Drink warm water for health

By Dwight Chien

About three months ago, I received an Internet message from a friend through “Line” on how drinking 4 cups of warm water first thing in the morning can improve health. The message mentioned a group of doctors in Japan have confirmed the effectiveness of drinking 4 cups of warm water in the morning upon waking. They claim this practice can treat various illnesses including headache, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, arthritis, irregular heartbeats, epilepsy, high cholesterols, cough, bone pain, wheezing, gynecology issues, urination issues, stomach issues, lack of appetite, eyes/ ears/ nose/ throat problems, diabetes, cancers, etc.  Some illnesses may take a month, while others may take up to 3 months to see results, and it is necessary to refrain from eating anything within 45 minutes after drinking.

No references or source of the message was given. My friend does not know where it came from either. I searched Internet but did not find anything that supports the extensive claims made by this Internet message. Most of us have read articles on how drinking water is beneficial to our health, but the claims made in this message are unusual. We know our body is made up of about 70% water and our blood contains about 90% water. We cannot survive without enough water. It helps deliver nutrients to our cells and get rid of toxins and wastes. However, this list looks too impressive to believe.

Although I felt this message does not sound credible, it prompted me to think about the importance of drinking enough water early in the morning. For many years, I have been drinking a few mouthful of water when I get up in the morning. The message made me think maybe I should drink more. Also the message emphasizes drinking not just water, but warm water. Almost everyone in the America is used to drinking ice cold beverages, and they don’t think there is anything wrong with it. As a Chinese Medicine practitioner, I know it is not good for health. On the other hand, I believe drinking warm water can benefit metabolism in the body; warm up liver and kidneys to excrete toxins; warm up stomach and intestines to improve digestions. Even for only half an hour, if we do that day by day, the effect will be large in the long run. Especially during that time, the organs are not busy doing digestion or other tasks, but focus mainly on getting rid of toxin. Therefore, I have decided to try drinking 4 cups of warm water upon rising.

What kind of water should we drink? I like natural products, thus prefer to drink natural spring water, which is readily available commercially. An article I found on Internet (“Drink water for health and longevity” written by Lawrence Wilson, MD) also recommends natural spring water. Doctor Wilson suggests drinking only pure water without any additives like coffee, tea, coconut water, lemon juice, sugar, honey, or sweeteners, etc., because these additives can dehydrate the body. In my opinion, because we are drinking a lot of water, if you prefer to add a little healthy additive, e.g., lemon juice, that should be fine. He also thinks the best practice is to drink 1 quart upon rising, and at least half an hour before breakfast. Based on his clinical experience, if tap water is used, he suggests using carbon-only filter, not using multi-stage filter. He also suggests to stay away from distilled water, softened water, reverse osmosis water, or other specially treated water with minerals added.

When you choose a cup, be aware that some cups are made smaller. Make sure you pick the one that holds ¼ quart. You can check the size by using a bottle that contains half a litter of water. This should fill about 2 cups to the rim. Although it is recommended to drink 4 cups of water, I think the amount is not critical. Our body loses close to 500 milliliter of water when we sleep. We definitely need to drink more than that. Anywhere between 3 and 4 fluid cups should be fine. An average adult needs to drink about 3 quarts of water a day. By drinking about a quart early in the morning, it helps to assure we get enough water for the day.

After 3 months of drinking 4 cups of warm water upon rising, I have more energy now than before, and my appetite gets better. I now enjoy drinking warm water upon getting up. I recall long ago there was a coffee commercial that says a cup of coffee is “The best part of waking up”. Soon I found the best part of waking up is drinking warm water. Though I could not find supporting articles for the benefits claimed by the Internet message, I think the claims are possible. Our body has the ability to heal itself if we give it a chance. If the damages to the body could be induced by dehydration, it could also be reversed by hydration.

During sleep, our body loses a lot of water through breathing, evaporation, and urination. So, when we get up in the morning, we should replenish the loss as soon as possible. Another important reason to drink water in the morning is to lower the viscosity of the blood. It has been reported that the blood viscosity is typically higher for human in the morning before 10 a.m. I believe this is due to dehydration mentioned above. High blood viscosity increases the possibility of getting heart attack and stroke. Therefore, drinking water in the morning is not just good for health. It can be a lifesaver! This is why I am writing this article now; why I become an advocate for drinking 4 cups warm water upon waking in the morning.

We normally will produce about 300 to 400 milliliter of urine within 2 hours after drinking one litter of water. However, because our body is seriously dehydrated overnight, the water we drink will be readily absorbed by our body cells. Thus, we do not produce much urine even if we drink a lot. I typically get up around 4 o’clock in the morning. I never feel an urge to urine within 2 hours after drinking 4 cups of warm water, even by 7:30 a.m., when it is my regular time to go to toilet. Although each individual could be different, to me this shows how seriously our body can become dehydrated during sleep. Some people may drink a glass of water in the morning, which is not bad, but not enough to hydrate our body. While there are people who do not drink water in the morning at all. They may drink milk or juice during breakfast, but that would leave the body seriously dehydrated before breakfast. Furthermore, hydration by drinking milk or juice is not as good as pure water because the additives, according to Dr. Wilson, can dehydrate the body. It is even worse for those people who skip breakfast. They may leave the body seriously dehydrated for many hours until they drink something. Our kidney and liver need water to get rid of toxins in our body. When the body does not have enough water to excrete toxins, they can certainly cause health issues. If the dehydration happens only for a few weeks, our body should be able to recover. Yet, for people who do not drink enough water in the morning day by day, year by year, some damages to the body are inevitable. Sooner or later, the damage could surface in the weakest link of the body.

Many illnesses in our life can be prevented if we take good care of ourselves, for example, quite smoking, limit consumption of sugar, salt, and alcohol, etc. I believe some of the illnesses, even a certain cancer, could be prevented if we keep our body sufficiently hydrated. There are many factors that could induce cancer. If the weakest link in the body due to dehydration could induce cancer, then it will. It is also possible that if the cancer is formed as a result of dehydration, then it could be reversed by rehydration, although probably the reversal could only occur when the cancer cells are just forming. In case the cancer is already in a later stage and the person is being treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or immunotherapy, drinking warm water in the morning can also be incorporated to give the treatment an extra boost.

Similarly, various factors could cause kidney diseases, and dehydration is one of them. People with kidney problems may be concerned about drinking too much water within half an hour could aggravate the existing kidney problem. That might not be the case when the body is seriously dehydrated, because the large quantity of water consumed will be readily absorbed by body cells. For people with kidney issues, I would suggest discussing with the primary care doctor and start slow, for example, drinking only one cup in the beginning, and gradually increase up to 3 cups. Before more research is done and published, I would think anybody with the illnesses described in this Internet message owe it to yourself to give it a try. It is so easy to do, and costs basically nothing. The worst that could happen is it does not help with the disease you intend to cure. Yet, it will still be beneficial to the health of the body in one way or the other.  

Foot Notes:

This paragraph is an additional suggestion for those who want to incorporate meditation while drinking water. This is not required. You can gain benefits simply by ingesting water any way you like. However, incorporating meditation can have additional benefits. Nowadays, people often are in a hurry, which causes stress in our life, and stress can cause illness. If we can go to bed half an hour early so that we can get up half an hour early, then we can use this time to drink water while doing moving meditation (for example Sati Meditation). When you prepare and drink warm water, slow down your mind and body, and be mindful of all the movements. When you drink water, drink it with mindfulness, sip by sip. With each swallow, allow warm water to flush tension inside your body down to the floor. For people who find it difficult to drink 4 cups of water, this could help too, and would make drinking water more enjoyable. Better yet, think about how many people have contributed to bringing this water to you. Whether you think of a few, hundreds, thousands, or millions, be grateful to them when you drink. This will give additional benefits to the body, the mind and the spirit.


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