What Type of Water Should You Be Drinking? Ionized? Alkaline? Lemon?

How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?

Your body is made of approximately 60% water and requires water for every organ system to function. The famed 8 x 8oz glasses of water a day is a construct, not based on any study, but to better help the public (aka you) have a number to aim for. As we have gotten into studying how much water the body needs for high performance sport, we generally say: Aim to drink 0.5-1 oz of water for every 1 lb of body weight. Your body demands are unique, based on your age, activity level, and state, so your requirements will vary.

So for the average 150lb person, that would be anywhere from 75oz to 150 oz of water, which is 2.2L - 4.4 L of water. I tell people aim to drink 2L of water/day, preferably from a 1L water bottle that you just have to refill once. 

Should I filter my water? 

Lets be real. My first priority with every patient is just to get them to drink more water. When you start getting into what type of water, if you should filter your water, what to add to your water, it can seem overwhelming and we forget the first priority is - drinking water.  Period.

Doing this already? Great. There are tons of other ways to support your health. Feel competent in those? Good.

Now we can talk about the very privileged conversation of just what type of water we could be drinking, to further benefit our health.

Water is a solvent and without minerals, will leach them from your body. There are some filters that completely remove all particles & minerals from the water (distilled, reverse osmosis) and so there is a some rationale for then adding back in quality minerals, to keep your water from dehydrating you and draining potassium and other minerals as you drink it (when completely pure). Then there is the other conversation that says drinking reverse osmosis water is completely fine, as we are meant to get all our minerals and electrolytes from our vegetable & fruit consumption. 

Naturally, spring fed water systems have minerals from the Earth that keep our water hydrating for us. Unnaturally, we throw everything under the Sun into our lakes and river systems, then treat it with chemicals in a plant and filter it, before sending back to our homes for clean drinking. The way we treat the water, and environmental pollution, makes it more acidic, which means it will steal electrons or be oxidizing, rather than donating electrons or act like an anti-oxidant. Tap water now has hormonal xenoestrogens from women who take the oral birth control pill, who excrete it in their urine, which ends up in our waterways, and is resistant to breakdown and filtration in our water treatment facilities. The chlorine in water has the same valence of electrons as those in iodine, which means chlorine can displace iodine in our bodies, which is why we choose to filter our chlorine because iodine is already so hard to maintain for most people. 

We have come up with ways to filter our water, not just to make it clean and safe for consumption, but now to maximize its benefit to our bodies (hence the privilege, as so many countries still don't have easy access to abundant clean drinking water).  Please note: the #1 way we get our minerals, is from our fruits & vegetables. So, you'll read that I recommend a good filtration system, like a Berkey, with re-mineralization rocks from Santevia (see the comparison of the two systems here) however, you can still just drink any water and eat your fruits & veggies. 

What is Distilled Water? 

Distilled water is made from boiling water, then collecting the steam of that water into a new container, where it cools back into water, without the minerals from its original source. It is pure water and generally speaking, NOT recommended for your main source of drinking water. 

What is Reverse Osmosis Water? 

Reverse osmosis is similar to distilled, as a high pressure system pushes water through a semi-permeable membrane, to filter the water to becoming pure water. It is always recommended to then re-mineralize pure water, or to not use it as your only source of drinking water. 

What is Ionized Water? 

Ionizing your water is a term denoted to raising the pH of your water, to make it more alkaline, either through adding minerals back in to pure water, or via electrolysis in a machine, that will separate the water into acidic and alkaline components (based on OH- and electrons in the water). Anti-oxidant water is when the water has more electron donating capacity (reductive potential), which alkaline solutions are. Aka, it is making your water an anti-oxidant, like vitamin C, and we all agree vitamin C is good for you. Santevia water filters use mineral stones to re-ionize, add minerals back into, the water. 

What is the best water filter to use? 

Personally, I like a Berkey filter. They are used all over the world, by WHO organizations and non-profits, to filter undrinkable water to safe, drinkable water with some good minerals still left in it. I can't object to buying the mineral stones from Santevia though and using them in the bottom of the Berkey system, to add the extra support for alkalinity. Thus I'm drinking purified water that has been re-mineralized. There are different reps for this company, depending where you are, but their website will help you understand what Berkey filters out, compared to a standard (cheaper) carbon filter, like Brita. But if a Brita is all you have, at least it is something to filter out chlorine, benzene, mercury and lead. 

Want to make a start but not ready to buy a filter? 

Stop consuming water from plastic, AND, stop consuming water from receptacles that you throw out. Instead use a reusable glass container (ideal) or stainless steel. But remember, even if you are drinking from your BPA free Nalgene, your first priority is drinking water, your second is many other things that affect your health, and third is what type of water you are drinking. 

Your body needs minerals. It is supposed to get them from the vegetables you eat, from the nutrients in the soil, from the water used to grow them. Have your own garden? Use mineralized water to grow your plants, and then consume those. Bonus: watch your plants grow fantastically. 

5 Ways to Get In More Water if You Don't Like Drinking Water

  1. Eat more foods with high water content. Some of those are: watermelon, spinach, cucumbers, celery, berries and radishes.
  2. Add lemon or lime to your water. The tartness of the water will be stimulating to your liver, and support digestion, as well as add more flavour. 
  3. Drink carbonated water. Some people find carbonated water more interesting. It is the process of adding pressurized carbon dioxide gas to plain water, which will breakdown into the safe carbon dioxide we breath out regularly. Be wary of added 'natural flavour', 'lemon flavour' and added sugars to carbonated water drinks, like Perrier Grapefruit or Lemon or Lime (all have added chemical flavour and sugar). 
  4. I tell patients all the time to use a water-bottle to drink out of, preferably glass, and 1L, so that you just have to drink 2 water-bottles/day and you'll have done your job. Drinking out of a water bottle makes it easier to know just how much water you've drank in a day. 
  5. Finally, invest in a filter. It will make you drink more if you are more intentional about your water, knowing it is good for you when you do go to drink it. 

Stay hydrated,

Dr. Kaylee