I’m a salt-a-holic. Sea salt, mainly. But lots of it. When I met New York-based homeopath Jutta Kay over a dinner that I was happily salting, I was astonished to hear that my liberal salt consumption, coupled with lots of water, was similar to The Water Cure created by Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj.
The sketch version of the basic recipe of The Water Cure by Dr. Batmanghelidj:
1. divide your body weight by 2= the number of ounces a day of water you drink a day. For example, I weigh 115lbs, so I should have about 56 oz. of water a day.
2. add 1/4 tsp. natural sea salt per 32 oz. of water.
3. drink an extra glass of water for each glass of caffeine you have
4. liberally sea-salt your food as long as you are drinking lots of water!
I’m also not a doctor, so what I am about to pass on is not something to do without medical supervision, especially if you have any sort of medical condition, but Jutta is a homeopath and she has a ton to share about why you should consider sea-salting with abandon and swilling lots of H2O! Her story may also shine a light on why you should eat more food and take less supplements….!
Salt and Water are the Foundation of Health by Jutta Kay
Water and salt are the most fundamental and also most misunderstood elements that our bodies and minds require for health and well-being.
Most of us understand the importance of water in our bodies even thought there seems to be some confusion about whether or not we can substitute our daily water with other fluids like juices, coconut water, sports drinks and other beverages. Most of us know by now that coffee, tea, and alcohol are considered diuretics, so they won’t work as substitutes for water, but, rather, increase your need for it. So what about the other beverages? Are they an acceptable substitute for water? According to Dr. Batmanghedlidj, MD, they are not. Nothing is a substitute for unadulterated water when it comes to your body hydration.
I have to admit that I stumbled upon the water cure while doing some research for a client online and I was intrigued. I am a holistic nutritional consultant and a Naturopath, so I am familiar with drugless therapies and supplementation, the use of water therapies in naturopathy (actual water is the “first aid” in naturopathy – first apply water), and the need to increase daily water intake, especially during a detoxification program. I never really researched the value of pure water, and I also subscribed to the school of thought that other fluids like juices could substitute water. Reading Dr Batmanghelidj’s books “The Body’s Many Cries For Water” and “Water for Health, for Healing, For Life”, were an eye-opener for me. They changed my views on water and its importance to the body entirely.
Our bodies are 60 to 70 % water, the blood content is 94 % and our brain is 85 % water, so it seems reasonable that we would benefit from keeping our bodies fully hydrated. People that drink a lot of fluids including water complain because they have to visit the bathroom too frequently, practically live in it. So if you suffer from that condition you would think that restricting your water intake would help solve your predicament. This is a wrong assumption, and can cause further health problems for you down the road. Compare your body with the soil in your garden. If the soil becomes too dry and hard, its water permeability diminishes. When you spray water on desert soil the water usually runs off of the surface without penetrating the earth. The same thing happens in your body. When the body becomes dehydrated it has a direct effect on all the cells; the cells shrivel up due to the lack of water and, as a consequence, become less permeable. The nutrient exchange, waste removal and function of the cell are diminished. So in order to reverse this process you need to keep the water in the body for an extended period so that it can soak into the cells and tissues.
That is where salt comes in. Sodium and potassium are responsible for the water regulation of the body. There are two oceans of water in the body: the intercellular (inside your cells) governed by potassium and the extracellular (in the rest of your body) governed by sodium. Both minerals are needed to keep the water balance in tact. Sodium (aka salt )has had a bad reputation in the last decades by being blamed for many health issues like high blood pressure. This seems to be a flawed premise though. Salt is essential for life, and has shown to have numerous therapeutic benefits. It has withstood the test of time, and has been used in medicine and healing since before Hippocrates.
The problem with salt consumption really comes down to what type of salt you are consuming. Refined table salt is basically only sodium and chloride and is stripped of all the other minerals. Sea salt, celtic salt and Himalayan rock salt are much healthier choices, and supply the body with other minerals that are needed and they also taste much more flavorful and are more palatable.
Numerous agencies have reversed their views on the negative health implication of salt; the National Heart Association actually retracted their statement that a low sodium diet is beneficial for your heart. Studies have shown that people on no-salt or low-salt diets actually suffer more heart attacks than people with regular salt consumption.
The truth is salt has many important function in the body, and like water a person would die a very painful death if salt and water were withheld. In ancient China people were put to death by withholding salt.
More interesting salt facts:
- Soldiers throughout history received some of their salary in salt, hence comes the word salary.
- The first thing upon admitted to a hospital in an emergency situation is a saline solution.
- Low salt intake will contribute to a build up of acidity in some cells, which can damage the DNA.
- Salt is a strong anti histamine.
- Salt is vital component for food absorption from the intestinal tract.
- Salt helps regulate blood sugar levels.
- Salt is essential for preventing muscle cramps. It is essential for maintaining muscle tone and strength.
- Salt in conjunction with water and potassium regulate blood pressure. Salt can also be very effective in regulating irregular heartbeat.
- Salt is natural hypnotic and promotes natural sleep (you can try drinking a glass of water and putting a few grains of salt on your tongue as a natural sleep aid).
- Salt is essential for clearing mucus and phlegm out of the lungs and sinus cavities (salt inhalation and gargle with salt water).
- Salt is a natural antibiotic.
- Osteoporosis and arthritis might be the result of a water and salt shortage in the body.
- Salt is essential for maintaining emotional well being. Lithium is a salt substitute that is given for depression.
I could keep writing about the many health benefits of water and salt, but then I would end up writing a book. All I am trying to say is that we might have to revisit certain ideas and concepts we have on health and well being concerning nutrition, supplements and water. I have been working in the wellness industry since 2002. I went to massage school, studied nutrition and the naturopathy. While going to school I also was convinced that I needed every Vitamin, Mineral, enzyme and antioxidant complex, essential fatty acids that I heard about. For a while I was taking 10 supplements or more a couple of times a day. This habit of mine was becoming quite expensive and also sometimes had quirky side effects. Supplementing with B 3 because of migraines left me with a beet red face that felt like I had ants crawling all over my face, hands and feet. The non-flush version of B 3 has shown itself less effective. Sometimes wheatgrass shots made me feel queasy and definitely made my pee smell somewhat unique.
The turning point came when I visited my parents in Europe, and of course I had to bring my arsenal of supplements, which can raise eyebrows at customs if they open your suitcase. One morning while getting ready to swallow my daily morning pills my father came in. He saw me with a handful of pills and became very concerned; he thought I was deathly ill. I tried explaining to him that I am taking supplements as a precautionary measure so I won’t get sick, and he thought I was crazy. I was starting to think the same. I gave up supplementing for a while, and began juicing and working with whole foods, raw foods, fiber, and good fats. I became less fanatic and embraced the idea of consciously eating foods that were good for me. I am not against supplementation per say, but I do think that we have to go back to basics and embrace what nature gives us in its unchanged, unadulterated form. Taking isolated compounds can be counter-productive, because we are disrupting a natural balance. Essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and essential fatty acids work in synergy with each other; they enhance their uptake and efficiency and need to be ingested together. As far as I can tell only whole foods will give you this benefit. Also the overall state of your body is going to have an effect on the way you assimilate the nutrients you ingest.
Maybe it is time to stop trying to reinventing the wheel and start working with the things that are given to us from nature that have shown to have benefits without negative side effects. Giving your body clean water, salt, exercise, air, sunshine, sleep, relaxation, love and good whole food nutrition is properly one of the best and least expensive ways to ensure good health and well being.
Have you tried The Water Cure??? What do you think? I am always looking for your experience and wisdom! xoxo Dana