We have been looking at some practical ways to improve our overall health, considering a few different tools that have been employed by our informal case study participant, Madison. Previously, we looked at the practice of rebounding as well as dry brushing. Today, we will discuss increasing our intake of distilled water and/or lemon water, as well as the practice of deep breathing. Let’s get straight to it!
First, Let’s Talk about Increasing Intake of Distilled Water and/or Lemon Water
What is distilled water? What is lemon water?
Distilled water is water that has been purified of any contaminants through a process called distillation. The process involves water being brought to a boil and converted to steam. The steam flows through cooling tubes and condenses back into pure water. The difference in distilling water and filtering water is that the process of distilling water removes all potentially harmful organisms and chemicals, and filtering alone does not do this. Distilled water is a more pure water than filtered water.
Lemon water is a beverage made by combining water with lemon juice. Other ingredients can be added to suit your flavor preference–ginger, cucumber, mint, or strawberry are some popular additions.
How can drinking distilled water and/or lemon water benefit me (or anyone)?
- Distilled water is free of all possible contaminants. Pure distilled water is free of any naturally occurring contaminants, which means the toxic load on your body will be smaller. Distilled water is also free of any added chemicals (unlike municipal water) which means you won’t be consuming things like chlorine, fluoride or added calcium. Fluoride can have adverse effects on your health, including tooth discoloration and breakdown of tooth enamel. Chlorine can be harmful to your body even in the diluted amounts in city water. Too much calcium can be troublesome to some people, especially those with any history of kidney stones. Drinking distilled water can actually reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Because these (and any other potential chemicals) are missing from distilled water, the water is a pure choice for consuming. Worth noting, is that because distilled water is pure water, not only does it not contain any additives, it also does not contain any minerals found naturally occurring in water. For most people this is no problem at all, as we should already be consuming a diet rich in vitamins and minerals our body needs.
- Lemon water aids in digestion and detoxification. Lemon juice is similar in structure to the stomach’s digestive juices, so it helps the liver to produce bile. This not only means food keeps moving smoothly through the gastrointestinal tract, it means the liver’s function is protected, and its ability to detoxify our body is preserved! By increasing intake of lemon water, the body will naturally begin to detoxify not only due to the liver being supported, but due to the increased regularity and relief of constipation. The increased intake will also cause increased urination, which will support the urinary tract clearing out any debris/toxins.
- Lemon water is beneficial to the skin. Lemon water contains vitamin C, which contains antioxidants, which are excellent for the skin. Antioxidants help to fight free radical damage, and that helps to slow down the aging process! Taking in enough vitamin C from sources like lemon water helps support the body in producing collagen which helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles!
- Lemon water can encourage weight loss. Lemon in water changes the flavor profile of regular water, and for some people, makes the water more palatable. The better hydrated we are, the more successful weight loss typically is. One main reason for this is that water can reduce hunger sensations, which results in lower calorie consumption, which results in weight loss.
- Lemon water can increase our immunity, as well as boost our mood and our energy levels. As mentioned previously, lemon water contains vitamin C, which is a power player in our body’s immune function. Getting enough vitamin C can reduce the severity of most infections/illnesses, and lemon water is an excellent way to increase our intake of vitamin C. Of course we have more energy when we feel better, but lemon water itself can actually help to boost our mood/energy levels. The scent of lemon can help to reduce stress/bring on a happy feeling, and when the negatively charged ions of lemons enter your digestive tract, they naturally give you a boost of energy!
- Both distilled and lemon water can help to alkalize the body. This is a big one. Alkalizing the body can bring your pH into balance, which optimizes your overall health. Lemons themselves are NOT alkaline, they are acidic, but they have an alkalizing ability in the body. The alkaline mineral content of a lemon is greater than its acidic content. Why does any of that matter? As mentioned above, lemon water can increase our immunity. An alkaline body functions more efficiently than an acidic one, being more able to fight off infections and disease.
How much commitment is involved in adding distilled / lemon water into my life?
It is recommended you drink half your weight in ounces each day in water. So someone weighing 180 pounds would drink 90 ounces of distilled and lemon water each day. The time commitment on this would vary from person to person, depending on how much water you’re currently drinking. If you are well hydrated, this may not require much extra time from you at all. Regardless, it’s a fairly quick adjustment. Remembering to actually drink the water is the hardest part! If you struggle with this, a checklist or setting an alarm may come in handy.
Next, Let’s Take a Look at Deep Breathing
What is deep breathing?
Deep breathing begins by finding a comfortable and quiet place to sit or lie down (if you’re sitting, keep your back straight and feet on the floor), then placing one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. After this, take one normal breath, followed by a slow breath (breathe in through your nose and pay attention as your belly swells with the inhale). Hold this breath for a second or two, then slowly breathe out through your mouth. Repeat this several times until you feel a rhythm that is calming. Some people imagine as they inhale that relaxation is spreading throughout their body, and as they exhale, stress and tension is leaving the body.
How can deep breathing benefit me (or anyone)?
- Deep breathing improves oxygen delivery in the body. When you are relaxed and breathing deeply, fresh oxygen is pouring into every cell of your body, which will increase the functional ability of every system in your body. This will also increase your focus and even your physical stamina.
- Deep breathing can help lower blood pressure. As you breathe deeply, your muscles relax, and as your body releases that tension, your blood vessels dilate and your blood pressure can return to a more normal level if it was high.
- Deep breathing contributes to the release of endorphins. The release of endorphins improves overall feelings of wellness. Endorphins also act as natural pain relief, so deep breathing can help alleviate pain in the body as well.
- Deep breathing improves our body’s ability to detoxify. Having healthy breathing habits helps the lymphatic system function properly, which encourages the release of harmful toxins in our body. This allows the body to function more productively in general, as it is stronger and more equipped to address illnesses or other needs when and if they arise in the body.
How much commitment is involved in adding deep breathing into my life?
This answer may vary depending on how often you choose to participate in deep breathing. If time allows, 5-10 minutes is a recommended allotment of time for a deep breathing “session.” However many times you feel you need one during the day is appropriate. Because life can be harried and some days 5-10 minutes may not be available to sit and quietly focus on breathing, know that there are benefits to the practice even if you can only stop and spare a single minute in that moment. When you are feeling frazzled or overwhelmed, take a 1-2 minute time-out to breathe deeply and reset your focus. This will do your body good!
While we have looked at rebounding, dry brushing, increasing our water intake, and deep breathing, there are certainly other tools Madison has employed in her healing. If you are interested in any of the above mentioned resources, consider giving them a try, or reach out to us with any questions you may have. If you’d like more information on other options in addition to some of these mentioned, we are ready to help you feel your best!