So what’s the one most significant thing you can do for your health?
If you change nothing else, what’s the one thing?
The answer: Drink water and lots of it.
What a let down, right? Here it seems there should be some outstanding, new, EASY, answer that none of us have ever heard before, that answer to a secret that no one told us, but the truth is, it just doesn’t get any EASIER than water.
And here’s why:
Our bodies use water continuously to support all of its functions. It also expels water all day long through urine, sweat and when we exhale. So if we’re not replacing it, we deprive our bodies of what they need, they suck water from wherever, elsewhere in the body, thus sending us into a state of dehydration. Many of us are constantly dehydrated and we don’t even realize it.
Many of us think that drinking tea or coffee, having a water base, counts as water intake. Sorry, that is incorrect. Coffee, tea, cocoa, colas, and alcohol are actually diuretics which cause our bodies to expel more water than it absorbs. Pop and juice are full of sugar, causing our bodies to draw water away from other areas to help dilute the excess sugar. So, by “drink water,” the message means, water. Plain, cool, clear, refreshing water.
So what water is the best for us?
The most ideal drinking water has a total of 300 parts per million of dissolved solids, at least 170 mg/L of calcium carbonate, and an alkaline pH over 7.0. But that’s super technical, and how the heck are we supposed to know that?
Well, I learned about different kinds of water available to us:
Well water is sourced from underground and can have a range of minerals, from high to low. It can also have ground water contamination depending on the industry in the area. Well water should be tested for safe drinking. But generally, due to the lack of processing, well water can be an excellent natural source of drinking water.
Spring water is sourced from the ground so quality should be tested. The mineral content can vary, but is usually low [minerals are good for us]. When it is bottled it may be purified with chlorine, but it is not generally processed, making it a desirable drinking water. Of course it is bottled, making it an expensive source of water.
Mineral water has minerals added to it, but also has carbon dioxide added as well. It is bottled and carbonated. Seltzer and Club Sodas would be considered mineral water. Drinking a lot of mineral water is not recommended as the carbonation can negatively affect the acid-alkaline balance in the blood.
Filtered water means the removal of matter other than water such as chemicals, metals, and bacteria. Filtered water is the cheapest and safest way for a household to get good drinking water. There are three kinds of filters available:
- Activated Carbon. Although the most common it’s not the most recommended. These filters are good to remove large molecules like lead and mercury, but not good at removing inorganic minerals like fluoride. This means that some bacteria can also get through the filter, so it’s safety can’t be depended on. However, they are the most economical option.
- Solid Carbon Block. This filter is a dense block of carbon, so it can filter out smaller particles from the water including bacteria, but leave many minerals intact. This is the recommended water filter to use for household drinking water. Although, more expensive than activated carbon filters, they produce a better quality water.
- Reverse Osmosis. Where as a carbon block filter can remove particles down to 1 micron in size (that’s really tiny!) a reverse osmosis filter can remove particles down to 0.009 micron in size (that’s 100 times smaller than a solid carbon block). This removes almost 100% of everything from water, including (good for you) minerals. The process used to filter the water is quite wasteful. It can take 3-6 hours per gallon of filtration, plus, only 10 – 25% of incoming water actually goes through the unit, the rest is wasted. It seems to be a bit of an overkill system, in my opinion.
Distilled water. The process to distill water is to boil it and cool the collected steam back into water. This water is pretty much completely depleted of all good minerals, and also all contaminants, making it completely safe to drink. (But it’s not very tasty.)
What’s the recommended intake of water each day?
That kinda depends. There’s the general statement that a person should drink 2 L (8 cups) of water per day. It’s a pretty good goal.
Here’s some considerations about the daily recommended quantity of water:
- If you drink a lot of diuretics, you’ll need to drink more water to replace the extra your kidneys are pushing out.
- The actual intake of water should be 3 L/day (12 cups), however, if you eat a generally healthy diet with fruits and vegetables, you should be getting 1/3 of your water from your daily food, which then drops the recommended amount to 2 L.
- Lifestyle also affects the amount of water a body needs. Someone who lives a sedentary life has lower water needs. If you live in a cool climate, you need less water. Someone who eats a lot of fruit and veggies, has lower water needs. Someone who is a extremely active has higher water needs. If you live in a warm or hot climate you need more water. And if you eat a diet containing meat and fats, your body needs more water to digest these foods.
How do you fit all that water in a day, two liters seems like a lot?
A daily water routine may be to consume one to two glasses in the morning when you wake up. Then one glass, one hour before meals, and then one to two glasses at the end of the day before bed. Note: Don’t drink water (or any liquids) with your meal as it dilutes the digestive juices and reduces the body’s efficiency in absorbing nutrients from the food.
I promised you the most healthful tip you can do for your body — drink water. Period. Hope you’re not disappointed. Have an awesome day everyone!
[Source: Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson M. Haas, M.D.]