It can take any shape, be as calm as the wind, or as powerful as a rhino. Most often taken for granted, what is it? WATER
What makes one bottle of water different from the next? Why can't water just simply be water? Why can't water be accessible to all? Why can't we see the value in the things we take for granted? The world may never know. One of the world's most abundant natural resources, yet we have a limited supply. Before we begin discussing the different types of water, take a look at this video discussing the current global water crisis.
There are multiple organizations that work to combat the global water crisis daily. Providing hundreds of gallons of clean water to those without. Currently in the United States, organizations have come together to battle the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Water.org is one such organization, they have contributed to this effort for decades. To put things into perspective, Water.org estimates 785 million people – 1 in 9 – lack access to safe water, 2 billion people – 1 in 3 – lack access to a toilet, and 1 million people die every year from water, sanitation and hygiene related diseases. Think about that. Access to safe drinking water is crucial.
And here's why...
Water to the body is like fuel to your car, without clean water life will come to a halt. Generally speaking, each day we should try to drink at least 1/2 our body weight in ounces of water every day. So, if you weigh 160lbs you should consider drinking at least 80 oz of water every day. Staying hydrated has a host of benefits for the body including higher energy levels, better brain function, healthier gut, clearer skin and the list goes on and on..
Unfortunately, over the years water has become contaminated by urine, feces, industrial wastes, plastics, pathogens, and the list goes on. Though humans are affected by this issue, ALL living things are severely affected.
Those with readily available water typically have a wide variety of water to choose from. Whether it is store bought or imported, what is in our water has a direct effect on our body and how it performs. Not all manufactured water is created equal, unfortunately. Some types have more nutrients than others.
There are 9 different types of water we may have access to: purified water, spring/glacier water, distilled water, tap water, mineral water, sparkling water, alkaline water, well water, and flavored/infused water.
Let's go in detail..
A piped water supply, tap water is found everywhere from the water that flushes a public toilet to the water that comes out of your kitchen sink or cleans your glassware in your dishwasher. Tap water is said to be safe across most of the United States, but there are still some safety concerns. Industry regulations have been set in place to keep lead and other harmful substances out of the water, but sometimes there are leaks so we are not 100% sure what is in our tap water. The ongoing crisis in Flint, Michigan is a prime example of this. Though a cheaper (free) alternative to bottled water, there has been research done showing plastic particles in tap water supplies around the world. Tap water can also contain pesticide residue, aluminum, and other undesirable substances. If, however, you’re worried that the treatments performed on your water supply aren’t up to par, you can always purchase ahome filtration system for further cleansing.
Pulled from a mineral spring, mineral water is, as the name states, is full of minerals including sulfur, magnesium, and calcium — all things that are good for you. Mineral water does indeed have some health benefits, since it provides minerals your body can’t create on its own. It can also help aid in digestion, and many people even like the taste of it over tap water, though that’s down to personal preference. The only main downside to mineral water is cost. Many of the minerals from this type of water can also be obtained from a healthy, varied diet.
Sometimes referred to as carbonated water or soda water, sparkling water is infused with carbon dioxide gas while under pressure. Sparkling water offers a different mouth feel to flat water, which could be a welcome change if you want something fizzy without sugar or artificial sweeteners. It is a great way to help those who are trying to wean themselves from a soda filled diet. That said, there are flavored sparkling waters available that do contain one or both types of sweeteners so read your labels. Plus, because sparkling water tends to be mineralized, think Perrier, you’re getting the added bonus of health-promoting minerals with your carbonation. While there are some minerals present in sparkling water, there aren’t enough to be truly beneficial to your health in a meaningful way. In addition, it can be expensive compared to both tap and certain types of bottled water.
This type of water is boiled and the steam is collected and condensed back into a liquid.
Distilled water is a great option if you live somewhere — or are visiting somewhere — where the tap water supply is contaminated or possibly could be. As there are no vitamins and minerals in distilled water, there are no health benefits. In fact, it has the potential to be detrimental as non-mineralized water tends naturally to go where there are more minerals and pulls from your body cells or your teeth. Remember osmosis? See the image below, what happens when the concentration gradient of a cell is disrupted. Drinking only distilled water could potentially be fatal.
We want normal body cells, which means the solution surrounding a cell has the same mineral concentration as the internal environment of the cell. If the mineral
concentration outside the cell is lower (hypotonic), more water will flow into the cell than out, and the cell will swell
and perhaps burst. If the mineral concentration outside the cell is greater (hypertonic), more water will flow out of the
cell than into it, and the cell will shrivel. Balance is very important for our body cells!
Purified water is usually tap or groundwater which has been treated to remove harmful substances like bacteria, fungi, and parasites. This means that drinking it is pretty much guaranteed to be safe. Like distilled water, purified water is a great option if your immediate water source is contaminated. That said, many countries purify tap water, so you’re basically drinking purified water every time you fill a cup from your kitchen sink. Because all potentially harmful substances are removed from purified water, you also miss out on some of the beneficial minerals that are in tap water and mineral water. Because of this, purified water may also fall on the more acidic side of the pH scale. In addition, purchasing and installing a filtration system at home can be pretty costly.
Flavored or Infused Water
Flavored water is water that’s sweetened with either sugar or artificial sweeteners, and contains natural or artificial flavorings. Flavored water, like Hint and Propel, can offer a tasty alternative to plain water, which makes it easier to drink in larger amounts. It can also add variation to your water intake since there are so many flavors available. Do keep in mind, flavor can be added naturally by infusing fruit and vegetables into tap or bottled water as a healthier option. Often, purchased flavored waters contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Varieties with sugar can lead to weight gain and have a negative effect on those with diabetes. If possible, avoid artificial sugars and sweeteners at all costs.
Alkaline water has a higher pH level than normal tap water and contains alkaline minerals and negative oxidation reduction potential (ORP), meaning it reduces oxidation and free radical damage in the body. All water with a pH over 7 is considered 'alkaline', increasing the pH increases the alkalinity. As with an alkaline diet, alkaline water has similar proposed benefits such as: neutralizing acid in the body, slowing the aging process, fortifying bones, improving mobility and even preventing cancer. However, more studies are needed to support the effectiveness of these claims to alkaline water itself. One such study did show the positive effects of alkaline water after a workout. One thing's for sure, your internal environment needs to stay in homeostasis. A constant high internal pH could reduce stomach acidity and cause harm. All in all, alkaline water is safe to drink in moderation and has long term benefits.
Well water comes straight from the ground. It is untreated and carries with it a number of risks.
If you happen to live in an area where wells are plentiful, or you even have one in your own backyard, the convenient access to what seems like fresh water could be attractive.
While there are many advocates for raw, untreated water, the benefits may not outweigh the potential risks. That said, there are steps you can take to ensure your well water is suitable for drinking. For example, testing your well water annually for bacteria, nitrates, and pH levels. It’s also possible to install a filtration system. Because the water hasn’t been treated, there’s a big chance of contamination — particularly from bacterial and parasitic infections like giardia, which is zoonotic (can be passed from human to animal). While well water used to be the norm, there’s a reason that city water supplies and the regulations surrounding them were put into place — you simply don’t know what you’re getting unless you test or treat the well water yourself.
Spring or Glacier Water
My water of choice, based on taste and benefits. Spring or glacier waters are types of bottled waters that are claimed to be bottled at the source from where the water flows — either from the spring or glacier. Spring or glacier water is relatively clean and free of toxins, but is not 'purified'. It may also contain many of the same helpful minerals found in mineral water. Spring water also typically falls on the alkaline side of the pH scale. By drinking more spring water, you balance an already overly-acidic system and bring your body back to vitality, which helps balance all your other bodily systems. It also tends to be pretty readily available in stores, think well-known brands like Evian and Arrowhead, in both large and small bottles, which makes it easily accessible. The only con is that spring water is typically more pricey.
To combat the price of bottled water AND the insane amount of pollution that it causes, many stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's provide water dispensaries to provide you with the water of your choice. At these locations, you can bring and refill your own glass gallon jugs to decrease plastic waste (think about the sea turtles!). Additionally, purchasing a reusable water bottle that is BPA free will combat this problem and reduce the risk of plastic leaching into your water. I hope you all found this post helpful as you continue on your health journey!
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Hello world! I am Chérie Jade, I am passionate about promoting a holistic lifestyle and encouraging preventative practices for day to day healthy living.