Water, Hydration, & Food / Benefits of Spiritual Practices

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Date Host George Noory
Guests Gina Bria, Rupert Sheldrake

Cultural anthropologist Gina Bria has been researching ritual foods and food strategies for over 25 years. In the first half, she reported on scientific breakthroughs in water science and personal hydration. One of the surprising findings was that rather than drinking eight glasses of water a day, eating certain plants could provide plenty of hydration. Many fruits and vegetables, even leafy greens, are up to 98% water. This kind of mineralized water is more hydrating than regular water, as it's more slowly absorbed and released by the body, she explained. "An apple can hydrate you more than a bottle of water," she continued, as the bottled water tends to "flash flood" your system, in contrast to the liquid in food.

Bottled and tap water lacks energy, as they have "disorganized molecules...that aren't spinning together in a way that creates energy," she detailed. To counteract this, Bria recommends putting a pinch of sea salt, lemon juice, or a splash of apple cider vinegar into your water to re-energize it. Hydration is a multi-level process related to our energy levels and mood, she reported, and when a person is dehydrated, they may exhibit signs of crankiness or fatigue. Hydration can also have a spiritual aspect, Bria shared. For instance, a study of ceremonial bathing in the Ganges River on specific days found that the water was more crystalline during certain moon phases and elevated bathers' physical well-being.

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In the latter half, former research fellow of the Royal Society, author Rupert Sheldrake discussed his work on various spiritual practices that are personally transformative and have scientifically measurable effects. Studies have shown that those with a religious or spiritual practice are healthier and happier than those without one and tend to live longer, he detailed. Interestingly, he considers that sports or athletic pursuits can be a form of spirituality, as participants often find themselves living in the moment, just as one might during meditation. Fasting, which is found in many religions and shamanic societies, has been associated with extending lifespan and moments of peak insight, he said.

Sheldrake spoke about the benefits of prayer, which often takes the form of practical requests or wishes. Prayer can work at different levels, even just as a placebo effect, he noted, and it may make us feel more connected, which in itself is healing. Prayer and meditation can be complementary practices, he added. Touching on his latest research into terminal lucidity, Sheldrake described terminally ill patients who may have dementia or diminished capacity but then suddenly snap back into moments of clarity just before they die. He is compiling a database to determine if pets or animals have also demonstrated a form of this terminal lucidity when near death. If you have witnessed something like this with your pet, he invites you to write him at sheldrake@sheldrake.org.

News segment guests: John M. Curtis, Charles Coppes

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