Water is an extraordinary liquid! The tasteless and odorless water is the key driving force of all life on this planet. The available data indicates that no living organism can exist without water. Due to its unique structure, it is considered a universal solvent that can exist in three stable states: gaseous, liquid, and solid. The structure of liquid water that we are most familiar with, is formed due to forms of aggregates that materialize continuously.
Water has found a central cultural position across the world. Almost every ritual seems to have a water element. Homeopaths use water memory to treat ailments based on the conviction that ‘medicinal memory’ will be retained in the water, long after the medicinal compound has gone. There are proponents and opponents of water memory - both come with evidence and experience.
From the scientific perspective, anomalous aquatic structures are created within femtoseconds. If water structures are the basis of memory, it would be interesting to explore its mechanical basis vis-à-vis formation of stable water pockets. Logically, stable pockets of water molecules should be the key to storing the memory data. And if several stable structures exist, water may not look liquid any longer. It may start solidifying into a lattice structure like the one found in an ice sheet.
Some of the unanswered questions are: Does water memory refer to forms that are within or outside the scope of anomalous structures? Does water memory point to undiscovered structures or mechanisms that are beyond our range of understanding? Is it possible for ‘departed solutes’ to leave an energy imprint, in a way that has not been discovered?
Proponents of water memory talk about success stories emerging from treating ailments and increasing immunity with chemically and magnetically treated water. Devices have been designed to send water into a vortex, creating structures that lead to positive health impact upon consumption. The impact of thoughts on water has been the subject of many studies. Interesting claims and counterclaims exist to make the idea worthwhile for a detailed study.
Reports suggest that water gushing through pipe bends, (before reaching the drinking point), shows higher numbers of disordered structures than water flowing in the river. Some of the work indicates that pressure-imposed generation of anomalous structures get resolved when water remains undisturbed for several hours.
We drink water from rivers, lakes, ponds, and wells. This water is exposed to light, heat, dust, mechanical disturbances, and so on. It would be useful to study the proportion of stable and anomalous water structures getting formed in water coming from various sources and observe their impact on health.
Modern lifestyle has led to the consumption of water from plastic bottles with different composition and purity. Consumption of chemicals leached from plastics (source: polycarbonate plastic bottles) has been associated with human behavioral and emotional difficulties. Studies indicate that hot water liquids release more microplastics leading to puberty defects, heart disease, and diabetes. The massive pollution of oceans with microplastics and chemicals is very well known, adversely affecting all the flora and fauna in the ocean. It’s high time that we consume water in a form that does not cause adverse effects on cells and organs.
Traditional wisdom indicates that storing water in copper and earthen vessels is great for the body. Modern research also supports these cultural practices.
Cells need water for maintaining the right shape and function. However, drinking too much water can be detrimental to health as it dilutes (lowers) blood salt concentration. Overhydration has been associated with headaches, disorientation, and nausea. In extreme cases, water intoxication can lead to dilution of the electrolytes in the brain, cerebral edema, and turn fatal.
In general, there are no official guidelines about how much water a person should consume. Perhaps the right amount depends upon physiological needs determined by body weight, physical activity, and weather conditions.
Water is a life-making material without which we cannot survive. A major proportion of the planet Earth is water. A major proportion of our cells is also water. It’s time to treat water with reverence, irrespective of the science and belief system. It is important to realize that water is not a commodity but a life-making material.
Food is the nutrient consumed by living organisms for obtaining energy essential for maintenance and growth. The food mainly consists of water, carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins, derived from plant, animal, and microbial origins. Unlike humans, photosynthetic organisms make their own food.
Human food is usually categorized into four basic groups: vegetables & fruits, cereals & bread, dairy and meat. The food web of an ecosystem places producers at the ground level and predators at the top. Based on food preferences organisms have been broadly grouped into herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. Studies suggest that humans eat about 200 plant species out of more than half a million species available on the planet.
Unlike non-living systems, living organisms convert food into the body. The food in a bottle stays as food but food in the body becomes the body.
It is important to eat consciously as the food that we eat has a direct impact on body functions. Food is information that we feed to the body to keep it going. If the information is incorrect, the outcome will naturally be undesirable. Eating too much food delivers nutritional overload leading to obesity and diseases. In contrast, if the nutrient intake does not fulfil metabolic requirements of the body, the result can be weakness and drastic health effects.
It is important to think of food beyond the calorie meter! Food is not just about calories. It has a strong emotional value! Unlike in the past, when people used to consume fresh food, now-a-days it is common to eat food stored in the cold or remaining on the shelf, for weeks and months. Processed foods have found a way into our daily menu containing artificial color additives, flavorings, sweeteners, and so on. Eating such a food creates an unhealthy situation within the body leading to undesirable outcomes.
Studies indicate that fruits and vegetables grown in natural conditions have far less nutrients than what was available decades or centuries back. This is primarily due to modern farming practices that have depleted the soil of nutrients lowering its organic content. Given the extinction of edible plant species across the planet, we are eating far less range of food than our ancestors. Our eating habits have moved towards convenience rather than good health. Diets of the youth generally lack the necessary balance of nutrients leading to frequent health problems.
Functional foods are an outcome of the realization that body deficiencies can be treated by eating specific food in specific conditions. Experts look at the role of nutrients in maintaining body systems at their peak performance. For example, a drop in immunity may be linked to faulty digestion or eating the wrong kind of food. It could also be linked to a deficiency in essential minerals.
Fast food is high in calories and low in nutrients. Eating a lot of fast food can impact the body and mind, in an adverse way. A lot of fast foods including drinks are loaded with carbohydrates with little fiber. As the carbohydrate-rich food gets digested, a lot of sugar is released which goes into the bloodstream triggering the release of insulin from the pancreas. The role of insulin is to transport sugar across the body and deliver it where it’s required most. Normally, body handles the sudden spike in blood sugar quite well. However, recurring spikes of sugar can force a distorted release of insulin over time.
Similarly eating a lot of fatty foods in the form of pastries, fries, pizzas, cookies, and so on, can increase LDL levels (bad cholesterol), lowering the good cholesterol (HDL), increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, the addition of salt can be detrimental to people with blood pressure conditions. Excess calories from fast food intake increase the chances of obesity leading to multiple problems, depending upon the age and genetic sensitivity.
Nutritional psychiatry is an emerging interdisciplinary field for studying nutritional interventions to ensure good mental health. Our brain is always ON taking care of every system in the body whether we are awake or asleep. Food and water are critical fuels to maintain the brain at peak performance. As the brain is a premium organ, it requires premium fuel. The supply of low-grade fuel can trigger mood disorders, headaches, memory issues, and so on.
The key is to supply high-quality natural fuel enriched in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, instead of low-quality processed / refined fuel. Diets high in refined sugars are considered harmful to the brain. Taken over time, they may also promote inflammation and oxidative stress. Several studies have discovered a correlation between a diet enriched in refined sugars and mood variations, perhaps due to free radicals or inflammatory cells circulating in the brain’s enclosed space.
Interesting associations have also been reported between gut bacteria and mood disorders. Most of the serotonin (responsible for sleep, hunger, and mood variation) is produced in the human gut which is lined with nerve cells. Thus, the digestive system not only helps in digesting the food but also relays the information to the brain for a suitable response.
Scientists have found a traditional diet rich in vegetables, fruits, grains, and seafood good for brain health. In contrast, the refined/processed diet has been linked to the deterioration of health over time.
In the Eastern system, the concept of prana (vital energy) and food has found an interesting practical association. For example, food like ash gourd, ghee, lime, and honey are considered energy generating. Coffee, Tea, snacks, garlic, onion, asafoetida, and chillis are considered energy consuming, whereas foods like potatoes and tomatoes are considered energy neutral i.e., neither adding or extracting energy from the body.
Moving from belief systems to science, one needs new measurement technologies, to step into a domain that is currently considered spiritual. The take home is that calories are only a partial metric. There is a need to deepen research on food science, connecting eastern wisdom with western technology, to find a middle path that is evidence-based.
Genetics is a field of science that deals with the inheritance of biological information using phenotypic, chromosomal, and nucleic acid data. Depending upon the availability of data, one gets a gallery view of the inheritance pattern.
For example, at the time of Gregor Mendel, microscopes and staining methods that could help in viewing the chromosomes, were not invented. Mendel calculated based on the external appearance of plants and used addition and division to derive laws of inheritance!
From early to mid 1990s, when methods to study chromosomes were well established, the science of chromosomal genetics was born. With Avery, McLeod, and McCarthy demonstrating genetic transformation in bacteria, the science of molecular genetics emerged in the mid-1940s.
From genetically heritable traits one could afford to go a bit deeper and connect abnormal chromosome numbers with clinical conditions e.g., Turner, Down, Klinefelter syndromes. With the availability of DNA sequencing methods, the genetic story found its expression in the form of gene mutations.
The time was ripe for the introduction of pedigrees and trace gene disorders in the form of autosomal, x- and y-chromosomal linked autosomal and recessive traits. With the developments of isolation, staining, and data analytical methods, fields like metagenomics, epigenetics, and quantitative genetics became new pursuits of scientists.
One of the major takeaways has been the discovery of the connection between gene abnormalities and human behavior. People have traced behavioral disturbances, cognitive deficits, and developmental delays with genes that are knocked out, mutated, or gagged. Some gene disorders show clinically detectable symptoms at birth, while others take time to develop.
For example, Klinefelter syndromes (an extra X chromosome, total 47) show difficulty in expressing thoughts and socializing with people. Due to this reason, they tend to stay away from the crowd and generally show low energy levels.
Similarly, Down syndrome (an extra chromosome 21, total 47) show lifelong intellectual disability and developmental anomalies. They show moderate cognitive impairment, learn a language later than others, and can have memory and sleep issues.
Turner syndrome affects only females (one X chromosome is missing, a total of 45). They show stunted growth, diminished secondary sexual characteristics at puberty, a high probability of learning disabilities, anxiety, and depression
All these may be extreme cases, one needs to consider that in normal situations also genetics and environment play a role in determining behavioral outcomes, and deserve greater attention in sociological sciences.