Water is our lifeline, we need it for our survival. Every cell in your body, organ, tissue and yes even your bones contain water. In fact, about two-thirds of your body uses water to help regulate its temperature, keep joints lubricated and to eliminate waste. It plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function. Staying hydrated therefore contributes to keeping us healthy.
We’ve been told since our early days to drink several glasses of water each day. Many of the foods we consume contain water which also supplements our daily needs.
Starting your day off with a glass of water and adding the juice of a lemon (on an empty stomach) gives a good boost to your immune system. Lemon juice is full of vitamin C. It also aids in digestion by loosening toxins in your digestive tract, which contributes to cleaning out your system.
But, how can we be sure that the water we are drinking is actually good for us. Tap water, well water bottled water, filtered water …. what is the best way to get pure, clean water into our system?
To begin, tap water is the most convenient; every home, school and workplace has it. To get to your tap, the water must travel through miles of corroding metal pipes. According to the EWG (Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research organization in the U.S.), cancer-causing chemicals have been found at higher than recommended levels in the tap water supplying two-thirds of all Americans. A three-year investigation by the EWG of 20 million water quality tests performed over a five-year period revealed that water contains 316 identified contaminants. Of those, 202 do not have any established safety standards. Chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride are added to our water supplies to kill harmful bacteria. Chlorine has disinfectant properties that make it useful for cleaning (such as swimming pools) and fluoride is an ingredient in rat poison. Are all of these chemicals really making us healthier?
Bottled water has been a health craze for the last few years. But in most cases bottled water is just tap water, marketed as a health drink. So now you pay for your water, then throw away the plastic to further add to the earth’s waste.
Boiling your water does kill some harmful organisms, but it does not remove toxic chemicals, compounds, salts and/or metals.
Filtering your drinking water is the only way to get rid of unwanted contaminants. There are many types of filters, and they come in a wide price range. Some require additional maintenance costs.
Household water filter systems use different technologies to remove impurities and bad tastes from your drinking water. Physical filtration, much like a sieve, strains the water to remove its impurities. Chemical filtration passes the water through an active material that removes impurities chemically as they pass through.
The most common household water filters use activated carbon, which attract and trap chemical contaminants through a process called adsorption. But while these filters are great for removing many common impurities (chlorine-based chemicals introduced during waste-water purification, some pesticides and industrial solvents), they can’t remove heavy metals (unless a special type of activated carbon filter is used), sodium, nitrates, fluorine or microbes. The main disadvantage of activated carbon is that the filters eventually clog up and have to be replaced.
Distilled water purifies by boiling water to make steam, then captures the steam and condenses it back into water in a separate container. Since water boils at a lower temperature than some of the contaminants it contains (such as toxic heavy metals), these remain behind as the steam separates away. Unfortunately, many contaminants boil at a lower temperature than water, meaning they evaporate with the steam and therefore aren’t removed by the distillation process. This process also removes good minerals from the water.
Reverse osmosis is a somewhat more complex filtering system, I will leave its complete understanding for you to discover, if you are so inclined. But in simple terms, it is water being forced through a semipermeable membrane at pressure, (permeable means having pores or openings that permit liquids to pass through), so the water passes through but the contaminants remain behind. It is very effective at removing fluoride and many other contaminants. Many reverse osmosis systems include an activated carbon component than can additionally remove chlorine and other chemicals. The downfall to these systems is the amount of water that is wasted in order to produce clean water.
Ion-exchange filters are particularly good at softening water (example: removing limescale). They’re designed to split apart atoms of a contaminating substance to make ions (electrically charged atoms with too many or too few electrons). Then they trap those ions and release some different, less troublesome ions of their own. In other words, they exchange “bad” ions for “good” ones.
There’s no filtering system that removes all the contaminants from water. That’s why many home water filter systems use two or more of these processes together.
Typically the more you spend, the better the filtration system. Simple pitchers using carbon filters to remove bad taste and some impurities range from $20 to $50. Faucet-mounted filters can range up to $100. Countertop models generally range in price according to the number of filters and their water capacity, in the $150 to $300 range. Under the sink water filters can get up to $500 or $600, plus installation. And then there is point of entry systems, where the home’s entire water supply is filtered as it enters the house through the main water supply. These units are usually around $1,000, plus installation. And remember, many filtering systems require the filters to be occasionally replaced.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and I don’t have any medical training. I am just an individual that researches information that other people have studied and proven to be effective, and I just pass that information on to you.