Gel Water Is Replacing Your Recommended 8 Cups of Water Every Day
Sometimes it can feel like you’re trying everything to hydrate, yet nothing is working. You’ve tested all the health hacks and every skin hack in the book. Yet you still feel thirsty, deal with frequent headaches, feel tired or foggy halfway through the day, and have sagging or lifeless skin.
Or, maybe you’re just curious about how to prioritize your hydration for the best skin of your life and to avoid feeling like any of the above.
Either way, we’ve got something you want to know about.
Water has a fourth state.
And it’s called gel water.
Yep, really. It’s not liquid, solid, or vapor – it’s a gel. This structured water may not get a ton of press, but over the last decade or so, a new way to hydrate has stepped into the scene.
Where It Comes From + Where You Can Find It
So, what is gel water, and why are you just now hearing about it?
Research is lagging on this new structured form of water – you have to dig if you want to find out why it’s so important. Don’t worry, we’ve done the digging for you.
What Is Gel Water?
Gel water is the same water we know (H2O) with one extra hydrogen and an extra oxygen molecule – H3O2.
The extra molecules give the water a unique gel structure – the same type of water your cells are made of. This is a beneficial discovery because it’s a better biological match for your body – your body absorbs it easier + quicker, leading to better hydration.
Gel water also has a few science-based names:
- Exclusion-zone water
- EZ water
- Structured water
This “fourth phase” of water was discovered and coined by Dr. Pollack, a biomedical engineering research scientist at the University of Washington. Dr. Pollack even received the first-ever Emoto Peace Prize for his research on gel water.1
In the popular health podcast called Ben Greenfield Life,2 the author and doctor Dana Cohen was interviewed on the properties and history of gel water. We love the knowledge she shared.
She gave an excellent example for visualizing this fourth phase of water: Imagine cutting open an aloe plant – there’s a thick, mushy gel inside. This is how desert plants stay hydrated, and it’s similar to the structured water found inside our bodies at a cellular level.2
Where Do You Find This Fourth Form of Water?
As we’ve already covered, gel water exists throughout our bodies. It’s a crucial building block of our cell structure + function. But you’ll also find gel water in:
Our skin needs nutrients from nature, but not just topically.
As Dr. Cohen says, you’re probably not hydrating properly if you’re not consuming plants.2 You’ll find gel water in most fruits and vegetables but especially:
- Cucumbers and watermelon (over 90% water content)
- Chia seeds (when ground + soaked, they absorb water to form a gel)
- Iceberg lettuce (the veins carry water)
- Tomatoes & Peppers (water-rich vegetables)
- Jicama (85% made of water)
- Cauliflower (surprising, but this little veggie is high in gel water)
- Fruits (specifically berries or lemons)
These aren’t the only ones, just some of the biggest hitters.
It’d be logical to assume gel water foods are your primary source of gel water. But this fourth phase of water isn’t limited to things that seem watery – fats can have gel water too!
- Ghee (Dr. Pollack’s research confirms high gel water content in clarified butter)
- Coconut oil is also a good source of gel water3
Not all fats have been analyzed for their gel water levels – there’s not enough attention yet. But according to research, healthy fats are crucial in helping you hydrate. And Dr. Cohen agrees that you should consume omega-3s (aka healthy, inflammation-fighting fats) to keep your cell membranes supple for better water absorption.3
Ancestral Wisdom Practiced Hydrating Properly through Gel Water
If you’ve been around Primally Pure long enough, you know we love to lean on the principles taught by our ancestors (and if you’re new here, welcome! Check out this quick intro).
Ancestral wisdom is a methodical way to return to our roots, simplify our lives, and heal our bodies + minds. Lucky for us, ancestral wisdom has a lot to teach us about hydrating properly through gel water and how to hydrate your skin from the inside.
Dr. Cohen’s book, written in partnership with an anthropologist, discusses desert dwellers who mastered the habit of hydrating properly. They depended on plants and grains, (which created this gel-like substance), for hydration – even in sparse conditions:2
The Bedouins Tribe – The Original Arabs
These desert nomads would frontload water (first thing in the morning) – after all, they weren’t walking around the desert with huge bottles of water.
They also used clothing that Dr. Cohen’s book deems “humidity tents” – heavy black robes with hoods which basically recycled + preserved hydration in the extreme heat.
They also drank camel milk and slathered goat's butter on bread, which is loaded with electrolytes. Gel-like water content combined with healthy fats creates the perfect recipe for hydration because it sets your cells up for optimal absorption.
The Tarahumara People + Chia Hydration
These Mexican desert people would run marathons between towns and use chia as their main hydration source.
They would (and still do!) drink chia seeds in a drink called “Chia Fresca,” or Iskiate. They were some of the first people in history to understand the power of chia seeds for health.
The Hadza People + Baobab Fruits
These tribes in northern Africa are considered to have a carnivorous/paleo diet. They use baobab fruit that grows in trees native to Africa. Then, they blend the flesh with water and drink it. This concoction is loaded with fiber, fat, and vitamins. As Dr. Cohen pointed out, this breakfast drink is essentially an ancient morning smoothie!
We can take from many of these ancient cultures and see that gel water was a primary source of hydration. Dr. Cohen states that ancient pottery reveals these cultures created gelatinous concoctions, cooking stews for hours with meats, grains, and vegetables. These stews would break down into a form of gel water, providing excellent hydration.2
Why Hydration From Gel Water Is Superior
There are plenty of reasons to add gel water to your diet, especially if you’re wondering how to hydrate skin naturally. Maybe your goal is hydrating properly for full-body health – regardless, there are plenty of reasons this fourth phase of water should be your new go-to.
The Concept of 8 Glasses of Water/Day Is Outdated
We loved Dr. Cohen’s no-nonsense perspective on this:2
“Drinking more water is not the answer. How can you say that eight glasses a day is right for everyone? We’re all different shapes and sizes, we all do different exercises, some sweat more than others.”
She believes it should be more individualized. Doctors aren’t getting a full concept of your hydration by asking how much water you drink. And unfortunately, there’s not a great way to diagnose someone as dehydrated – until it’s too late.
The Mayo Clinic even confirms this, pointing out that most people don’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated.4 Yikes.
Structured Water Is More Compatible With Our Cells
We aren’t hydrated enough by regular water because our bodies can’t absorb it all and convert it to the type of water our cells need.
Without the proper amount of water, it’s not good news:1
The best part is its adaptability: structured gel water is denser and less likely to leak out of damaged or aging cells.4
Plants = Added Nutrients
Dissolving plants in water delivers the best nutrients from the plants and allows more hydration than just water alone – you gain nutrients, minerals, and electrolytes.
And in that same vein, too much “plain” water can eliminate much-needed electrolytes + minerals.
Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that surrounds every single cell and organ in our body. Fascia plays a massive role in your health.
But it must be hydrated to function properly.
As Dr. Cohen has mentioned, the medical world used to think hydration was only moved through lymph and blood, but now we can see the fascia transports water like a hydraulic pump.2 Crazy, huh? (If you like to see things in action, check out this video.)
Our fascia is a communicative network within the body that’s activated by movement and needs hydration to thrive. So the short answer?
Better hydration = your fascia functioning at its best.
(This will do wonders for the appearance of your skin too!)
Hydrating Properly Benefits the Entire Body
Our bodies NEED water to survive. We know that much, but have you ever considered how many ways proper hydration can benefit your health?
Here’s a list from Harvard’s School of Public health about the role adequate hydration plays:5
- Regulates body temperature
- Keeps joints lubricated
- Prevents infections
- Delivers nutrients to cells
- Keeps organs functioning properly
- Improves sleep quality
- Boosts cognition
- Improves mood
That’s not all. Hydration keeps your blood pressure at a low, relaxed level reducing the risk of severe health complications like a stroke, heart attack, and high cholesterol. It also helps remove toxins and waste from the body, which is a critical player in your health – especially skin health.6
The main point here? Water is your friend for a healthy, full life. And optimal hydration comes from a generous supply of gel water.
How to Hydrate Skin Naturally Without Drinking Gallons of Water
Contrary to most medical advice, water isn’t the best (or only) way to hydrate properly.
Plain water-haters rejoice!
Gel water foods are your best friend.
Here are some easy + simple ways to hydrate effectively for the best health of your life:
- Drink water first thing in the morning. This one is basic, but consider this: your body has just gone 8 hours without water – drink up!
- Grind chia seeds to create a gel for smoothies or yogurt. Chia gel is an incredibly rich omega-3 source! And as we know, water and fat are the perfect combinations. Soaking ground chia seeds exposes the inner layer to let even more gel form.
- Consume water-heavy foods. Try peeled cucumber (to reduce lectins), jicama, or melons as a snack. Eat them as-is, or throw them in water for a flavor boost!
- Add smoothies to your morning routine. Dr. Cohen points out that blending veggies is an excellent way to get gel water plus added nutrients – genius! It’s an easy nutrient boost and hydrator for your morning routine.
- Cook with healthy fats like ghee and coconut oil. Research has shown that ghee and coconut oil contain this mega-hydrating substance. But remember to focus on omega-3 fats, not omega-6 fats (PUFAs) like industrial seed oils!
- Move throughout the day. Even small movements throughout the day keep the fascia pumping water through your body and maintain hydration.
- Dry brush your skin regularly. Dry brushing both your face + body will activate and draw fluids towards your lymph nodes to keep your systems in flow – resulting in optimal hydration.
- Drink more bone broth. Besides the fact that bone broth is loaded with nutrients your body needs, bone broth reflects the traditions of many cultures that created gelatinous stews. Plus, the added benefit of gut health + extra collagen for your skin health.
Gel Water to the Rescue: Hydrate Easily + Effectively
With this new fourth form of water, you have access to a whole new world of hydration. We love this knowledge because with the addition of gel water foods come more opportunities for flavor, nutrients, and minerals!
Take time to start incorporating gel water into your daily routine and see how it changes your hydration + your health for the better. Let us know if you notice the changes, we’re eager to hear about your gel water journey.
- Pollack Lab | Research Themes
- The Ben Greenfield Life Podcast | Quench: The Big "8 Glasses Of Day" Water Myth, Why Water Isn't The Best Way To Fully Hydrate & Much More!
- Woman’s World | The ‘Gel-Water Diet’ Is the Weight-Loss Solution That Fights Brain Fog
- Mayo Clinic | Dehydration Symptoms & Causes
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health | The Importance Of Hydration
- NIFS For Fitness | Hydration Is Key For Health And Wellness
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