Water – Nature’s Elixir
Often, when people think of water, one of the first things that comes to mind is the lecture about how much to drink by the doctor, Internet, health magazines and probably their mother.
But water is more than just something you add to your Kool-Aid. It is a life-saving resource that many of us take for granted.
What are the benefits of water?
Firstly, water flushes your system. When you drink enough water, you flush out the toxins that have built up in your kidneys. This helps improve your overall health and prevents infections like urinary tract infections, acne and many others. It also acts as a natural immune booster and promotes weight loss. Besides the fact that if you drink enough water it will get you out of your chair more often which means you move around more. It also helps you feel fuller if you drink it before meals. And then once you have eaten, it raises your metabolism without adding one single calorie to the process!
Water is also essential for the brain. Considering the average human is made up of 60% water and the brain is made up of a whopping 75%, the more hydrated you are, the better your brain can perform.
Healthy, brainy and in shape; you can’t get any better than that for a healthy lifestyle!
So how do I keep hydrated?
Fruit, vegetables and even coffee and tea will help you get hydrated. But the basis of all those items is – you guessed it – water! So why not drink straight from the source? It’s cheaper, easier for your body to process and faster to get your hands on.
How much water should I be drinking?
There used to be a clear-cut rule about drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day for a healthy body. Recent studies have shown that the amount you drink could depend on your size, weight, activity level and even where you live. The advice given is to drink half to one ounce of water per pound you weigh, with your level of activity and climatic zone influencing where you are on the scale between half an ounce and one ounce per pound. So if you weigh 180 pounds, you would normally consume 90 ounces of water a day. However, if you’re on a desert hike, you might want to double that[a]. But listen to your body. If you feel thirsty, drink.
What is pH and how does it affect my water?
pH describes the alkalinity or the acidity on a scale of 0 – 14. A pH of 7 is neutral. If the pH is higher than 7, it becomes more alkaline (or basic). If it is lower than 7, it becomes acidic [b]. So one indicator of the purity of water is its pH. A pH of 7 sounds like the perfect balance. Guess what? The pH of chemically pure H2O is exactly 7 which makes it Goldilocks – just right.
What is TDS and why is it in my water?
TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids and it refers to any inorganic matter such as minerals, metals and salts or broken down organic materials in water. TDS affects the water quality just like the pH does. However, you may want to pay particularly close attention to what exactly makes up the ‘S’ part. Certain heavy metals dissolved in water can have massively negative impacts on health, even in innocuous-sounding quantities. Lead, for example. It is highly recommended that you find out the TDS level, and the constituents of the TDS, in your water. The lower the TDS, the better the quality of water [c].
What is hard water? And here is a clue: it’s not ice.
When water is referred to as ‘hard’ it means that it has a high mineral content. This usually happens when the water seeps through deposits of limestone and chalk, which contain minerals such as calcium and magnesium [d].
What is soft water?
Soft water has a relatively low mineral content with few calcium and magnesium ions. Interesting fact: You can tell if your water is soft if soap lathers easily in it [d].
Spring water. Sounds magical. What is a mountain spring?
A mountain spring is a natural phenomenon where water flows out of the Earth’s surface. This flow is largely due to the force of gravity, which pulls the water down through the ground until it reaches a layer it cannot flow through. Traffic jam. But one that doesn’t have to wait till after peak hour to be solved. Because the water can’t flow through the layer, it starts to flow along it. It then reaches an opening in the Earth and becomes our magical mountain spring. There are other types of springs such as artesian springs, seepage springs, tubular springs and fissure springs. All caused when a stubborn rock meets persistent water [e].
Can I drink the water from the springs?
Of course you can, because the water from a spring comes directly from below the Earth’s surface. It is free of the possible contaminates contained in other water sources. The mineral levels are just right, helping keep the pH as neutral as possible. And not only is it healthier, but it tastes better. The lack of contaminants also allows it to hydrate your tissues more effectively. Happy taste buds, happy tissues, happy bodies.
Can tap water be dangerous?
Yes, it can be. Chlorine is added to most community and city water systems to kill off bacteria. Many people are wary of the potentially hazardous chlorine byproducts that changes the way water tastes and could have an impact on the health of the drinker. Also, plant matter has problematic reactions with chlorine. However, if chlorine content is a concern, it can be extracted by simply leaving the water standing for a few hours. Chlorine evaporates. Poof, just like that, it’s gone.
We take water for granted. Some people can’t.
There are water shortages in many countries and none of the continents are immune. Places such as India, Antigua, Barbados, China, Jamaica, Malta, Kuwait, and many countries in Africa. Even California in the United States of America is not immune to water quality and shortages. It is not a shortage of water alone, but the purity thereof, that is the problem in many areas. Industrial pollutants, high levels of salt, biological contamination and waterborne diseases are just a few of the problems faced in many parts of the World [f]. Something to think about as you leave the tap on while you brush your teeth.