With all the hype these days about how much water we should drink and whether it should be bottled or tap water, it's no wonder we're all confused about what is best for our health. What makes the choice more confusing is that there are now many more 'water' options, and if that's not enough to consider, then there is the 'to filter or not to filter' option . Is it all making you thirsty?
Why Is It Important To Drink Enough Water?
Water is essential to living a healthy lifestyle and vital to all known forms of life, we can't survive without it. Our bodies use water to hydrate, lubricate and cleanse us. Our kidneys are our filter system and they need water to rinse and flush out excess contaminants from our bodies.
We need to drink water daily to keep us hydrated, we lose fluids throughout the day through sweat, urine, bowel movements and even our breath, people who live in hot climates will lose more than those who live in milder or colder climates. The fluid we lose needs to be replaced otherwise we can become dehydrated and the body will not have enough fluid to supply our organs, which can be very dangerous.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
It is commonly thought that between six and eight glasses of water every day is recommended, this can also consist of others fluids such as tea, coffee and soft drinks. Some people may need more or less, it all depends on how healthy you are and how much exercise you do, if any at all, you also have to take into account the climate you live in.
A good rule of thumb is to check your urine, if it's a light yellow color then you're drinking enough water, if not, then you need to increase your fluid intake. This is especially important in older adults as the thirst mechanism works less efficiently with age. Insufficient fluid intake can lead to chronic dehydration which can cause health problems if it's not checked out.
Are there Different Types of Water?
The answer to that question is twofold, on the one hand the answer is no, our water is a ‘finite’ resource, in other words, the water we have on our planet is all we have and we cannot make any more. Our water is constantly being recycled through the earth's evaporation and re absorption system, it’s the same water that has been with us from when the earth was formed, so it's quite possible that the water we drink today may have been drunk by dinosaur's millions of years ago!
The other answer to the question is yes, there are different 'types of water, that is to say, by adding or taking away from our finite water, we can create different types of water to drink. We can filter water to remove some of the contaminants, or add to bottled water to make it fizzy, and flavor it to give it a different taste, we can bottle natural spring water and add carbon dioxide to it to make it 'sparkling'.
.... Bottled or Tap Water?
Most of us rely on bottled water or water from the tap, (community or municipal water). Both 'types' of drinking water have dangers lurking in them. Tap water is full of heavy metals and contaminants. Bottled water can have chemicals added to 'sweeten' or 'flavor' it, in fact, some bottled water is actually plain tap water! If all of this is confusing you as to which water you should drink, then take a look at the types of water listed below to help you make your decision.
5 Types of Bottled Water
1. Natural 'Living Water'
We need to know where our water comes from so that we can make informed choices about the type of water we drink. The best ‘unadulterated’ water to drink is natural spring water, sometimes called, 'living water'. Mountain spring water is ideal, it's in its raw natural state, just the way nature made it. Filtered many times on its journey through the earth, it picks up vital minerals and nutrients on its way, it's probably the healthiest water you can drink.
However, it's not so easy in our modern consumer driven society, to just go and find a natural spring emerging from a mountain, and fill up our glass or jug. We have to rely on the commercial 'bottling' of spring water to be able to get a constant supply of it, the trouble with this process is that it can be possible for the water to be altered or changed, either by adding to it or removing some of its health giving properties. If you can verify where your natural spring water has come from, then you can be sure you will be drinking the healthiest water on the planet.
2. Mineral Water
Mineral water is similar to spring water, it comes from a mineral spring that contains different types of minerals such as Sulphur compounds and salts, and it may be sparkling at source due to the gases it contains. The traditional way to drink mineral water was at the source of the spring such as a spa, baths or a well, this is where the term 'taking the waters' comes from. Today, in the modern world, mineral water is bottled at source and sold on to consumers.
3. Vitamin Water
Vitamin water is nothing more than a clever marketing scheme designed to promote a product that is just as unhealthy as sugar filled fizzy drinks. Vitamin water is simply sugar water with added synthetic vitamins. These vitamins don't have the same health benefits as natural vitamins and are often loaded with sugar and other artificial additives, and if that isn't enough to put you off, manufacturers of these drinks use distilled water to make their products, which is one of the worst types of water you can put in your body!!
4. Enhanced or Flavored Water
There is an increasing array of 'enhanced', or flavored waters advertised as 'functional water' on the market today. They are often advertised as being a great alternative to juices and sugar filled soft drinks, but beware, they contain dangerously high amounts of fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, additives, preservatives and caffeine, they can also be full of chemicals. Some of these flavored bottled waters claim to be healthy so always read the label on these bottles to determine exactly what you are drinking.
5. Sparkling Water
Sparkling water contains carbon dioxide that has been dissolved creating sparkling or 'carbonated' water, it's often the main ingredient for sodas r fizzy drinks. It’s quite common to see this type of water marketed as sparkling spring water, or sparkling mineral water, or just plain sparkling water, it's distinctive because of its bubbles and fizz.
What About Tap Water?
Turn on a tap in your home and out comes water, simple easy and convenient. However, without being too alarmist, it's worth knowing that most of our tap water is contaminated with pollutants that can seriously damage your health. The level of Arsenic, especially in US tap water, is incredibly high. Arsenic is poisonous and a powerful carcinogenic, which has been linked to an increasing number of cancers.
Aluminum is found in municipal tap water in many countries and it can cause a wide variety of health problems. We have all heard about the link between Aluminum and Alzheimer’s, but it has also been linked to Hyperactivity, Gastrointestinal Disease, Parkinson’s Disease skin problems and liver Disease, it's also thought to be responsible for learning difficulties in children.
Most water authorities add Fluoride to the drinking water, supposedly to prevent cavities and build strong teeth. Research has now shown that Fluoride does not fight cavities, but it actually leads to an increased risk of cavities, as well as a whole host of other health problems. It's a well-known toxin and can weaken the immune system and accelerate ageing through cellular damage.
You don’t need to go to the doctor to get a Prescription Drug these days, they are found in our water supply..... albeit in tiny doses. How do they get there? When we take medications our bodies release the residue through urination and bowel movements, drugs are also released into the water supply when people flush old medications down the toilet, even throwing them in the rubbish can result in them entering the water supply, by leaching out into the soil and eventually into the rivers, though not all suppliers use rivers as their water source.
Waste water is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs rivers or lakes, the water that is piped to consumers is sent to water treatment plants and cleansed again but most treatments do not remove all drug residues. Although levels are low, research still can't say for sure whether the level of drugs in our drinking water is high enough to be harmful to our health.
Filtered Tap Water
After all said and done, tap water is relatively safe to drink, but if you prefer to take extra precautions against the inevitable contaminants it contains, then why not buy a water filter or have one fitted to you drinking water supply? There are a number of filtration systems available today. Filtration is a very cost efficient way of producing a lot of purified water in a relatively short amount of time.
The filtered water you drink is basically tap water that is filtered either through a system connected to the tap, or by filling a jug fitted with a carbon filter or similar device This will remove the chlorine residue and also give the water a 'softer' taste, though many filters don't protect against other contaminants found in water supplies. The downside of a filter system is that it usually has a finite lifespan, so can become susceptible to mold and the buildup of bio film residues if it's not cleaned regularly.
Alternatives to Plain Water
Whereas, water is vital for life, sometimes it's not always a drink of choice, some people just can't stomach a plain glass of water, that's OK, most healthy people can get enough fluid through drinking other beverages throughout the day and water can be consumed through fruit and vegetables, such as watermelon and lettuce which contain a lot of water.
There are no calories or sugars in water, which makes it the healthiest choice for a thirst quenching drink. If you find the taste quite bland, try adding a slice of lemon or lime or a fruit juice for extra flavor.
If after reading all this, you're still not sure what water to drink, or you really don't fancy drinking water at all, then why not try adding a little variety to your fluid intake. As well as drinking coffee, tea and soup, all of which disguise the water you need, what about drinking coconut milk? It’s an excellent source of electrolytes and fresh, pure water. The coconut is rich in lauric acid, which is a known immune booster as well as having antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties even better still, juicing fruit and vegetables is a healthy way to boost your fluid intake but try to use organic for optimal nutritional benefit. .