For as long as I can remember I’ve heard people involved with health tell me that I need to drink a lot of water. In fact, the guideline, one which I never met, was to drink 8 glasses a day of water. I also heard that this water should come from pure water and not from water contained in combination with other ingredients like tea or fruit juice. Apparently, most of this was just mumbo jumbo. You need water for health but the amount you need and where it comes from can vary. We have to replace the water we use or lose every day through sweat, normal skin evaporation we many never even see or notice, sneezing, crying, and obviously through the process of getting rid of our waste products. Not replacing this water means you become dehydrated. What you probably didn’t know is that not all water provides the same amount of hydration and health benefits.
We need to maintain a healthy balance of fluids in our bodies, as we are 60% water and most of our body functions involve water such as circulation, saliva, wetting our eyes, and maintaining our body temperature through evaporation. There is fluid in our cells, our membranes, just about every part of our bodies contain water even healthy hair and nails. For those suffering from cardiovascular disease one of the very best blood thinners is water.
Where we get the water our bodies need is important. From a practical standpoint, getting it from drinking plain water means, as opposed to eating fruits and vegetables, means we won’t be consuming extra calories. It’s recommended that we get 20% of our water from fruits and vegetables. This balance is particularly important for anyone following a weight control plan.
Let’s talk about plain old water out of the tap. If you live in a city, and most people do, the tap water contains chlorine. Chlorine neutralizes oxygen and without going into a whole chemistry lecture, that means that when we drink chlorinated water our bodies become acidic. It has been shown to weaken our immune systems and make respiratory conditions worse. The list of potential health problems from drinking chlorine is quite lengthy. Additionally, tap water is usually fluoridated for dental health. Apparently fluoride is considered a toxic waste by the E.P.A. The list goes on and on. 
If you just decided not to drink water out of the tap let me warn you before grabbing that plastic bottle of water for which you just overpaid. A lot of that water is simply tap water. In fact, 24% of bottled water is bottled by both Coke and Pepsi under tradenames like Aquafina and Dasani which are simply filtered municipal water. Aside from the expense of drinking filtered municipal water, the bottles themselves are an ecological nightmare.
One of the rages now, and I have to admit to falling into the “yes I use it” category, is alkaline water. This is water with a higher pH (between a pH of 8 and 9) than we would have out of the tap (generally a pH of 7). There are health benefits to drinking alkaline water. Even the naysayers admit that at the very least drinking alkaline water can get rid of acid reflux. 
Alkaline water enthusiasts claim that drinking alkaline water will better hydrate you. It will detoxify you of acid wastes that build up in your body. Dr. S. Whang, who wrote the book “Reverse Aging” says that the aging process is basically an accumulation of acidic wastes. They say that alkaline water can protect you from cancer because cancer can not live in an alkaline environment.  Lastly it is claimed to enhance our immune systems.
Where do we get alkaline water? Nature makes alkaline water when it flows over rocks in a stream or comes out of a spring. The water picks up minerals from the rocks. In nature this is how we, and every other living thing, gets the trace minerals they really need. In fact, a lot of people are drinking bottled water they think is healthy when the first treatment it goes through is something called reverse osmosis. This process removes everything that isn’t water, meaning all the minerals This is not good. According to the World Health Organization it’s downright unhealthy. 
Not all alkaline water is created equal either. There are essentially two ways to have alkaline water, pour it over rocks or ionize it artificially. The artificial kind has some potential side effects, the kinds we are trying to avoid when living a long time, and those include erratic heart behavior, hypertension, anxiety (stress) and urinary tract infections. Artificially ionized water normally contains fewer minerals. 
It’s possible to drink water that is naturally alkaline. There are water filters that drip water over rocks that add minerals to the water, making it more alkaline. You can get water that comes directly from a stream or spring if you are sure there isn’t any upstream pollution. Just a side note here is that water from springs around the world is often noted as being “miracle water.” This water in places like Lourdes, is very alkaline, and claims to have miracle healing capabilities. Also, one of the early researches into the impact of minerals on longevity is Dr. Joel Wallach who pointed out that people who live near mineral dense springs live the longest lives.
I’ve already told you that I am one of the believers in alkaline water. I have a filter created by a company called Santevia. In a nutshell, this filter first puts all the water through a ceramic microfilter. Then it slowly (and I do mean slowly) drops the water over a number of specially designed rocks to mineralize the water making it alkaline and mineralized. I personally tested the water coming from this filter and it is a lot more alkaline than what comes from my tap, which comes from rainwater catchment.
The results of not drinking enough water are serious
Dehydration symptoms can be as simple as dry skin, chapped lips, dizziness and confusion. Severe dehydration can cause our blood to thicken, clots to form, and death can follow. But, somewhere between mildly dehydrated and very dehydrated exists a very dangerous situation. For people who do not want to die from America’s number one killer, heart disease, it’s important to know that when your blood becomes concentrated and acidic abrasions and tears occur in your arteries. This tearing and inflammation is the root of atherosclerosis. This condition can be caused by dehydration. 
Summing it all up
We need water to live. Not having enough water will cause us to age, possibly ruin our cardiovascular system, and even go so far as to kill us. Just about any water is good. But, some water is healthier than other water because it contains fewer or no toxins, whether purposely or accidentally introduced. Really healthy water has a lot of minerals in it, and as such becomes alkaline. Making water alkaline may be dangerous. Drinking sodas is not a way to hydrate yourself. In fact, sodas are highly acidic. Find a great source of mineral-rich water or invest in a filter that mineralizes the water that passes through it. There are several on the market. I don’t sell them but if I did, I’d have to say I am quite happy with my Santevia filter.
As always, live longer,
- The Dangers of Tap Water, http://healthwyze.org/reports/69-the-dangers-of-tap-water
- Ban the Bottle, https://www.banthebottle.net/bottled-water-facts/
- Health Risks of Drinking Demineralized Water. http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutrientschap12.pdf
- Alkaline Water Exposed, https://www.aqualiv.com/alkaline-water-exposed/
- Dehydration, Symptoms, Causes and Treatments, http://drsircus.com/medicine/water/dehydration-symptoms-causes-treatments
- pH and Cancer, http://www.cancerfightingstrategies.com/ph-and-cancer.html