Are we living through the Rime of the Ancient Mariner?

  • The truth is out at last, make sure you listen
  • Discover the body’s secret mechanism for keeping you alive
  • Find out why this ‘absolute health rule’ is not what it is cracked up to be

Despite the assertion of my dear wife that I spent my days in English Literature lessons merely reading Just William, I did do proper English as well.

For instance I vividly recall a line from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge which went…

‘Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.’

And this leapt into my head in the past few days as I watched yet another storm lash our fair islands and the impact of flooding decimate communities across the land.

Huge areas of the country are affected by the heavy rains we have been suffering and this has affected the waterways but also the sewers and waste systems so that whilst they may be plenty of water around, not much of it is useful to us.

Crops are left unharvested and are going to be spoiled, with potatoes, sugar beet and maize severely affected.

“Still at least the aquifers will be full.” Said Lara as we watched another rainstorm head up the Bristol channel, “that must be good for our health as we are constantly told to drink plenty of water.”

“Do you drink your 8 glasses a day?” She asked, “I’m not sure I have ever had that much.”

The dear lady is clearly affected by this common misconception, and she is not alone.

Today I want to explain why we don’t need to gorge ourselves on water to be healthy, and why buying expensive bottled water is not just a waste of money, bad for the planet and unnecessary – but also how you get all the water you need anyway.

So, there may be water everywhere, but you shouldn’t HAVE to drink it!

The story of modern water

There is a huge commercial interest in plain old water.

We are bombarded with adverts telling us that it comes from the heart of an extinct volcano; arises out of prehistoric artesian wells or is flavoured with exotic fruit essence etc etc.

Water is big business here in the West; it is no laughing matter elsewhere in the world.

A lack of rain lays huge tracts of Africa and Asia to waste, bringing starvation and death to millions of people each year.

This compound of hydrogen and oxygen is THE vital elixir of life, one that our bodies recognise and has some pretty sophisticated systems in place to manage.

Why then do we need to be told how much to drink, and where to get it from?

Given that our bodies have a very competent way of telling us when we need more water, should it really be the case that we have to drink 8 glasses of water a day…every day?

How is it that a plastic bottle of water has become a fashion item for the busy commuter, lunch time jogger or shopper?

Just look around any office and you will see a plethora of bottled water on show and in every corner lurks a water dispenser.

Why has this happened?

It was back in 1945 that the Ministry of Health said that we should all aim to drink the equivalent of 2½ litres of water a day, however, it has only been in the last decade that anyone listened to them.

Mind you the people who listened most were the major water bottling companies like Danone. It just so happens that they own some of the big brands like Volvic and Evian, the market leaders.

Companies like this make hundreds of millions of pounds a year from flogging us a product that we either don’t need or can get from any number of sources for free.

The simple truth about how we manage water in our bodies

We get fluid from our food, from the air we breathe and from the drinks we take on board.

It is estimated that over half of the water we need during day will be provided from the food we eat, even more so if we have higher levels of fruit and vegetables in our diets.

Upto 70% of the adult body is composed of water, and during each day we lose some of it through sweating, excretion of waste and every time we breathe out.

So it stands to reason that we need to replace that which we lose.

If we don’t we would dehydrate. Our concentration would suffer; we would get severe headaches and eventually die.

Serious stuff.

But our bodies recognise the signs that we are getting short of our vital fluid by a very sneaky way…we feel thirsty.

I’m sure this is no great news to you, in fact, you may well be feeling in need of a libation right now.

Within us we have a very effective system for dealing with our hydration. It is called the Renin-Angiotensin Aldosterone system.

This clever process involves part of the brain, the hypothalamus, sensing how much water there is in our blood.

If it deems that there is too much it orders the kidneys to dump more out into our urine, gets rid of more in our stools and increases the amount we sweat out.

If there is too little it reverses all of these processes, and makes us feel thirsty.

This is how we maintain our blood pressure and volume – sounds simple doesn’t it, and more importantly foolproof.

Guess what it really is.

Now scientists have finally agreed that we do alright on our own when it comes to getting enough water.

And one eminent professor has continually said it like it is – WE DON’T NEED TO DRINK all of that water.

It has been like the story of the kings’ new clothes though, now that one learned person has spoken the truth everyone else has jumped on the bandwagon.

It won’t stop those with a vested interest from arguing that we should keep up the fluid levels though.

In an act of pure commercialism Danone are sponsoring an initiative aimed at medics called Hydration for Health, hopefully the medical profession will now see through this and stop peddling their wares.

God bless Dr McCartney, a practitioner in Glasgow, who has clearly stated that the drive to get us to drink more water is nothing but blatant marketing by corporate.

She was the beacon in the dark who spoke out first, and whose call has been echoed far and wide across the country.

Dr McCartney said people should “say no” to organisations that like to tell doctors and patients what to do.

I’ll drink to that!