What Kind of Water?
There are many kinds of water out there. Here is a brief guide to let you know some of the pros and cons of each
- Tap water: Sure it’s convenient, but what’s in it? Unless you enjoy good water that is tested regularly, you can’t be sure what’s in today’s municipal water supplies. Besides the chemical taste that comes from using chlorine to kill bacteria, the tap water in your home can contain trace amounts of fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides and minute amounts industrial chemicals.
- Bottle water: Usually of better quality, bottled water comes from many sources. Normally it is labelled as having come from a particular source, such as a spring, glacier, spa or even a filtered and ozonated public water supply. Even though consistent labelling regulations are not in place, read the label.
- Mineral water: This is a type of spring water that means that the mineral content of the water has not been altered. Plus, to be called “natural spring water” it cannot be extracted from a spring, but must flow freely from its source and bottled at that location.
- Sparkling water: This is water with dissolved carbon dioxide, either from its natural source or added during the bottling process. Interestingly, carbon dioxide is a waste product that your body removes with each breath. Carbonated beverages (especially with added sugars!) may taste good, but aren’t very good for you.
- Distilled water: This is the purest form of water that is collected from condensing the steam from boiling water. Most of the minerals and pollutants have been left behind, leaving a tasteless liquid that is the safest to drink. Some purists add some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to give it some flavour.
Regardless of the water you drink, drink enough each day and consider drinking it at room temperature. A cold drink slows down the assimilation process in your stomach in the same way an ice pack can reduce blood flow around an area of inflammation.
If you suspect the tap water you use for drinking and cooking contains substances you’d rather not ingest, there are a variety of household water filters you may want to consider.
- Carbon filters: Most of the drinking water filters available for home use are granulated activated carbon filters. Carbon has long been used to adsorb impurities and improve the taste of water. In fact, a pound of carbon has a surface area of 125 acres and can adsorb thousands of different chemicals. However, heavy metals such as lead do not bond to the carbon, making carbon filters of little value if this is your primary concern.
- Reverse osmosis: Using a semipermeable membrane, particles of a certain size or smaller are allowed to pass through, keeping back larger ones. However, some contaminants can make it through the membrane. These systems can reduce heavy metals and minerals and are often combined with activated carbon filters.
- Ozonation: Ozone is mainly used at public water treatment facilities and is becoming popular for those who use well water. This type of treatment “superoxygenates” water. Since this is a process that primarily addresses bacterial contamination, it’s usually combined with carbon filtration to be most effective. It is the most expensive to maintain.