Water, Water, Everywhere
We all know the old saying ‘you are what you eat’, but in reality, we really are what we drink. The human body is between 50-65% water, varying dependent on age, fitness and sex and surface of our planet is 71% H20. It’d be fair to say that healthy water has a huge role to play in our own personal health.
The quality of water that we have access to varies wildly depending on which country we are in. In developed countries, tap water is a basic necessity and bottled water is considered a luxury whilst in developing countries lacking sufficient infrastructure, things are reversed with bottled water being the only access many have to safe drinking water.
Whilst it’s easy to think that all water is born equal, in reality, there’s a huge difference between the water that falls from the sky, the water that runs from your tap and the stuff in the bottle.
So let’s have a deeper look at some different types of water:
The fact that for many of us, we can turn on a tap and have safe(ish) drinking water delivered into our homes is a marvel of modern infrastructure. Water utilities are required by law to provide safe, drinkable water and with the exception of the occasional accident, they do.
Whilst water is made up of 2 molecules of hydrogen bonded to 1 of oxygen, most water on earth, and particular tap water contains a lot more. To get tap water to a drinkable state, it goes through a complex cleaning routine which can include adding chemicals to reduce particulates, chlorine, and ammonia to remove bacteria and additional chemicals to balance PH and reduce contamination during transportation to the tap. It also regularly contains heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, pesticide runoff from farms, hormones, traces of pharmaceutical drugs (source) and in recent studies, an increasing amount of micro-plastic fibers (source). By the time it reaches your glass it can be a veritable soup of ingredients.
Filtering tap water can remove certain elements from your water such as some of the larger particles and specific chemicals whilst also making the water taste more palatable. Manufacturers often make bold marketing claims for their products, but they are not subject to any form of government regulation.
Aside from the unfolding environmental disaster that plastic water bottles contribute to, the bottles, whilst most are now BPA free, still, contain chemicals that can leach into the water and end up in your system. Recent research has also cast doubt on the ‘bottled water is purer than tap water’ claims. A study by the Canadian Journal of Public Health found that reusing bottled water bottles can generate conditions where bacteria and fecal levels are well above the recommended maximums.
Let’s do the oceans, our bank balances and our bodies a favour and leave the bottled water on the shelf. Save yourself some money and fill up a clean, reusable bottle from home, drop it in your bag and take it with you.
If you’re determined to drink water free from as many chemicals, plastics and substances that shouldn’t be there then distilled water is one of the best ways to go. A water distiller is essentially a giant kettle with a condenser on top. As the water boils the most volatile compounds evaporate first and are trapped by the activated charcoal filter. The compounds with a boiling point higher than water are left behind in the still and the resulting condensed water is stripped of many of the harmful compounds.
Distillation also strips water of many of its minerals leaving, if you will, a blank canvas with which to paint flavour and minerality onto. So if you are distilling your water, it’s important that you add these back in which can easily be done by adding a small amount of pure, organic Himalayan salt.
However, you take your water, ensure that you drink regularly throughout the day, stay hydrated and keep waste to a minimum.