Drink Up: Why Clean Water is So Important for Your Health
At some point in your life, probably during a high school science class, you might remember being told that your body is made up of mostly water. That “mostly” translates to an actual percentage. For example, babies are born consisting of 70% water, whereas adults’ range between 50-65% depending on age and daily water consumption.
So, why aren’t we splashing down the street, leaving little puddles trailing in our wake? It’s because all that water has a job. Well, many jobs actually. The H20 we’re consuming is hard at work making sure our bodies are performing at their best.
What Does Water Do For Our Bodies?
The first thing to understand about water is that, rather than being digested, it actually gets absorbed. Water heads down the esophagus and into the stomach, but instead of interacting with our stomach acids to initiate the digestive process, it gets absorbed into the bloodstream primarily through the small intestine.
In addition to aiding our digestive process, water has countless other functions. First, it acts as a thermostat within our bodies helping to regulate temperature. When you get hot, hydration creates perspiration, which is one of the body’s tricks for ridding itself of toxins. Water is also essential for urination and bowel movements. Together, these 3 functions represent your built-in body detox system.
Skin health happens from the inside out, and hydration is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy complexion. It helps your skin stay bouncy and plump by preventing trans epidermal water loss. Water helps oxygenate your blood and improve cell function throughout your entire body, and it acts as a joint lubricant, so your body moves easier as you age.
Why Water Quality Matters
Drinking clean water is just as important as eating clean, whole foods. That’s because water, despite its crystal-clear appearance, is packed with essential minerals. Your body depends on these minerals in order to function. When contaminants are present, it puts more pressure on your body because it must work harder to filter out contaminants.
That begs the question: What kind of water should you be drinking?
6 Different Types of Water
If you’ve ever caught yourself staring blankly at the water aisle in the grocery store and found it completely overwhelming, then you’re not alone. Analysis paralysis is real, whether you’re choosing from 7 types of Greek yogurt or 9 varieties of kombucha. So, what is the actual difference between the types of H20 you see on the shelves?
Basic tap water that flows from your sink can seem harmless enough. But this all depends on where you live, the water source, and how it’s treated. In an industrial world, unfortunately, water contamination is all too common. The WHO lists a host of diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery that have all been linked to contaminated drinking water.
So, what about all those bottles on the shelf? Are they any better?
Spring water is usually what you’ll find in all those plastic bottles at the store. The labels often paint a picture of a pristine mountain spring, but as some studies have shown, those claims are often exaggerated, and the industry itself is under-regulated. According to an investigation conducted by the non-profit Environmental Working Group, you can’t always believe what you read on the label.
“Unlike tap water, where consumers are provided with test results every year, the bottled water industry is not required to disclose the results of any contaminant testing that it conducts.”
Glacier water comes with similar caveats. It’s supposedly bottled at a crisp, cold glacial source that’s free from industrial contaminants. That doesn’t mean it’s free of potential biological contaminants, however. Depending on the purity of the source, it can contain mineral levels that are too high, and potential bacteria and viruses that could result in gastrointestinal discomfort.
Often sourced in places like Hawaii, the main selling point of volcanic water is that it’s been naturally filtered through volcanic stone. For this reason, it has a higher pH (above 7), making it alkaline. This is said to help neutralize body acidity, which in theory, is helpful for acid reflux and some digestive issues. The jury is still out on whether or not there’s any substantiated truth to these claims.
An ionizer is a device that’s used to ionize regular tap water, increasing its pH to make it more alkaline. There are claims that alkaline water is better for your complexion, aids digestion, and hydrates you more effectively. However, there’s no evidence as of yet that has been able to validate the perks.
Reverse Osmosis Water
Reverse osmosis is a filtering process that removes unwanted chemicals and contaminants from your drinking water. It is effective, but sometimes, it’s actually too effective. It also filters out the beneficial minerals that your body needs. According to experts, it’s a safe way to make potable water when you’re in a pinch, but it’s not ideal for everyday drinking because it doesn’t provide enough nutritional value.
How to Sip From the Best Source
With so many choices and so much marketing spin, it’s hard to know which type of water you should have at home. The truth is that it’s largely up to the consumer to do the digging for themselves. So, don’t put yourself through the analysis paralysis. Instead, just do your homework and learn about the best options for quality drinking water where you live.
The best way to know what’s in the water you’re drinking is to check it on the website My Tap Water. Just search in your zip code. Additionally, there’s a family-run website called TestAqua that put together lengthy, unbiased reports of some of the most popular brands of drinking water, and they provide water quality reports by region. Consumer Reports has also created a robust list of 120 brands that can help you determine if your favorite brand is fulfilling its promises.
Put Down That Plastic
Whichever type of water you choose, there should be one hard and fast rule you abide by: ditch the plastic. Not only is the use of plastic water bottles bad for the environment, but it’s also bad for your health. Microplastics and other contaminants can seep into your drinking water, and this process is exacerbated when plastic is exposed to heat. If you buy water for your home or on the road, always reach for water packaged in glass.
How Much Water to Drink Daily
A quick online search will lead you to believe that no one really knows how much water you should be drinking daily. The numbers are wildly divergent depending on the source. A 2001 study determined that the Watson Formula provided the highest accuracy because it takes several personal factors into account.
Here’s how to calculate how much water you should be consuming daily:
Watson formula for men
2.447 – (0.09145 x age) + (0.1074 x height in centimeters) + (0.3362 x weight in kilograms) = total body water (TBW) in liters
Watson formula for women
–2.097 + (0.1069 x height in centimeters) + (0.2466 x weight in kilograms) = total body weight (TBW) in liters
If you don’t feel like dusting off your calculator, then a good rule of thumb is to try and get at least 64oz daily. If you have a job that’s physically demanding or you work out every day, then you’ll want to consume a bit more.
The Best Water is Clean and Consistent
When it comes to choosing the water you drink at home, just remember that better water means a better-functioning body. First, be sure you’re drinking enough water. And the single most important factor in the water you choose to drink is whether it’s clean. These resources will help you find a clean, reputable source near you.
For more information about your unique hydration needs and sourcing the cleanest drinking water near you, reach out to us to set up a consultation. We can help!
To discover how Functional Nutrition can help you with health and gut issues you may be experiencing, contact our team: https://projectyoubewell.com/wellness-services/