Water is the main nutrient in your body.  Since water is available to us in such abundance, we tend to overlook its importance as a critical nutrient for the body. In fact, I will go even further.  Water is one of the six critical nutrients for life.  We read so much about the other five, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals that we often forget to drink enough of the sixth, water. One could argue that water is the most critical of all the nutrients since we could survive over 30 days without food but we would die in 3-4 days without water.

 

While some of you might be drinking the proper amount of water, my guess is that most of you are not.  We should all drink water, at regular intervals throughout the day, even when we are not thirsty.  This is important due to the fact that water is centrally involved in nearly every bodily process and is the primary transporter of all nutrients. Additionally, water helps maintain body temperature and is essential to carry waste material out of the body. Due to all these reasons, and more, replacing the water that is continually lost through sweating and elimination is very important. Unfortunately, most people only consume enough water to quench a parched throat not enough to maintain health or increase fitness.

To maintain normal, adequate hydration, a simple calculation of bodyweight x 0.50 can be used. The answer to this equation will equal the amount of water a person should drink in ounces on a daily basis. For example, a woman who weighs 150 lbs., should drink 75 oz. (150 x .50) of water every day. If you are involved in strenuous activities, such as long-distance running or exercising in extreme heat, your water intake should be increased. In that case, just multiply your bodyweight by 0.65.

 

On another note - you might ask if too much water can be a problem?  The answer is yes. Before you go off and drink all your water at one sitting, it is important to note that a more than 1 1/2 gallons of water ingested within an hour of activity can be dangerous! The best way to get adequate supplies of water is to drink a cup or glass a few times throughout the day.  Drinking more water will not, however, cause you to retain water or fluids, in fact, the opposite is true. 

 

The takeaway that you need to make with respect to water is to DRINK THE PROPER AMOUNT OF WATER.  Without the proper amount of water, your health and fitness goals will suffer.

Given that you are committed to drinking the correct amount of water the next question you might be asking yourself about water at this point is “what is the best source water to drink?” Generally speaking most people think this comes down to a consideration of tap water versus bottled water.   But it’s a little more complex than that due to the fact that tap water can be municipally controlled or it can be well water.  And that bottled water can be tap water, spring water and it can be bottled in glass or plastic.  With so much written about water out on the internet, and only part of it true, it can get confusing.  Let me try to make it easier for you.

 

There are many claims regarding city tap water not being safe even though it is regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act and the fact that city tap water is filtered and treated to eliminate harmful microorganisms.  If you are really concerned about your tap water, then have it analyzed. You can find sources for this easily on the Internet.

 

Below you can see just a short list of the problematic chemicals that might be found in your tap water:

  • Chlorine
  • Cryptosporidium and Giardia
  • Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs)
  • Trihalomethanes
  • Flouride
  • Lead
  • Pesticide Runoff

Although tap water is generally cleaner and better than generally believed, it certainly makes perfect sense to use an in-home filter to further improve the quality of your personal drinking water.  There are a variety of different water filters available for use including:

In reality a simple, inexpensive commercially available carbon water filter is probably the best choice for most people. 

I recommend a filter for tap water whether it comes from a municipal source or from a well on your own land.  While well water is often thought to be cleaner and fresher, the reality is that well water is actually the least “tested” source of any water and there are a number of negative and dangerous issues that can plague unfiltered well water supply.

When it comes to bottled water many people mistakenly believe that it must be more pure than tap water.  In reality what you need to know is that tap water is regulated by the EPA as well as state and local governments, but bottled water is only checked by the Food and Drug Administration.  While this doesn’t sound like such a huge difference, in reality, the FDA doesn’t have a set inspection schedule for water plants and there could literally be years between inspections.  Though the FDA is supposed to test bottled water at the same standards as the EPA, the reality can be far different.  For example, municipal water is not permitted to contain E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria.  Most municipalities test their water for coliform bacteria more than 100 times a month.  New York City tests samples nearly once a minute all year long. All municipal tests are mandated to be run in certified labs.  The FDA rules for bottled water include no such bacterial prohibitions and they need only test once per week.  Also testing does not need to be carried out in certified labs.

Bottled water likes to sell itself as being pure, but the fact is nearly 40 percent of bottled water is tap water with added minerals or filtration.   Water bottles, though cleaned, are not sterilized.  Relatively low amounts of bacteria at bottling can multiply to a much larger problem by the time bottles hit store shelves.  Bottled water frequently is not chlorinated, allowing bacterial and fungal growth within the bottle.  Municipal water has an advantage in that it is constantly moving and avoiding stagnancy.

If that weren’t enough, the bottles themselves can cause trouble.  Phthalate is a chemical used to soften plastics and make it less brittle.  But when heated, even from a hot day in the car, they begin to leach into the contents of the bottle. Phthalates can cause reproductive difficulties, liver problems and increased risk of cancer.  While phthalates are regulated in tap water, the FDA maintains an exemption for bottled water.

Another question often asked is about ionized or alkaline water.  Pure water is neutral at around 7.0. There are numerous studies to support maintaining the pH balance in the body balance to decrease the risk of illness and disease.  While you don’t need more expensive ionized water to manage your pH, it won’t hurt you either.  Using ionized water is a matter of choice and belief.  A half teaspoon of baking soda can do the same thing when used daily

Based on the habits of most people, we make the general recommendation for people to reduce their bottled water consumption and to carry their own bottle filled with filtered water.  Lined aluminum, glass, or stainless steel can be great alternatives to plastic bottles.

Published by Sadie