Water — The Elixir Of Life
“Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” The well known quote from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” hits the nail on the head more surely than the great poet could ever have imagined. Water covers seventy percent of Earth, yet only one percent is available as drinking water, and much of that is of questionable quality. When you consider that clean drinking water is essential to life, it is quite surprising that in areas of the world where water is plentiful, many avoid drinking it, preferring instead to survive on carbonated, sugary drinks and hot beverages.
Why is it that so many people struggle to drink enough water? The truth is that the taste of most tap water is pretty disgusting. It does vary from place to place but on the whole water from the tap can be reminiscent of the local swimming pool. That’s not to say it’s in any way unsafe of course. On the contrary, the chemicals used to ensure its safety are all in there doing their work; you can taste them.
Once the water destined for our tap has been filtered to remove silt, dust, parasites, bacteria, viruses and chemicals, it is then chlorinated to kill off any pathogens that may have escaped the filters. This is all very reassuring, but the addition of chlorine to our water supply can itself have certain drawbacks. An excess of residual chlorine produces chemical by-products, some of which are carcinogenic. The line of the public water supply providers is: These hazards are minor when compared to the risks of pathogens in the water supply — and they have a point, but…
So what about bottled water? Lots of it is sold, and there’s no doubt that it’s a useful alternative to eau de tap, but the world of bottled water is a jungle. Bottled water products fall into three different classifications: natural mineral water, spring water and bottled drinking water — each category requiring a different set of rules to satisfy the labelling laws.
Which Water Product Are You Drinking?
Natural mineral water must come from a recognized and officially verified underground source; the location should be specified on the label. It can only have very minimal treatment apart from bottling.
Spring water must also be derived from an underground source, but it does not have to be procured from any officially recognized location and the source need not be revealed on the label.
Bottled drinking water is the trickiest one. It can come from any water source and has fewer restrictions. It does not claim to be from a natural spring so could be from a hose or pipe in someone’s back yard. It is well worth doing your homework when choosing from this category. There may be some excellent products available, but there are also some that are not worth their money. You could be paying for water that has been piped from a holding tank somewhere or been artificially carbonated.
Handy tip: Beware of leaving plastic bottles of water in the sun or a warm car. When plastic gets hot, it leaches chemicals known as xenoestrogens, and you definitely don’t need them in your drinking water. Glass bottles are safer but the product will be more expensive.
Consider A Water Filter
Filter jugs are another alternative to straight tap water or a garage full of bottled water flats. This is a very inexpensive and easy way of converting unpalatable tap water into a perfectly acceptable drink. The process not only removes dissolved mineral ions and chlorine from tap water, it also softens the water. It is well worth investing in a good water filter. It makes a huge difference to the taste of tap water and also improves the flavor of tea and coffee. Always keep the jug in the refrigerator and remember to change the filter after the recommended time.
Filter jugs work by cartridge method where the water is passed through activated charcoal to absorb impurities, including chlorine. Also in the filter compound are ion exchange resins to remove heavy metals such as lead and aluminium. The inclusion of nanoparticles of silver in the filter help to break down bacteria and pesticides, and also includes antibacterial properties.
You may wish to consider having a filter plumbed into the home water supply. All the water in your home is then automatically filtered before it reaches the tap. It may mean some initial expense but to have a constant supply of vastly improved fresh water for cooking as well as drinking is a reassuring lifestyle investment.
Why Is Water So Important?
Drinking plenty of water helps just about every bodily function. It keeps the digestive tract free of debris, helping to avoid inflammatory bowel diseases. Water helps you stay alert. Dehydration is responsible for lethargy and lack of concentration, yet many people don’t even know why they feel sluggish. Water helps every organ of the body work efficiently. The flushing away of toxins through urine and perspiration is a vital process, and adequate water even helps the immune system fight free-radical damage.
If the reasons already mentioned are not enough to convince you, here are two more that may just tip the balance. Water is commonly known as a fat burning drink. As such, drinking enough water will help with weight loss as it assists in removing the by-products of fat in the digestive system. It will also help reduce cravings and hunger pangs, increase your metabolic rate and give you more energy without the need to consume extra calories.
Water also refines the condition of your skin, and particularly your complexion. Hydrating yourself from the inside will keep your skin moisturized with a fresh, smooth glow. It helps plump out wrinkles and is a much more effective anti-aging treatment than all the expensive skin creams on the market.
So raise your glass to water — the true elixir of life.
Alexandra Ross is a freelance writer, food lover and healthy lifestyle writer.
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