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Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj on Healthy Living
Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj—commonly known as Dr. Batman—was born in Iran, educated in Scotland and received his medical training at University of London’s St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School. After practicing medicine in England, he returned to Iran to worked on the development of hospitals and health centers. When the revolution erupted in 1979, Batmanghelidj, a member of a prominent family, was jailed and was told to take care of the medical needs of fellow prisoners. Having no medications, he gave what he had: water. While in prison, he cured more than 3,000 peptic-ulcer sufferers with water alone. After release, Batmanghelidj came to the United States and continued his studies on the healing power of water. Dr. Batmanghelidj wrote Water Cures: Drugs Kill: How Water Cured Incurable Diseases, and Your Body's Many Cries for Water, among other books. His last book was Obesity, Cancer & Depression: Their Common Cause & Natural Cure.
The First30Days team is honored to have conducted one of his last interviews before his death in November 2004. In this interview, Batmanghelidj describes the important role that water has in improving and maintaining one’s health.
How would you define healthy living?
Living healthier means retaining as many of your natural assets as possible through the passage of time. To be healthy, one needs to have purpose in life. Once you have that purpose, your body is a sufficiently integrated system, wise to undertake new challenges.
What keeps people from living healthy lives?
Ignorance, not having an open mind and having preconceived ideas that do not necessarily represent truth or understanding. Among these are the origins and treatments for disease, which are greatly misunderstood. Most modern-day health problems are probably not caused by illnesses, but by dehydration. People are most likely not sick, they’re only thirsty. Dehydration negatively affects the body’s cells, which produce symptoms doctors call “disease conditions.” The first drink the body is given, then, is medication.
How big a problem is dehydration?
Up to age 20, probably 10 to 15% of all Americans are dehydrated. By age 70, that rises to 99%. Signs the body isn’t getting enough water include fatigue, feeling depressed, anxious or dejected, a tendency to anger quickly and be irritable, and craving beverages that contain ingredients that further dehydrate the body, such as alcohol and caffeine. Symptoms of disease also indicate a shortage of water.
What’s happening inside the body when it doesn’t get enough water?
You need to hydrate and have enough salt in your diet in order to extract the acid. Achieving an alkaline balance is the correct approach for good health. When your body is dehydrated, it cannot get rid of the acid content inside the cells. That’s how pain manifests itself. Our body’s system is a pH-enzyme system that reads pH levels, meaning the measure of acidity and alkalinity inside the cells. Acidic pH is registered by the nerve endings, which subsequently do not work properly. Acid registers within the brain; the brain translates this acidity situation into pain at the location of the excess acid. There are several major pain “positions”: heartburn, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, fibromyalgia, colitis, appendicitis, lymph pain and so on. These are signs of dehydration. Another is morning sickness; this is how the mother’s body translates dehydration of the fetus. Pregnant women need more water than the average person, since the cells of two bodies are involved.
The brain needs a lot of water; in fact, it’s made up of 85% water. It cannot even stand a tiny bit of dehydration before it loses energy. Water is the main source of energy for brain function; it produces hydroelectric energy at the cell level. Energy enables the transfer of information from one cell to another in the brain and then down the system into the extremities. Drinking water revitalizes all the functions.
How much water do we need and when should we drink it?
We should drink as much water as the body needs, and the need is determined by the color of the urine: If it’s light in color, it means the body is sufficiently hydrated. If it becomes gradually yellow or orange, the body is becoming severely dehydrated. Each person needs about half the body weight in ounces per day. Children need about three-quarters of an ounce of water per pound. Some people are concerned about drinking too much water or that they’ll be bloated or gain weight. This is wrong, biased information. Water is probably the most body-loving liquid there is.
You should drink any time you feel thirsty, but you should always give the body the water it needs to perform a new function. Take eating, for example. A full plate of food is solid and needs to be broken down into liquid, so you’ll want to give your body water beforehand. You also want to drink water after eating—or other activities—to supply any deficit because the body may have gone ahead and borrowed water to perform its functions. Is it OK to drink and eat at the same time? If you have to, but if you drink water beforehand, you won’t feel thirsty.
Often, people don’t recognize that they’re thirsty and they eat, instead. But in this case, only 20% of the energy from food reaches the brain; the other 80% is stored as a form of fat. But when people drink, the water produces hydroelectric energy exactly where that energy is required, and the excessive water is flushed out of the body through the kidneys in the form of urine. Put another way, you energize the body by drinking water but do not store it, whereas if you energize the body by food you store 80% of it.
Are all waters the same? What about other beverages that contain water?
This didn’t used to be such a problem. The human body has gone through a very long evolutionary path, during which it has only depended on a water supply. Only in recent years has commercialism crept in and laced water with this or that and hid the taste just to sell the product. Unfortunately, some of these taste-enhanced beverages have a contrary effect on the body. Many drinks contain caffeine, which is a dehydrating substance because it does not allow water to stay in the body very long. Alcohol does exactly the same thing. Caffeine is one of the most harmful things we can do to the body. Even the popular distilled, alkaline- and vitamin-enhanced waters are a problem because they’re all chemical and commercial entities, very much the same as caffeinated water or similar drinks. I know people usually think distilled water is a good choice, but eventually it leeches minerals out of the body. And carbonated water will rid the body of magnesium.
During the first 30 days of better health, how should a person change his or her water-drinking habits?
I would suggest increased water intake combined with more minerals—specifically potassium, magnesium and sodium—to balance and regulate the body’s performance. A dehydrated body is also short on a lot of minerals, so you need to take salt or extra seltzer and magnesium to put back the balance. Make sure the diet contains potassium, which balances water inside cells the same way sodium balances the water outside cells. On average you need two to three times the amount of potassium than sodium. Many fruits and vegetables contain potassium. Keep in mind that not all salt is the same: Table salt contains only sodium chloride. Unrefined salt, whether it comes from the oceans or mountain mines, contains at least 80 other elements that are essential to the body. Sea salt is good, though the salt from the mountains is purer and probably two billion years older than the ocean salt of today. Ocean salt is good and better than refined table salt but even the oceans are becoming polluted. Lots of mountains now are producing salt, such as the Himalayas and in Utah. In some places, unfortunately, salt mines are abused by the radioactive waste stored there.
For more information on Dr. Batmanghelidj’s work, visit www.watercure.com.