Tap? Bottled? Filtered? What type of water do you drink? What type is the best to drink? How much should I drink? Hold on to your tails, I will answer all those questions for you!
But first, let’s go back to the basics and list a few facts about water.
- Water is the most abundant and most important substance on earth and in our bodies.
- Did you know pure 100% water does not exist naturally on our planet? This is because there will always be minerals and other substances that are dissolved in the water.
- The adult body is at least 60% while the fetus is 80%.
- Water is essential. We cannot live without it.
- In our bodies, water carries electrolytes which are mineral salts that help convey electrical currents in the body. Water is involved in essentially every bodily function; from circulation to digestion to absorption and elimination.
So what is up with all these different types of drinking water?
The water on Earth is in a crisis! Our water is becoming more and more toxic. Our water is being contaminated with toxic chemicals. Additionally, although in many places water purification plants are present and available to minimize these toxic contaminates, this in turn contributes to other concerns. For example, much of the water in cities are heavily chlorinated in order to kill the germs and fluoridated to prevent tooth decay. The pipes that carry the water may also leach metals such as lead or copper into our drinking water. In addition there are numerous of other possible contaminants that are found in drinking water such as microorganisms, disinfectants, as well as other chemicals and by-products.
What are the various types of drinking water?
As a result of these varying contaminants that may be found in our water, it is important to take a look at not only the various types of drinking water but the pros and cons of each. It is also important because depending on what area of the world you live, the most optimal type of water may vary as well.
- TAP WATER – I live in Vancouver, BC, and we are extremely fortunate to have such amazing and easily accessible tap water. Most of our tap water come from groundwater or from surface reservoirs. Local cities use settling tanks to treat this water in order to separate out the drinkable water with contaminants such as sediments.
- WELL WATER – This is found underground and varies in mineral content depending on where it is located. It may be highly rich in nutritional minerals but possibly contaminated with heavy toxic chemicals as well. Therefore it is important to have it analyzed before consuming.
- SPRING WATER – This is a natural water found on the surface or underground. As we know, companies retrieve this and bottle it. Note that this type of water is not processed but is disinfected with chlorine. As a result, some may taste a difference between spring and tap water. The mineral content also differs depending on the location. Contamination is also a possibility.
- MINERAL WATER – Most water is actually mineral water because they contain minerals. Many companies actually bottle spring as mineral water by injecting carbon dioxide; this because it is easily lost during the bottling process. Contamination is a possibility and thus should be checked. Mineral water should also not be the only type of water consumed because the high mineral content makes our bodies acidic in the long-run.
- DISTILLED WATER – This form of water removes most of the minerals, organisms and chemicals. This is done by vaporizing the water from one chamber and condensing it into another. It is expensive, have a lower boiling point and also contains less minerals. This form of water should only be consumed during on a detox, because when consumed it tends to attract minerals and toxins in order to balance with other body fluids, which can lead to possible mineral deficiencies.
- FILTERED WATER – Filtering the water means removal of extraneous matter whether it is chemicals, metals, bacteria, or other contaminants. The filter must remove at least 99.75% of the incoming microorganisms. Within filtered water there are two types:
– Activated Carbon: which can further be divided into granulated carbon filters and solid carbon block filters. Both of these contain carbon as filtering substance. The difference is that the granulated carbon filters (e.g. Brita filters) contain small spaces in the filter. Whereas solid carbon block filters contain no spaces; this can lead to the breeding and multiplying of bacteria.
– Reverse Osmosis: a 3 cylinder filter process (sedimentation, carbon, and RO filters), they remove even smaller particles than activated carbon filters. They are expensive, but fairly good at removing extraneous materials, perhaps too much of the minerals.
So what type of water do I drink? I filter and boil my water and try avoiding tap water as much as I can. Additionally I do not buy bottled water, nor do I drink mineral, spring or distilled water. If you are unsure, I suggest filtered would be your best bet and then boiling the water if you are able to as well to be extra safe. Activated carbon filtered water is the most common type of drinking water, and in the long run is the least expensive, safest and best tasting.
How much water do I need to drink per day?
As most of us know, the average recommendation is 8 cups or 2L. However, water requirements vary tremendously not only between each person but between the same individual. There are many factors that come into play.
- Climate or temperature: the hotter and higher temperature leads to more fluid loss.
- Activity level: the higher the activity level, the more fluid loss due to sweat.
- Diet: Fruits and vegetables are high in water content; while other foods and beverages may be diuretics and thus increase the loss of fluid.
- Physiological state: for example when we have a fever or experiencing diarrhea; thus resulting in more fluid loss.
- Body size
Due to these factors, it is quite difficult for me to tell you how much you need exactly. Some days I drink more than others. A good way to tell if you are drinking enough water is the colour of your urine. The preferred colour is a very light or pale yellow; the clearer and lighter, the better. As always, the last thing is to listen to your body. Our bodies know when we need more or less water.
So that wraps up all about drinking water. If you have any additional questions let me know.
Reference: Staying Healthy With Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine – By: Elson Haas