H2O– Staying Hydrated

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Through chemo, most of us are very aware of the need to drink lots of water. But it’s a habit that needs to become a daily one. This week your mission is to be aware of your water intake, and make it enjoyable. Here are some ideas from Kirsten.


The formula is simple. Our body is made up of about 60-70% water, it needs to stay hydrated to survive. Every part of our body, organs, tissues, joints, right down to every single cell, needs water to perform these life-essential functions:

  • Regulation of your body temperature
  • Transportation of oxygen to keep you alive
  • Digestion of food to keep you nourished
  • Removal of toxins and your own metabolic waste products
  • Monitoring of your blood pressure

You may think our body has a self-control mechanism to alert us to the fact that we need to replenish fluids. But by the time we feel thirsty, like having a dry mouth or throat, we are actually already dehydrated. In order for our body to function optimally and by doing so offer a cancer-protective effect, we need to stay hydrated before we actually feel any form of thirst.

Here are some tips to help you make the right hydration choices:

  • Beware of high-caloric drinks! Most of the calories we drink come in the form of sugary drinks. Sodas, fruit juices, flavored milks and alcohol all provide calories from sugar. Even freshly squeezed fruit juices provide a loading dose of sugar, as all the fiber that slows down sugar digestion has been stripped away. Remember, one of the hallmarks of an anti-cancer lifestyle is to prevent blood sugar spikes.
  • Caffeinated drinks (such as coffee, tea, green tea, sodas, energy drinks) are diuretics, meaning they have a dehydrating effect on your body. Not only do they make you shed more fluids, they also stimulate the release of vital electrolytes that in turn help regulate other vital body functions.

Pure, simple water is still the best way to stay optimally hydrated throughout the day, but even here you need to make sure you know the source of your water supply. Municipal water often contains carcinogenic compounds such as fluoride or chlorinated by-products. Bottled water may either not contain the pure spring water it claims to have, or have possible carcinogens leached into it from the plastic containers it gets transported in, such as bisphenol-A (BPA).

Filtering your municipal water, either with carbon block filters or a reverse osmosis system at home is an option, or if you have access to well water make sure you have it tested thoroughly for any residues of contaminants or pesticides. Use your own water container made of glass or stainless steel, it’s more economical over time anyway.

But how do we make drinking bland water any fun? Here are some tips to help you out!

  • Add a slice of organic lemon, orange or grapefruit
  • Add a sprig of fresh mint or lemon balm leaves
  • Add a slice of cucumber or chopped up fresh aloe leaf
  • Add a small slice of fresh ginger root
  • Add a frozen piece of watermelon, grapes
  • Add fresh or frozen berries such as blueberries, strawberries or raspberries
  • Add freshly brewed unsweetened herbal tea just to serve as natural flavoring


Natural Resources Defense Council, “Bottled water. Pure drink or pure hype?” The Truth About Tap. Retrieved July 18, 2016. Accessed May 19, 2008.

vom Saal FS, Akingbemi BT, Belcher SM, Birnbaum LS, Crain DA, Eriksen M, Farabollini F, Guillette LJ Jr, Hauser R, Heindel JJ, Ho SM, Hunt PA, Iguchi T, Jobling S, Kanno J, Keri RA, Knudsen KE, Laufer H, LeBlanc GA, Marcus M, McLachlan JA, Myers JP, Nadal A, Newbold RR, Olea N, Prins GS, Richter CA, Rubin BS, Sonnenschein C, Soto AM, Talsness CE, Vandenbergh JG, Vandenberg LN, Walser-Kuntz DR, Watson CS, Welshons WV, Wetherill Y, Zoeller RT. Chapel Hill bisphenol A expert panel consensus statement: integration of mechanisms, effects in animals and potential to impact human health at current levels of exposure. Reprod Toxicol. 2007 Aug-Sep;24(2):131-8.

Environmental Protection Agency. Questions and Answers on Fluoride. 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2016 from the EPA. Accessed May 20, 2015.

European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Consumers, Scientific Committees. Critical review of any new evidence on the hazard profile, health effects, and human exposure to fluoride and the fluoridating agents of drinking water. 2010. Retrieved July 18, 2016. Accessed on July 24, 2015.

International Agency for Research on Cancer. Fluorides (Inorganic, Used in Drinking-water). 1987; Supp 7: 208-210. Retrieved July 18, 2016. Accessed on May 20, 2015.

Kim FM, Hayes C, Williams PL, et al. An assessment of bone fluoride and osteosarcoma. J Dent Res. 2011; 90:1171–1176.

Levy M, Leclerc BS. Fluoride in drinking water and osteosarcoma incidence rates in the continental United States among children and adolescents. Cancer Epidemiol. 2012;36:e83–88.

McDonagh MS, Whiting PF, Wilson PM, et al. Systematic review of water fluoridation. BMJ. 2000;321:855–859.

Canadian Cancer Society, “Chlorinated water”, Retrieved July 18, 2016 from: Canadian Cancer Society.

“Dehydration” Retrieved July 18, 2016 from: Cancer.Net

One Comment

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    AmeriBev / July 22, 2016 at 5:32 am /Reply

    Our industry agrees that water intake is important to stay hydrated and healthy. Our member companies support First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Drink Up” initiative, which promotes greater water intake to stay in balance. We also offer a wide array of bottled water options to help people meet their hydration needs and goals. With that said, sugar-sweetened beverages are safe and can be part of a healthy balance. Moreover, readers may be interested to know that diet soda is 99% water: http://bit.ly/Ik4zjC.

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