Sources Of Drinking Water
We are always told to keep hydrated and drink plenty of water, but does this mean we should be drinking any type of water, or are there more benefits of one over another?
Not all water is created equal! The type of water you drink can affect your health from minor ailments to life threatening illnesses, so it's important to know the differences between them~
This is a subject close to my heart. Back in 1987 my family and I were poisoned, after moving into a flat that had stood empty for twelve years and the authorities didn't flush the pipes as they were supposed to.
Thankfully such an extreme case is rare and most water pipes have now been replaced with safer alternatives, but our tap water still contains fluoride, aluminium and lead to name only three, which are known to cause severe health problems.
Boiling water doesn't make it any safer either, as it in fact concentrates the heavy metals, making it more poisonous.
As you can tell I would suggest only drinking tap water when there is no alternative!
Many choose to use a filter to clean tap water.
How effective this is, depends on the quality of the filter. Many of the cheaper makes don't really do much and can even add to the impurities, so it's worth investing in a decent make.
Ideally you'll have a filter that removes all heavy metals as well as fluoride. The safety of fluoride is a much debated topic, but I personally believe it is dangerous~ particularly considering the quantity of water we need to keep hydrated.
Mineral water can vary greatly from one make to another. It can be natural or artificial and is simply water that has had minerasl added to it. In some areas the tap water can be classed as mineral water due to the mineral content.
The benefits of mineral water depend on the source and the minerals it contains. It could be tap water with added artificial minerals which would not be very healthy to drink. On the other hand it could be naturally occuring and only contain the most useful minerals to us, such as iron and magnesium.
To be sure what you're drinking, check out the source of the mineral water. Most bottles should explain where the water is from, or at least have contact details where you can find out more details.
Spring water by definition and law be collected directly from a natural spring~ preferably from underground.
This is the most beneficial, safest and best tasting water you can get. It is unaltered with nothing filtered from or added to it.
Spring water contains smaller amounts of minerals compared to mineral water. Unlike most mineral waters which contain both good and bad minerals, spring water minerals are all safe and beneficial. They are added naturally as the water passes through the earth, up to the surface.
Distilled water is the purest type of water and yet not necessarily the healthiest choice and has a bland taste.
Distilled water has been completely filtered of all minerals. The process involves boiling the water to steam and then collecting it when it turns back into water.
Because of it's absolute purity, distilled water is thought to flush out minerals already stored in your body~ whether they are good or bad ones! It's also known to lower your pH level, which can lead to many health problems.
These problems can be avoided though, by increasing the amount of mineral rich foods you eat~ this should be your primary source of minerals anyway and balance out any flushed out from the water.
Take into account how the water gets to you, when considering the health effects of water.
Ideally you would buy spring water in glass bottles. Plastic bottles continuously leak chemicals which enter the water and are known to affect hormone balance and in turn contribute to several health problems~ not to mention the effect all that plastic has on the environment.
Unfortunately Spring water in glass bottles is the most expensive (and heavy) to buy, but is a good investment as far as your health is concerned~ unless you are lucky enough to live next to a spring that is!
What Are Electrolytes?
Hydration isn't just about water. We all need to take into consideration electrolytes too. These are salts that when in water conduct electricity. Water and sweating will flush out electrolytes, so the more water you drink and the more you sweat, the more you need to make sure you eat electrolyte rich foods.
When we exercise and sweat, are hungover, or have a nutrient poor diet, we are lacking electrolytes and this creates lethargy, aches, pains and nausea. An extremely severe lack of electrolytes can even be life threatening.
In the video below, this rather hyper guy talks us through what electrolytes are and why sports drinks are damaging to our health. He shows us his favourite way to keep an electrolyte balance and it certainly seems to be working as he sure has a lot of energy!
Sources of Electrolytes
These foods are naturally rich in the four main electrolytes needed for good hydration:
- Coconut (particularly coconut water)
- Bananas (potassium)
- Salt (sodium)
- Spinach (calcium)
- Pumpkin seeds (magnesium)