Water – The Essential Guide
If drinking enough water is the only thing that you do regularly as part of your daily routine then in my opinion you can give yourself a big fat pat on the back – well done! Drinking the right amount of water each day is probably the most important thing that you can do for your overall health and wellbeing.
As human beings around 60% of our body is made up of water, we can live for weeks without food, not recommended, but only a couple of days without water. Water is crucial to so many of our body’s functions that losing just 2% of our body weight in fluid can actually reduce our physical and mental performance by up to 25%. I’ve seen a whole array of different aliments clear up when people simply start drinking more water. These include headaches, low energy levels, dry skin & skin rashes, brain fog, poor concentration, dizziness, tummy aches and constipation.
How much water should I drink?
It seems that the general consensus in the UK is that we should be drinking around eight glasses of water per day, where 1 glass equates to 240ml (8oz), and 4 glasses is translated as roughly 1 litre. This means that your total water intake for the day should be approximately 2 litres. This figure is not set in stone and will vary depending on a number of factors such as your size, level of physical activity, the temperature of where you live, and how much caffeine or alcohol you consume. The more active you are, the hotter the climate and the more caffeine and alcohol you drink the more water you should have.
How do I know I am drinking enough water?
Crude as this may sound the best way to tell if you are properly hydrated is by checking the colour of your urine as well as considering how often you go to the toilet. If you find yourself visiting the toilet every 2-3 hours, have an abundance of urine which is clear and light yellow in colour then chances are that you are properly hydrated. If you don’t tend to visit the toilet all that often and when you do, your urine is dark, smelly and there’s not much of it, then it’s likely that you’re not drinking enough water and you should up your intake. It is also worth mentioning here that when you first start to increase your water consumption, you WILL need to go to the bathroom more often than you’re used to, but that will only last for a few days and then the body will adjust. You’ll be so glad you did as you’ll be reaping the many rewards.
What if you don’t like the taste of water? Then what?
Drinking water doesn’t have to be boring! Try turning drinking water into a fabulous experience by using a beautiful glass or goblet. Improve the taste by adding flavour without the extra calories, sugars or other unnecessary chemicals of drinking fizzy drinks, juices, teas and coffees – simply add a slice of lemon, lime, cucumber or orange to your water. Mint also works well. On a cold day, you may want to drink your water warmed with a touch of lemon.
When and how should I drink water?
· Drink 1-2 glasses of water on rising first thing in the morning. You will have been asleep for 6 to 10 hours, so it’s time to hydrate! This can even replace morning coffee, as rehydrating the body and brain will lead to clearer thinking and better energy
· Keep a lovely pitcher of filtered water in your fridge at home or near your workspace containing the amount of water you want to drink each day. This makes it easy to remember to drink water and to track your intake
· Drink a cup of water before exercise
· Sip water slowly and at intervals during exercise
· Bottles, bottles everywhere! Keep glass bottles of water in your car, at the office, or around your work areas. Glass is best not only for your health but also for the planet.
· If you can’t access a filter for your water, then let drinking water stand at room temp for an hour or more. This reduces the amount of chlorine in drinking water, as the chlorine will start to evaporate
· If you have digestive challenges, drink most of your water between meals
· Add Trace Minerals, Sea Salt or Green Powder to water to increase nutrient content and improve the pH of your body
How-to Choose the Healthiest Kinds of Water:
Filtering water improves the taste and smell of water, often by reducing chlorine, which is added to kill harmful bacteria. Some filters can also reduce other contaminants such as lead, benzene, MTBE, chloramines, and PCBs.
There are many types of water filters as well as many types of water filtering technologies. Finding the “best one” depends on the amount of space you can afford to clear out for it, your budget, and the specific water contaminants in your area.
These are some of the top filters and ways to help you decide what best fits your needs.
Types of Filter Technology
· Reverse Osmosis: This process pushes water through a semi-permeable membrane that blocks particles larger than water molecules. Reverse osmosis can remove many contaminants that have not been removed by activated carbon, including arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate as well as some parasites.
Reverse osmosis does not remove chlorine or volatile organic chemicals. However, reputable units are generally coupled with good carbon filtration to ensure removal of these contaminants.
Reverse osmosis filters are more effective at removing many kinds of contaminants, but are more expensive, require more maintenance, and require much more energy and water in order to function.
· Activated Carbon: Activated carbon is charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open up pores between the carbon atoms, which increases the surface area of the carbon, allowing it to absorb and trap contaminants. When the pores become full, the filtering stops and the carbon filter needs to be replaced.
Activated carbon cannot effectively remove common pollutants such as arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrate and perchlorate. Generally, carbon filters come in two forms, carbon block and granulated activated carbon. The former appears to be more effective. Carbon filters remove fewer contaminants than reverse osmosis filters but are less expensive and use less energy and water.
· Pitchers or large dispensers: These are typically fitted with an activated carbon filter that can remove contaminants and improve taste and odour. Many can reduce chlorine, lead, and mercury contamination. They’re easy to use, don’t require installation and can be stored in the refrigerator.
Bottled water is easy and convenient, but there are many different kinds of water.
It’s important to be informed about where your water comes from as many companies have been found guilty of filling their brands with regular tap water to increase their profit margins. Make sure to research and go for the brands you trust most.
· Mineral Water: This water comes from a mineral spring that contains various minerals including salt and sulphur compounds. Example: Evian
· Artesian Water: This ground water is confined under pressure between layers of underground rock called a confined aquifer. Artesian water rises to the top of the aquifer when a well taps the confined aquifer. Example: Fiji
· Spring Water: This water is derived from underground formation from which water flows naturally to the earth’s surface. It must be collected at the spring or underground through a borehole feeding the spring. Example: Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water
· Purified Water: Water produced by distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis. Example: Aquafina
When choosing a bottled water besides aesthetics, it is also important to consider that it usually comes in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers, which are generally considered safe. But when stored in warm temperatures, the plastic may leach chemicals into the water, which may lead to potential health risks.
In addition, plastic bottles are not healthy for the planet due to the huge amounts of fossil fuels that are burned in order to fill and distribute them. It takes three times the amount of water to produce a bottle of water as it does to fill it. Plus, plastic bottles take about 500-1000 years to decompose and are one of the worst known ocean pollutants.
The best bottled water to go for is one that is not made from plastic such as the reusable, stainless steel bottle that uses reverse osmosis technology. such as those made by Hydro Flask or Klean Kanteen.
At times when bottled water on the-go is an absolute must, look for brands with the NSF certification logo or choose a brand that uses glass bottles such as, but not limited to Eden Springs and Voss. While they may be pricier, you can wash and refill them at home for multiple uses and they help save our planet!