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Water: For Health, For Healing, for Life    by F. Batmanghelidj order for
by F. Batmanghelidj
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2003)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

While I was somewhat put off by the wide ranging claims in this book, which speaks of 'one of the greatest of all health discoveries in the world', many specific assertions - of the benefits of water to our health and the damage caused by cell dehydration - ring intuitively true.

The author is a physician, who discovered 'the abdominal-pain-relieving effect' of two glasses of water while a political prisoner in 1979 Iran. He advocates drinking water, with an appropriate intake of salt (which we are told is a 'strong natural antihistamine'), to benefit conditions from childhood asthma to obesity and cancer. Case histories and physiological explanations are interspersed through the text.

Dr. Batmanghelidj discusses at length the 'drought management system' in our bodies, the priority it gives to hydration of brain cells, and the role that histamine plays in coping with 'emergency water needs or immune system activity.' He tells us why other fluids are not as effective, and discusses the health problems that arise from continual consumption of soft drinks by children and teens instead of water intake.

The author also warns of caffeinated drinks which can result in flushing more water from the system than is consumed. He quotes research which indicates that we become less aware of true thirst with increased age. It's all interesting stuff, though I wonder how many of the claims made in the book are backed by solid research.

Despite that concern, it's hard to argue with Dr. Batmanghelidj's recommendations for better health, which include 'balancing the water and salt content of the body', avoiding 'beverages that dehydrate', regular exercise, and a nutritious daily diet 'of 20 percent protein and 80 percent vegetables, legumes, and fruits'.

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