Water, Water Everywhere, But Is There Any Healthy Water To Drink?
It isn’t a secret that clean water is vital for health, but just how clean is the water we drink?
Though we are told that tap water is safe to drink, there are many studies linking the chemicals found in tap water to various health conditions. So, to be on the safe side of health, what can we do to ensure that we are drinking the cleanest and safest water possible? Let’s take a look at some popular options.
Bottled water gained popularity in the mid-1980s, and the demand for it has grown exponentially ever since—that is, until the widespread controversy surrounding bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical building block of many plastic containers that is suspect of negatively affecting health.
After much research, BPA has been linked to health issues such as hormonal disturbances, neurological disorders, and even cancer. However, even though BPA was banned from plastic baby bottles in 2012, the FDA has not banned it from all plastic bottles. As consumers become educated about the possible dangers of BPA they voiced their concerns and now many manufacturers of bottled water sell their product in BPA-free bottles.
So is consuming water in BPA-free bottles the best option? Probably not. Not only can buying bottled water get quite expensive ($1.00 – $4.00 for a liter), the negative effect that the production, transport, and disposal of these bottles have on the environment is concerning.
Did you know that approximately 40% of all bottled water tested is actually tapped water?
Now here is a much better option for clean water, but which kind of filter is best?
Water filters range from heavy duty, with a heavy price tag as well, to smaller more economical filters such as PUR®, Brita®, and Zero Water™. The good news is that most of these smaller filters on the market actually do a relatively good job at reducing the chemicals found in tap water, and if I had to pick a favorite, my choice would be Zero Water™. In comparison studies, Zero Water™ appears to produce the cleanest water. All of these economical filters are about the same price (approximately $35.00) and all require that you change the filters about every six weeks (approximately $6.00). That being said, is the purchase of a small water filter system a better bang for your buck than bottled water? Absolutely!
But what about the heavy duty filters?
In the long run, these larger filter systems would financially be great options. However, with price tags ranging from a few hundred to upwards of nine thousand dollars, it may not be realistic to add one of these larger systems to your priority-shopping list. But, if you were in a position to purchase one of these systems, I would suggest a reverse-osmosis filter.
Reverse-osmosis filters are superior at removing chemicals from water, as well as most trace pharmaceuticals, which many filters on the market cannot do. However, there are also drawbacks to this type of filtration system that should be mentioned. While this type of system removes bad containments during the filtration process, it also strips the water of “good contaminants” (the life-giving trace minerals naturally found in water). This wouldn’t be a big problem if our diet was high in minerals and other nutrients, but the sad fact is, today’s American diet is primarily based on convenient processed fast foods and foods that are grown in soil that has been nutritionally depleted from over-farming. Even organic foods are deficient. Consuming both the processed and nutrient deficient foods brings about an acidic internal pH that in turn contributes to inflammation in the body that can lead to ailments such as heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders, to name just a few.
Simple Trace Minerals help to combat this acidity because they actually make your body more alkaline. But what exactly are Trace Minerals?
Trace minerals are found in nature and in small amounts within our body. Although we only need them in small amounts, when deficiencies occur it can be quite destructive to our health.
Trace Minerals are important for nearly all metabolic functions within the body because they work co-dependently with other substances. If the body is deficient in certain trace minerals, then other substances, such as enzymes, will not work properly. This could result in dysfunction in any one of our major body systems.
For example, research has shown how the deficiency of the trace minerals chromium and vanadium may play a major role in the development of Type 2 Diabetes.
Other major roles that trace minerals play in health are:
- Iodine needed for thyroid function
- Iron needed for red blood cell hemoglobin production
- Zinc needed for normal immune function
- Chromium needed for blood glucose metabolism and cholesterol metabolism
- Manganese is needed for cell growth
- Boron is vital to prevent arthritis
Thank goodness there are a few simple ways that you can reintroduce trace minerals to reverse-osmosis water. I would actually recommend adding Trace Minerals to any filtered water.
- Add a few drops of a Trace Mineral Liquid
There is a wonderful product that I often recommend from Trace Minerals Research called ConcenTrace® Trace Mineral Drops. For only a few dollars, this will last you a few months.
- Add a bit of lime and/or lemon
Many people don’t realize just how amazing Mother Nature truly is! Though limes and lemons don’t have the wide range of Trace Minerals that you’d get from the TM drops, they are a good source of electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, calcium, and salt).
- Mix in some marine sea algae – Spirulina
Now we’re talking! The cool thing about using spirulina is you’d only have to mix it in water once per day. It contains much more Trace Minerals than limes and lemons, and also contains trace amounts of amino acids (protein). How about adding some lime/lemon to this? Yum! Spirulina can be found online or in any Health or Vitamin store.
- Or lastly, a pinch of sea salt.
If you are in a pinch, then simply drop a pinch of sea salt that contains trace minerals into a liter of water. Himalayan sea salt is a wonderful product (great for cooking too!), but it can be a bit pricey. A second good option is a product called ‘Real Salt’ by Redmond.
Although all of this information helps us to understand how to avoid the toxic chemicals in tap water and gives us means to help restore the vital nutrients that are lost during the filtration process, what we really need is a global shift in paradigm with regard to how water is purified and distributed. To do this would require not only a fundamental change in how our health is viewed but also an efficient yet environmentally safe means to incorporate such a change.
Currently, there are two concepts for water filtration that meet both of these requirements:
- Sand filtration systems
- UV light filtration systems
The sand filtration system is not a new idea. It has been used for hundreds of years to purify water. Basically, the water travels through the sand and as it does so pathogens are killed off by a variety of processes. This method is so effective that it can remove the following microorganisms without adding additional toxic chemicals:
- ~99% of helminths and protozoa
- ~98% of bacteria
- ~85% of viruses
Sand filtration does not remove vital trace minerals from the water.
The UV light filtration system is also not a new idea. UV light can kill approximately 99% of all dangerous pathogens in water that could cause harm without the aid of chemicals. This can be accomplished directly from solar light, or by UV lamps.
Simply, the UV light disrupts the genetic core of the pathogen eliminating the microorganism’s ability to reproduce. If the pathogen can no longer reproduce (replicate), then it is no longer a threat to other organisms – human beings, pets, etc.
UV light filtration does not remove vital trace minerals from the water.
Perhaps in the near future, both types of systems could be integrated into our water systems so as to deliver fresh, nutritional and clean water to people on a mass scale. Ideally, if we could incorporate the sand filtration as a first process, followed by UV light, we would, in theory, have approximately 100% clean water.
Already, there has been the proposal of integrating wind power as the primary energy source for today’s water systems. Now doesn’t that sound like the perfect marriage to a sand/UV light water purification system!
(FYI – Both the Sand and UV light filtrations are available for small-scale use)
It seems that changes are slowly occurring to improve both our physical health and the health of our environment. Holistic health care and organic whole foods are more at the forefront than ever before. It only makes sense that a slightly different approach to water would be the next step!