The Best Waters to Stay Hydrated and Healthy
"Staying well hydrated is absolutely crucial to your health, but there are a ton of waters on the market, all claiming to be the best for drinking."
The average person can live without food for nearly a month, but without water can’t make it a week! Water is essential to human life, but not all water is the same… and there are so many options. On today’s show Dr. Nancy Lin, PhD, takes us through the different types of waters and lets us know which are worth the money and what’s just hype. From tap, to filtered, to the finest mineral water — Dr. Nancy covers it all.
- 03:26: Fun Facts About Water
- 06:39: Bottled Water Statistics
- 11:38: How much water should you drink daily?
- 16:43: Dehydration
- 20:18: Benefits of proper hydration
- 27:33: Filtered Water
- 28:42: Carbonated Water
- 32:30: Alkaline Water
- 34:25: Infused Water
- 41:05: Electrolyte Waters
- 43:52: Mineral Water
- 45:24: Spring Water
- 46:50: Distilled Water
- 48:41: Ion Exchange Water
- 50:31: Tap Water
- 55:45: The best type of water
- 56:14: Purified Water
- 57:20: What temperature should drinking water be?
- 59:38: Wrap-up
Water’s water, right? Maybe not! That’s what today’s show is all about – good old H20! As a matter of fact, there used to just be good old H20 we got from the tap, but not any more. Now there’s bottled water, filtered water, purified water, distilled water, ion-exchange water, infused-water, carbonated water, alkaline water, mineral water, spring water, and the list seems to go on and on! So which type of water is right for you? Which is healthiest for our bodies?
Fun Facts About Water
- Water makes up approximately 70% of a human’s body weight
- Approximately 80% of your brain tissue is made of water — about the same percentage of water found in a living tree
- By the time you feel thirsty, your body has lost more than 1% of its total water — so it’s best to drink water before you get thirsty.
- The average person could live without food for nearly a month, but we could only survive about one week without water. That’s how essential water is to human life. Some of us can’t go a day without coffee, but that’s a whole different story!
Bottled water statistics
- The average American drinks 32 gallons of bottled water every year. As a country, we spend about $20 billion per year on bottled water!
- Americans go through a startling amount of bottled water each day; about 1,500 bottles every second. That adds up to 90,000 every hour and nearly 2.2 million each day.
- Globally, people go through roughly 200 billion plastic water bottles every year.
- While about 55% of the bottled water brands draw their products from natural springs, it's estimated that as much as 45% of the water that's available in the supermarket aisles is the same as what you can get from the tap!
- Scientists say that there is the same amount of water on Earth today as there was when the planet was formed. Believe it or not, the water you drink could share the same molecules that dinosaurs drank.
How much water should you drink daily?
For the longest time, we’ve all been told that we should be drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
Experts are now finding that we should be drinking at least half our body weight in ounces. So, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking 70 ounces of water each day.
But there are other things to consider when determining how much water you need — like how much you exercise, and whether you’re pregnant or sick. These things will require you to increase your intake of water, as will the time of year or where you live. If you’re currently in the middle of a heat wave (like much of the country is right now) or if you live in a hot climate, you might need to integrate more water into your daily routine.
But what kind of water do you drink? Straight from the tap? Filtered? Bottled? With ice? Room temperature? Plain or jazzed up with some lemon or mint?
Believe it or not, there actually are benefits and disadvantages to drinking certain types of water. It’s not all marketing hype. So let’s take a closer look at it.
It’s estimated that 75% of people in the U.S. are constantly walking around in a state of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to a lot of health issues like headaches, fatigue, joint pain, kidney stones, and brain fog, just to name a few.
How can you tell if you’re dehydrated?
Your urine will be dark in color — that’s one tell-tale sign. If you feel dizzy, confused, or low on energy, these might also be indicators you need to drink more water. It can trigger headaches for those prone to headaches. Dry skin is another symptom, as is dry mouth. Diarrhea and vomiting might also be indications of severe, dangerous dehydration and they can compound the dehydration problem as well.
Water is like the oil in the machines that our bodies are, and even though our bodies are made up of 70% water, we need to make sure we’re staying adequately hydrated to keep functioning properly.
Benefits of staying properly hydrated
- Detoxes the body
- Lubricates joints
- Improves physical performance
- Gives you energy
- Improves cognitive function
- Prevents dehydration-related headaches
- Keeps the kidneys healthy and can decrease the formation of kidney stones
- Relieves constipation
- Reduces the risk of chronic inflammation
That’s right, drinking plenty of water can reduce inflammation and even help prevent chronic inflammation from occurring. When the body is dehydrated, cell function slows down, and so does your metabolism. Nutrients might not be reaching their destination throughout the body, and celluar waste and toxins are not able to be completely flushed from your body. All these things can lead to swollen joints and weight gain, which can then have a larger impact on your health if they lead to other issues like hormonal imbalances, diabetes, and heart disease.
Making sure you get your daily dose of water can really help with weight loss, especially if you drink a big glass of water half an hour before meals. The idea is that you’ll feel fuller and consume fewer calories as a result. And drinking just 17 ounces of water has proven to accelerate the metabolism for up to an hour and a half. Also, sometimes people who are dehydrated mistake the signs for feelings of hunger. So if you start to feel hunger pains, or you’re weak, or have a headache, you may actually need water.
So next time you feel hungry, try drinking a glass or two of water, and wait 15-20 minutes to see if you are still feeling hungry.
What type of water is best?
What types of water should you drink and which should you avoid? Let’s take a look at a few options.
Filtered water is an excellent drinking water choice. Why? Because it contains no additives and since it’s filtered, it’s free from heavy metals and toxins. Plus, filtered water tastes great.
If you’re someone who cannot stand the taste of plain old water, carbonated water might be the option for you. The bubbles make carbonated water more interesting and some carbonated waters like Pellegrino or Perrier are also mineral water, so they contain added minerals and nutrients. But there are some issues with carbonated water; the bubbles can cause belly bloat, and fizzy water contains an acid called carbonic acid, that gives it its bubbles. That acidity can gradually wear away tooth enamel.
The good news is, it’s a relatively weak acid. So unless it’s flavored with citric or other acids, seltzers tend to have more neutral pH values than soft drinks like Coke. While bottled flat water has a pH of about 7—or totally neutral—that of Perrier is about 5.5.
People are going crazy for LaCroix lately, but overall we think it’s best to consume bubbling beverages only occasionally and in moderation.
As the name implies, this is water that has an alkaline pH. It’s become a very popular form of drinking water with the health crowd because it is advertised to help restore the body to an alkaline state. In other words, it’s marketed as restoring your body to a less acidic environment. But the reality is that this isn’t always the best idea. The stomach, for instance, needs to maintain a certain level of acidity to aid in digestion and to ward off infections. So alkaline water probably shouldn’t be your only form of water intake, but it is okay to consume from time to time.
Infused water is an excellent water choice, but only if you’re infusing it naturally. There are a number of infused bottled waters on the market, but most of them contain sugar and additives you don’t need, so make sure you read labels.
Water infused with fruit or even veggies like cucumber are a great way to make water more palatable while also giving it the health benefits that go along with whatever it is you’re adding to your water. And really, you don’t need to buy infused water, you can just make it at home.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- ½ cucumber, sliced
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 10-12 mint leaves
- 3 liters of filtered water
In a large jug or container, add all the ingredients and let steep overnight. The next morning, pour it in a glass and enjoy! It’s easy, inexpensive, detoxifying and healthy. The mint helps with digestion, the lemons are filled with vitamin C and can help eliminate toxins, and the cucumber is loaded with antioxidants.
The possibilities are endless with infused water so have fun experimenting. You can add things like:
You can even come up with fun combinations like watermelon basil or lime ginger.
Waters like Smart Water and Dasani are purified waters but they’re also electrolyte waters. This means they’ve first been purified, and then electrolytes have been added in. If you’re not familiar, electrolytes are minerals that have an electric charge and they help to bring balance to pH and to the amount of water in the body. They also help get rid of waste in your body’s cells while helping to put nutrients back in. Unfortunately, most electrolyte waters don’t contain anywhere near an adequate amount of electrolytes to really benefit the body and some even contain sodium, which can be dehydrating. Coconut water is a natural electrolyte water that can have the same benefits as some waters in the same vain without the additives.
This is a great water choice. Mineral water is water found in nature with some dissolved salts (meaning minerals) present. It’s packed with minerals that are good for you, like calcium and magnesium. One study found that people whose drinking water was low in magnesium were able to lower blood pressure just by drinking a liter of mineral water every day. Mineral water can also help aid digestion. Look for the ones naturally high in silica, a natural element our bodies need. Among its many benefits, it is also an aluminum chelator, meaning it pulls aluminum from the body. Much of it comes from New Zealand or Europe. This water is a great choice.
Spring water is another great choice, and is similar to mineral water in that it contains a lot of healthy minerals. Spring water is comes from a spring that’s found its way to the earth’s surface. It’s technically defined as natural water that gets collected from underground sources.
Just make sure you know the source. Quality spring water is also supposed to be naturally free from toxins and is considered to taste superior to most other types of water.
This is water that has been boiled in order to remove toxins and chemicals. Unfortunately, the good things in the water, like minerals your body needs (and expects to be in the water) also get boiled out. For example, eliminating excess calcium and magnesium can be especially bad because the body is then able to absorb more toxic metals without the presence of these two minerals. So distilled water is not a good option for drinking water. It can have a negative impact on the way you eliminate certain things like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. While distilled water isn’t the best choice for drinking, it would be a good choice for a humidifier or in an essential oil diffuser.
Like distilled water, ion-exchanged water involves removing all dissolvable solids — good and bad. So like distilled water, consuming it regularly is not recommended.
So what about water that comes straight out of the tap? There’s a lot of debate and controversy swirling around tap water because some public water supplies contain pesticides and other chemicals like arsenic and lead caused from runoff. Tap water can also contain bacteria and particles of metal and rust dislodged from the pipes they travel through before they reach your tap. In most parts of the country, tap water is safe to drink but you never know for sure. It might be okay at the source, but if the pipes are bad then you’ve got problems. If you do choose to drink tap water, then filter it through a charcoal filter, like a Brita filter, in order to remove fluoride, chlorine and other added chemicals. You can start by finding out the state of water in your area. Visit the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a database that allows you to enter your zip code and receive a report about your tap water’s compliance with federal drinking water standards, contaminants found, sources of pollution, and more.
This is a close second to mineral water as far as the best type to drink. Purified water goes one step further than filtered water, in that it’s filtered and then purified through an additional process like reverse osmosis. Purified water does not exceed a contaminant level of 10-parts-per-million. Purified water is free from toxins, chemicals, and bacteria, and it’s full of the essential minerals your body needs. It’s a consistent, safe choice.
What temperature should drinking water be?
There’s a lot of debate about this. One side says drinking cold water might be the way to go since your body will have to use some extra energy and burn some calories to bring the water to body temperature. The other side says water that’s already closer to body temperature will hydrate you faster because you don’t have to go through all that extra work. It’s really a matter of preference and totally up to you — as long as you are drinking enough water each day, your body will be happy and thank you with improved health!
Staying well hydrated is absolutely crucial to your health, but there are a ton of waters on the market, all claiming to be the best for drinking. Today we talked about the benefits of proper hydration, the symptoms of dehydration and associated health issues, and then reviewed the various drinking waters. Here are the highlights:
- You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces daily. More if you are active or in a hot environment.
- Dehydration is a major issue for a lot of Americans — remember, if you feel hungry, try sipping some water first and see if you feel better.
- Water has many benefits — it can improve physical performance, eliminate toxins, keep your kidneys healthy, reduce inflammation, and keep your joints lubricated, just to name a few.
- There are many types of water out there. Some of those with the best benefits include filtered water, spring water, natural electrolyte water like coconut water, and purified water.
- If you’re someone who just does not find water palatable, try creating some fruit or veggie infused waters.
Let’s all raise a glass of water to our health. If you liked today’s episode, give me a thumbs up and share it. We hope this has been educational for you and equipped you with the information you need to get the best type of hydration.