I realized that I have not been drinking nearly the amount of water that I normally would. When it’s cold outside, and boy has it been cold, I tend to reach for more warming beverages. Who else loves a warm cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa in the winter? Sadly unless they are decaffeinated, these all promote dehydration, and as a colleague of mine says “a dehydrated cell is a dead cell.” This meaning, the cells don’t work as well.
Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for mucous membranes in the nose and throat.
Our bodies are comprised of 60-75% water. Too much water may result in mineral imbalances, too little may result in dehydration, headaches, or fatigue. So yes, we need water for energy and to feel good. Although all of our bodies require slightly different amounts of water, the typical recommendation is about 3 liters (13 cups) for men and 2.2 liters (9 cups) for women. Of course, daily intake of water should be increased in hot, humid, or dry climates; when at high altitude (usually above 8,200 feet); with a high exercise level; with illness and infections including fever, diarrhea, and vomiting; during pregnancy or breast feeding; and increased with alcohol intake.
So, what are some types of drinking water? Understand that the best sources of water are not universally available, and that “label” reading comes into play even when buying bottled water. The most common types are tap, bottled, distilled, reverse osmosis, filtered, and alkalinized.
Tap water is the most readily available, but isn’t always the safest and best option as some cities that lack good purification systems may have water that leaves traces of metals, or chemicals, or if outside the US micro-organisms. However, it does provide trace essential minerals for the body like sodium, magnesium, and potassium.
Bottled water is not always as pure as you might think. Some are just purified tap water and if you check the label you may see that it’s produced by your favorite soda company. Some bottled water is artisan or natural spring, but usually comes in plastic that may leak toxins into what you are drinking.
Distilled water comes from a process where water is vaporized and collected, leaving behind any solid residues, including minerals. Distilled water has no minerals in it at all, so if drank for several weeks or months it can actually pull vital minerals from the body.
Reverse osmosis is a common way of purifying water by forcing it through membranes that remove larger particles, pollutants and minerals. Reverse osmosis water is usually acidic and also lacks essential minerals. Also the membranes used for filtering are often plastic.
Carbon filtered, or charcoal filtered water is fairly non-toxic, affordable and will remove quite a few toxic chemicals and gas elements to a certain degree. Also, carbon will not damage the water at all. It is a very natural type of water filtration system. However, it won’t filter out fluoride or most toxic metals and supports bacterial and fungal growth over time.
Synthetically alkaline water is also available. Commonly filtered tap water is run over electrified platinum-covered titanium plates to alkalinize it. Some machines may also add a calcium solution or powder to the water to further enhance its alkalinity. There is another version of this that is non-electric that adds a magnesium compound to the tap water to alkalize it.
The best water is naturally pure artisan or spring, or mineral. Having water so purified that it lacks essentials minerals or synthetically modified to alkalize it may not be the best option. If you feel vital minerals are lacking, try eating cooked vegetables rather than buying synthetic alkalized water.
Whew, that was probably more information than you want to know about water, but if you made it to the end of the article than congrats. Think about it. We don’t mention dehydration much in the winter, but heating your home also dries it out and everything in it. Did you ever notice how hard wood floors get bigger cracks in the winter due to the wood shrinking from drying? Our body’s cells are affected similarly. I’ll leave you with one last piece of information. Mild dehydration may present as hunger. So, if you resolved to lose weight this year, consider that you may just need a glass of H2O.
I love to hear your questions and comments. Feel free to reach out to me.
In Love and Health,
Dietary reference intakes for water, potassium, sodium, chloride and sulfate.Institute of Medicine.http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI//DRI_Water/73-185.pdf. Accessed February 23, 2012.