So you are taking your thyroid medication as prescribed by your doctor, but you are still not feeling as good as you’d like. Have you considered that something as simple as water could be impacting your health?

Bathing: Many municipal water systems across the United States use chlorine to disinfect the water. Some municipalities also add fluoride to drinking water. Both chlorine and fluoride are toxic to the body – especially the thyroid. Since both substances are absorbed through the skin, you can minimize your exposure by placing a filter on your showerhead. If you prefer to take a bath, or when filling the tub for a child’s bath, make sure the water comes out of the showerhead to receive the benefits of the filter. The filter costs less than $20 and is easy to install – just remember to change the filter every six months.

Filtered Water: Unless you live in a pristine, remote location, chances are your water is not as pure as it could be. Of course there are standards that water systems must meet when providing water to households, but the contaminant levels deemed acceptable are not always in our best interest.

I suggest at least a two stage water filter (that removes chlorine, fluoride, bacteria) be installed at the kitchen sink with a special faucet designated for drinking water. Even better, a whole house water filter provides purified water throughout the house. Use the water for drinking and cooking. I use filtered water for boiling potatoes and pasta, or when adding water to recipes.

If you have an automatic icemaker on your refrigerator, consider installing an in-line filter on the water supply. Don’t let the ice be a source of contamination to your glass of water.

Remember to change the filters according to the manufacturer’s schedule. I mark the date when the filter needs to be changed right on the filter and then put a reminder on my calendar.

Water to Avoid: Reverse Osmosis units that remove many valuable substances from the water, waste a tremendous amount of water and leave the water acidic and essentially “dead” are not recommended.

I am also not a fan of bottled water. Simply putting water in a bottle does not guarantee anything other than it is water in a bottle. It is expensive, wasteful and the plastic that is used to hold the water has many of it’s own toxic risk factors.

Stay Hydrated: Drinking the proper amount of filtered water each day is essential. Dr. David Brownstein contends all thyroid conditions can be improved be drinking the proper amount of water. To determine how much water you should be drinking, Dr. Brownstein offers the following formula:

1. Weight in pounds divided by 2.
2. Result is number of ounces an individual should drink each day.
3. Divide the number ounces by 8 to determine the number of glasses of water per day.1

I suggest using a lemon wedge in your glass of water. It gives a great flavor to the water and also helps to make the water more alkaline. (I realize that lemons are acidic, but the body turns lemon juice into an alkaline – which is highly desirable.)

Limit Caffeine: While both tea and coffee are made from water, those beverages do not count as part of your daily water intake. Tea and coffee contain caffeine, which acts as a diuretic in your body – actually causing dehydration.

Limit Soda and Juices: Ideally soda should be completely avoided. At best, soda should be a treat and diet soda should be avoided at all times. I realize that may sound like lunacy to so many people that are addicted to soda. If you can’t make it through the day without soda, perhaps you can try cutting your consumption in half. Instead of reaching for a soda first thing in the morning, force yourself to drink a full glass of water before you have a soda. Each time you reach for a soda, drink a glass of water first. Overtime, you will begin to detox from soda and the cravings will leave.

Staying hydrated will help your body function more efficiently, avoid headaches and fatigue and keep your skin supple and plump. It is one of the simplest things you can do to keep your body happy and healthy. I think I’ll have a glass right now!

1 Overcoming Thyroid Disorders, David Brownstein, M.D., page 229.

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