way to do this is to “eat your water” with water-rich fruits and vegetables. He cautions to go organic, as many of these fruits and vegetables contain high levels of pesticides when grown conventionally. The consensus of many experts is that bulking up on water-rich foods is important, but you should still drink more water. You should get about 20 percent of your water from fruits, vegetables, herbal teas and soups, and increase the water you drink every day as well. Tips for Staying Hydrated 1. As soon as you wake up in the morning, drink two glasses of water to rehydrate. During the night you become dehydrated. Drinking water early in your day will get your circulation going and give you energy. If you generally don’t like to drink water, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to drink two glasses of H2O when you wake up. 2. To keep your body and brain functioning, drink half your daily water intake before noon, to revitalize your body. 3. Health experts advise that you drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day to stay hydrated. If you weigh 100 pounds, you would drink four or more 12-ounce glasses per day. 4. Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before lunch and before dinner. This will help your digestive track do a better job of processing your food, and will also help curb your appetite if you’re trying to lose weight. 5. Cold water feels great on a hot summer day, but in general, don’t drink icy cold water. It’s a shock to your digestive system and halts digestion. 6. Eat more fruits and vegetables with high water content. For example, lettuce, tomatoes, watermelon, berries and peaches can be 80-90% water. 7. Be aware that most tap water is treated with chemicals and additives. And most of the water you buy in bottles is no better than tap water. 8. Drink good quality water. A top priority for health is to install a good-quality water filter in your home. The initial investment will pay for itself if you stop buying bottled water.