Hydration with pure water is essential to optimal health and wellness. Pure water is free of potentially harmful man-made substances including metals, industrial chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. Total body water, comprising extracellular fluid and intracellular fluid, averages approximately 60 percent of body weight, with a range from approximately 45 to 75 percent. Water needs vary but depend on the food a person eats, environmental temperature and humidity, a person’s activity level and other factors. Chronic dehydration is associated with a wide range of chronic diseases including obesity and heart disease. In fact, recent research suggests drinking pure water before, or after meals, may prevent weight gain and even promote weight loss.
Signs of Dehydration
Signs and symptoms of dehydration vary, but may include the following:
- Dry Lips
- Increased Moodiness
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Decreased Sports Performance
- Migraine Headaches
- Increased Snacking/Hunger
- Cardiovascular Disease
Unfortunately, both bottled water and tap water are contaminated with a variety of different toxic substances. Some are intentionally added (e.g., fluoride and disinfection byproducts), while others are true contaminants (e.g., pharmaceuticals).
- Microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, viruses, fungus)
- Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides (e.g., Atrazine)
- Disinfectants (e.g. chloramine, chlorine, and chlorine dioxide)
- Disinfection Byproducts (e.g. bromate, haloacetic acids (HAA5) and Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs))
- Metals (e.g., fluoride, lead, aluminum, arsenic, hexavalent chromium, and mercury)
- Dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), Benzene, and trichloroethylene (TCE) )
- Radiologicals (e.g. uranium, Radium 226, and Radium 228)
- Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (e.g. Bisphenol A (BPA)
- Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) (e.g., Perchlorate or rocket fuel)
- Pharmaceuticals (e.g. antibiotics, psychiatric drugs, and oral contraceptives)
Filter Tap Water
Water quality can be compromised by the presence of infectious agents, toxic chemicals, and radiological hazards. The purification technologies most effective at removing toxic contaminants include reverse osmosis (RO) and carbon filtration. To remove infectious agents, water would also need to be treated with UV disinfection technologies. However, this technology isn’t included in most home water RO purification systems.
In the past, I purchased water in bulk from Whole Foods that was treated with all 3 technologies (i.e., reverse osmosis, carbon filtration, and UV disinfection), and the cost was only $0.44 per gallon. If you opt for this route, be sure to store your water in a glass container, not plastic.
Brita-type filters do not effectively remove potentially toxic contaminants. To ensure that a filter removes a particular contaminant, verify that it is certified for that contaminant by a reputable, independent agency.
If you have a large family or do not live near a store that offers water purification, you may want to consider investing in a quality water purification system for your home.
Ditch Bottled Water
Contrary to popular belief, bottled water is contaminated with the same contaminants commonly found in public water. In fact, federal regulation of tap water is more stringent than that of bottled water (neither the FDA or EPA regulate bottled water). Bottled water is also a major source of the endocrine disrupting chemical, bisphenol A (BPA).
Skip Expensive Specialty Water
Specialty waters are a source of endocrine disruptors (e.g., bisphenol A), environmental pollution, offer little nutritional advantage, and drain your wallet.
- Vitamin Water
- Alkaline Water
- Enhanced Water
- Black Water
- Flavored Water
Opt for Minimally Processed Beverages
In addition to water, proper hydration can easily be achieved by consuming fresh fruits and vegetables and minimally processed beverages. Examples of minimally processed beverages include the following:
- Green Tea
- Black Tea
- Herbal Teas
- Black Coffee
- Fresh Smoothies
- Fresh Juice
- Fresh Nut and Seed Milk
Avoid Processed Beverages
Whenever possible, avoid ultra-processed and refined foods and beverages. Examples of ultra processed and refined beverages include the following:
- Regular and Diet Soda
- Flavored Water
- Sugary Juice
- Commercial Smoothies
- Commercial Non-Dairy Milk
- Dairy Products (Milk)
- Chocolate Milk
- Crystal Light
- Kool Aid
- Infant Formula
- Toddler Formula
- Protein Powder
- Protein Shakes
- Protein Water
- Energy Drinks
- Sports Drinks
- Meal Replacements
- Most Flavored Coffees and Teas
- Most Alcoholic Beverages
Which water filter do you use?
Should I add minerals back to RO water?
Tap water is not a reliable source of minerals. Minerals are naturally obtained via a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, not tap water, and not “alkaline water.” If you are worried about minerals, eat more fruits and vegetables.
What about alkaline water?
Alkaline water is essentially tap water with minerals added (e.g., potassium and magnesium). While these minerals are critical to health and acid-base balance, the amount added to alkaline water is insignificant and I am personally unaware of any evidence to support alkaline water. Besides, alkaline water is generally packaged in plastic; which, is a major source of bisphenol A (BPA) and environmental pollution. If you are concerned about minerals, increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and consider a dietary supplement. Drinking alkaline water is a waste of time and money. Eat your vitamins and minerals.
What about carrageenan?
According to the Cornucopia Institute, carrageenan – a “natural” food additive found in milk products – may be one of the food ingredients to blame for America’s growing list of health problems. Unfortunately, carrageenan is found in a lot of products – even “healthy” ones and body care products. For example, carrageenan is frequently found in both dairy and non-dairy milk products, yogurt, frozen desserts, and toothpaste.
What about alcohol?
Most alcoholic beverages are ultra processed and refined, contain ingredients derived from GMOs, and a major source of the endocrine disruptor, bisphenol A (BPA). Although small amounts of alcohol may have some health benefits, alcohol is also a significant source of “empty calories” and has been linked to fatty liver and obesity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 3 million deaths were attributable to alcohol in 2012.
What about wine?
According to a recent study, all wine samples taken from the top four wine-producing regions in the United States contained arsenic levels that exceed EPA exposure limits. According to the authors, “when taken in the context of consumption patterns in the U.S., the pervasive presence of arsenic in wine can pose a potential health risk to regular adult wine drinkers.” Arsenic is toxic. If you drink wine, opt for a product that is organic and certified free of toxic contaminants such as arsenic and lead.
Do you drink?
What about “detoxes” and “teatoxes”?
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