Health Benefits of Alkaline Water, the Healthy Drinking Water
The Importance Of Water And Healthy Drinking Water
Water is the basis of life for all practical means. It is necessary for the normal metabolic processes of living beings including humans. Functions like flushing out toxins, process of digestion and absorption of food, carrying nutrients to each and every tissue and cell of the body and cooling of the body are invariably done by water.
Next to air, water is the most important for survival. Therefore, the importance of healthy drinking water cannot be overemphasized. Water is needed to properly hydrate the body and is a fundamental requirement for keeping the body healthy. Despite this, we tend to forget this basic truth.
We should be drinking somewhere like 3 to 4 liters of water everyday or as a simple rule drink 1 liter of water per 40 pounds of body weight.
75% of our body weight is water and 70% of the muscles are made up of water. What more incentive and proof than this is needed for us too realize how important water consumption is.
It has been found that a 5% drop in body fluids will cause a 20-30% loss in energy in most people. Even mild dehydration can reduce our metabolism by 3%. Also, a drop in body fluids by 15% can lead to death.
Dehydration can lead to symptoms like thirst, depression, fatigue, digestive problems, skin problems, obesity and even cancer apart from various other health issues.
Most of the time, just drinking enough pure water can solve a lot of these conditions. Some of the benefits of drinking about 7 to 8 glasses of healthy drinking water, everyday, is;
- Removal of toxins and wastes from the body
- Boosting of the metabolism
- Reducing weight
- Reducing the risk of a heart attack
- Decrease the risk of colon cancer
- Decrease the risk of breast cancer.
Some Terms Related To Water Explained
Before I get down to the benefits of alkaline water, which is healthy drinking water, there are some terms like alkaline water, PH, reduced water, ORP or redox potential and their relation with one another that need to be explained further to better understand the entire concept of ionized alkaline water being good for health.
PH (Potential Of Hydrogen)
PH or potential of hydrogen is a numerical value that measures the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The values range from 0-14 (highly acidic to highly alkaline).
It expresses the hydrogen ion concentration of a solution. As you know water is made up of hydrogen(H+) and hydroxide(OH-) ions. When the H+ ions are predominant the solution is acidic and when the OH- ions are predominant, the solution is basic or alkaline.
At PH 7, the H+ and the OH- ion concentration is equal and the solution is neutral.
The PH scale is a log scale meaning a change of 1 PH unit means a change of 10 times in the concentration of the hydrogen ions.
How Is PH measured?
PH is measured in 3 ways by :
- A PH meter and electrode in the lab. This is the most accurate method.
- A pocket PH meter for testing in the field.
- By PH strips and checking the intensity of the color obtained when comapred to a chart.
Difference Between PH & Alkalinity
Most of us are of the view that PH is the most important thing when looking for alkaline water. The higher the PH more alkaline the water. In reality, this is not so. PH and alkalinity are 2 different things.
PH indicates how acidic or basic ( alkaline?) a solution is,- in the case of our hub, how acidic or basic water is. It expresses the hydrogen ion concentration of water.
Alkalinity, on the other hand, is the measure of the capacity to resist a sudden change in PH.This capacity is also called the buffering capacity.
For example, if a weak acid solution is added to 2 water samples both of PH 7 but one having zero alkilinity (no buffering power) and the other with alkalinity 50 mg/liter (buffering power) then the PH of the zero alkalinity water will drop immediately while the PH of the water with buffering capacity will hardly change at all.
For this reason one can have water with high PH and low alkalinity and conversely water with a low PH but high alkalinity like in sparkling mineral waters.
Alkalinity is also the capacity of a solution to neutralize acids.
Though PH & Alkalinity are related, alkalinity does not depend entirely on PH.
PH just measures the degree of alkalinity not its quantity.
Alkalinity measures the concentrations of bicarbonate, carbonate and OH ions. Sodium bicarbonate is the main alkaline buffer in our blood. Alkalinity is an indication of how much bicarbonate is present in water. It is measured in mg/liter or ppm as CaCo3 in the laboratory.
ORP/Redox Potential & Its Relation To Alkaline Water
Alkaline medium has the property to discourage growth of pathogenic bacteria while an acidic medium favors bacterial growth. Hence alkaline water is the kind of healthy drinking water we should be drinking, to remain healthy.
Closely related to this concept, is another one, called ORP or Oxidation Reduction Potential. Also called, Redox Potential, it is the capacity or potential to reduce the number of free radicals by attacking them. As is known free radicals are harmful and cause various health problems in the body.
ORP is measured in millivolts (mv) by an ORP meter. It has either a positive or negative number. Water with a negative ORP acts like an antioxidant and is beneficial to the body. Also in most cases higher the PH, more alkaline the water and and higher the -ve ORP.
For example, tap water or bottled water has ORP values between +100 to +300. Soft drinks have much higher ORP of +500- to +600, while,
a 9.5 PH water normally has an ORP of about -200 to -300 mv or thereabouts.
Soft drinks as can be seen apart from being highly acidic have a very high ORP. This makes them extremely harmful and unsafe as they allow the free radicals a free reign to attack and destroy tissue. It is for this reason that soft drinks are health destroyers.
So if you are drinking alkaline water, be rest assured that you are taking in antioxidant rich healthy drinking water, one that is health promoting.
About Free Radicals
Oxygen is needed by the body to survive. Although it is stable in air, when there is an excess in the body it becomes active and therefore unstable attaching to healthy cells.
When the free radicals are limited in number they benefit by attacking and destroying bacteria, virus etc but when the free radicals are high in numbers they attack and attach to the normal healthy cells and tissues oxidizing them in the process.
For example if they oxidize the :
- Liver - it leads to hepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer.
- Pancreas - it leads to pancreatitis, diabetes and cancer.
- Kidney - it leads to nephritis, nephrosis and cancer.
To prevent the oxidation of the healthy tissues and diseased conditions, it is essential to scavenge or neutralize this active oxygen. One way to do this is by providing them with free electrons, thus preventing them from attacking healthy tissues. It is here that natural antioxidants like Vitamin C, E, beta carotene etc are helpful.
Also, reduced water, that is, alkaline ionized water which has free electrons to donate to neutralize the active oxygen is very beneficial since the lower molecular weight of reduced water facilitates its easier, faster absorption and thus reaching all tissues in a short time.
The 4 Most Important Benefits Of Alkaline Water
Drink 3 to 4 liters of fresh, pure and good quality water to get the following health benefits.
- Abundant Energy
Dehydration causes a slow down of our metabolism. Water is necessary for all metabolic processes. Dehydration by just 5% can cause headaches, mind and body fatigue, fuzzy thinking, mood swings and depression. When we are dehydrated both the body and mind suffer.
- Weight Loss
Most of the times low energy levels are perceived to be a sign that the body needs food.This causes us to overeat leading to increase in body weight. But more often than not dehydration is the cause of this low energy. By staying properly hydrated we eat less and consequently avoid gaining weight.
To add to this a optimally working metabolism prevents us from gaining weight.
- A Healthy Skin
Skin problems like acne, dryness, eczema, etc tend to go away as the body starts to get hydrated. Under conditions of dehydration the body conserves its water sores to ensure supply to the critical organs like the heart and brain. The skin suffers as its water supply is curtailed.
Proper hydration ensures supply of water to all parts of the body including skin and removal of toxins and wastes therefrom.
- Anti Aging Effect
Accumulation of toxins in our body causes aging and even premature aging. Also an over acidic condition of the body promotes aging.
Anti oxidants prevent aging as they detoxify the body. Alkaline water is an antioxidant rich water that can slow aging.
Benefits Of Alkaline Water
Our body is designed to work best in an alkaline medium. Our blood PH is in the range of 7.3 to 7.4. Except for our digestive tract the body PH is alkaline. When a lot of acidic food is consumed, like bread, sugar, fizzy drinks, processed and refined foods, dairy and its products, meat and meat products, alcohol etc, the body is under a lot of stress to maintain its blood PH at its normal range.
Highly alkaline water helps to maintain the body's alkalinity and flush out the toxins and acids. Therefore, it can be said that to get the benefits of proper hydration from water, the drinking water should be pure and alkaline. It can also be said that alkaline water is healthy drinking water.
Ways To Make Alkaline Water - Healthy Drinking Water
The following are some of the ways used to make alkaline water :
- By Using An Ioniser, which gives,
-) A high PH
A PH of 9.5 at the tap outlet is the best.
-) Antioxidant rich water
Water with an ORP of -150 to -450.
-) Filtered water
Removal of toxins, chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals but keeping the soluble healthy minerals intact.
-) Reduced water
This reduced water can permeate tissues and cell membranes much faster and easier than conventional water thus giving instant and superior hydration.
- By Using PH Drops
PH drops are an excellent way to prepare alkaline water when one is on the move. By adding these drops one is adding highly concentrated minerals drops to make the water alkaline. There are a number of brands available with similar effects - a high PH water.
- By Using An Alkaline Stick
When travelling this stick is an easy and effective way to make alkaline water. It can convert any water to mildly acidic alkaline water in no time raising the PH by 1 to 2 points. It is quite handy and can last for about a year when used with normal water.
- By Using Lemon Or Lime Juice
Though lemons and limes are acidic in nature, when consumed they alkalize the body, as they contain high levels of alkaline minerals.
Squeeze 1/2 to 1 lemon in 1 liter of water and drink first thing in the morning. Tap water or warm water may be used if preferred. This early alkaline drink alkalizes the system, revvs the metabolism, liver and kidneys and stimulates the digestive system into action. It is a great way to start off the day.
- Adding Other Alkaline Minerals
They do raise the PH but neither filter nor ionize the water. On the contrary, the amount of minerals needed to make 3 to 4 liters of water for consumption everyday, may exceed the recommended daily limit of these minerals and may be harmful.
It may be used as a supplement to drink a glassful of mineral rich water to start off a day.
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Tap water normally is around the neutral PH of 7 and an ORP of +400 to +500 mv. Due to its +ve ORP or redox potential it acquires electrons and oxidises other molecules.
Without going into the technicalities of how ionized water is produced by the water ionizers, suffice it to say here that, they produce 2 types of water viz Reduced water & Oxidized water.
Reduced water is the water in which the in the cluster size is reduced from 10 - 13 molecules to 5 - 6 molecules per cluster and at the same time this water gains -ve electrons.
The ionized water or reduced water is available at the tap while the oxidized water is sent out back through a hose to the sink.
The oxidized water is good for sanitizing hands, washing of vegetables & fruits, utensils and cleaning of minor wounds.
The ionized water so produced is with a low molecular weight and high redox potential and is a far superior scavenger of free radicals. Due to the smaller water clusters, this reduced water is more easily absorbed by the body and transported to each and every cell of the body than tap water. The free electrons that it carries are freely donated to the free radicals, thus preventing the free radicals from oxidizing healthy tissue and causing disease.
This reduced water also benefits in reducing excessive fermentation of food in the digestive system leading to a healthier digestive tract.
Scientist, inventor and author of the book "Reverse Aging" and an expert on reverse aging, Sang Whang says :
"The ingredients in the stomach cell that make HCl acid are carbon dioxide, sodium chloride or potassium chloride which react as shown below :
NaCl + H2O + CO2 -) HCl + NaHCO3 OR
NaCl + H2O + CO2 -) HCl + KHCO3 "
He also says :
" In order to digest food and the possible bacteria and viruses with it the stomach environment is acidic around PH 4. When alkaline water is drunk, PH goes up.
The feedback mechanism orders more HCl acid to be secreted to bring back the PH to 4. So the stomach becomes acidic once more. When we drink more alkaline water more HCl is secreted to maintain the PH value of the stomach."
From the above chemical reaction it can be seen that sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate is the by product when HCl is made.
As we keep drinking more alkaline water of high PH more HCl acid is produced as well as a balancing amount of bicarbonate too.
Thus there is a net gain of alkalinity in the body.
For optimum health, drink healthy water - Alkaline water.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime or practice.