It may not be as tasty as soda, as sweet as iced tea, or as addictive as coffee, but water is an integral part of health. According to a recent publication in Nutrition Reviews1, men should be drinking 3.7L and women 2.7L of water each day. Why? Not only is the human body made up of 60-70% water, but it’s necessary for each and every one of our cells, tissues and organs. The many health benefits of drinking adequate amounts of water include weight loss2, proper organ3 and brain function4, cognitive5 and physical performance6, and regulation of body temperature1. We need water to survive.
So just how good for you is water really?
Well, it depends on its quality. There are many factors, including arsenic7, fluoride8, lead9, beryllium10, chlorine11 and even hormones and other pollutants12, that can affect the quality of the water your drink. Despite efforts made by the government and water purification plants to provide citizens with clean water, there remain many dangerous contaminants. It is therefore important to check the quality and safety of your tap water and make sure that a proper system is in place if levels fall below ideal. Not only will this remove chlorine, fluoride and known contaminants regularly used in the water treatment process, it will do away with potential lead or copper that may be present in old pipes in your home. Rather than simply and blindly trusting your tap water, it is worth making sure it is of good quality to provide your body the benefits it needs.
Testing and Purifying Your Water
There are a few ways you can test your tap water. One way is to contact your local water authority and request either a new test or a recent report of tests done in your area. Another way is to purchase a water testing kit13 and run the tests yourself.
But let’s say you’ve done the tests only to uncover that your water isn’t all that great. What now?
There are various ways you can purify your water. Reverse osmosis and distillation are quite common and popular, however research suggests that these water purification methods may either not be able to remove all contaminants or may clean the water so well that there aren’t any beneficial minerals left. These methods also tend to be expensive and wasteful of water and energy (with about 3 gallons of water needed for every gallon of water produced). An economical and effective option for cleaning water is filtration systems14.
Among the filtration systems available, there are three main categories. Mechanical filters are those that use filter pads or diatomaceous earth to ‘catch’ particulate matter in the filter’s pores. Chemical filtration systems are those that use an atomic charge to attract contaminants and break their bond with water molecules. Physical filtration systems block the passage of water with a filter to separate contaminants from drinking water. With so many choices and so many price ranges, it can be a daunting task to choose the right filtration system for you. So here are a few tips:
1. Make sure the system you choose can remove herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals (including mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), thallium (Tl), and lead (Pb)), endocrine-disrupting chemicals (like diethylstilbestrol (DES), dioxin and dioxin-like compounds (PCDDs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)), and controversial contaminants like Fluoride (F-) and Chlorine (Cl).
2. Consider the waste factor of the system. Reverse osmosis systems use anywhere between 1 and 3 gallons of water for every gallon of pure water produced. When you consider that drinking water is a precious resource our world needs, it makes sense to go for the less wasteful options available.
3. Consider personal factors like the space available for a tank, the number of people in your home, and your budget.
Water is absolutely essential to your health. Along with finding out what’s best for you as an individual with a unique bodily constitution (via technologies like ph360 and ShaeTM), drinking water is one simple thing we can all do.
Let’s stay hydrated. Let’s stay healthy.
1 Sawka, Michael N., Samuel N. Cheuvront, & Robert Carter. (2005). Human water needs. Nutrition Reviews 63. suppl 1 : S30-S39.
2 Dennis, Elizabeth A., et al. (2010) Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle‐aged and Older Adults. Obesity 18.2, 300-307.
3 Panel on Dietary Reference Intakes for Electrolytes and Water; Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes; Food and Nutrition Board; Institute of Medicine, (2005), Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate Chapter: 4 Water
4 Maughan, R. J., S. M. Shirreffs, and P. Watson. (2007), Exercise, heat, hydration and the brain. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 26.sup5, 604S-612S.
5 Suhr, Julie A., et al. (2004) The relation of hydration status to cognitive performance in healthy older adults. International journal of psychophysiology53.2, 121-125.
6 Murray, Bob. (2007) Hydration and physical performance. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 26.sup5, 542S-548S.
7 Yoshida, Takahiko, Hiroshi Yamauchi, and Gui Fan Sun. (2004) Chronic health effects in people exposed to arsenic via the drinking water: dose–response relationships in review. Toxicology and applied pharmacology 198.3, 243-252.
8 Fawell, John, et al. (2013) Fluoride in drinking-water. Water Intelligence Online 12, 9781780405803.
9 World Health Organization. (2003) Lead in drinking-water: background document for development of WHO guidelines for drinking-water quality.
10 World Health Organization. (2009) Beryllium in drinking-water: background document for development of WHO guidelines for drinking-water quality.
11 Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark J., et al. (2007) Chlorination disinfection byproducts in water and their association with adverse reproductive outcomes: a review. Occupational and environmental medicine 57.2, 73-85.
12 Ternes, Thomas, and Adriano Joss. (2006) Human pharmaceuticals, hormones and fragrances-the challenge of micropollutants in urban water management. Water Intelligence Online 5, 9781780402468.
13 Luther, D. (2016) How to Test Your Drinking Water (And Why You Should Do It), The Organic Prepper, http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/how-to-test-your-drinking-water-and-why-you-should-do-it-01252016
14 Sobsey, Mark D., et al. (2008) Point of use household drinking water filtration: a practical, effective solution for providing sustained access to safe drinking water in the developing world. Environmental science & technology 42.12, 4261-4267.