By WIN Contributor: Dr. Laura Imola, Naturopathic Doctor
It’s summertime and baby, it’s hot out there! We all need to be drinking enough water each day to feel our best, not only during the hottest days of the year, but all year round. Water is the best way to stay hydrated since it gives our body what it needs and it quenches thirst.
I often get questions from patients trying to differentiate the types of purified water. Here’s a rundown of the various water options.
Tap water is what comes right out of the kitchen faucet. It’s ok to drink tap water in Niagara, thanks to the municipal water management system. Although our tap water is purified of anything that could make us acutely sick, impurities can still be present in the water. There have been many studies and reports over the years about impurities, like traces of pharmaceuticals, in city drinking water. A CBC article in 2014 reported that Health Canada found pharmaceuticals in drinking water. This doesn’t include the other chemicals or impurities that may be making their way in to our tap water. For this reason I always recommend drinking some sort of purified or filtered water.
You can find bottled water from a spring water source or that has been purified with Reverse Osmosis. The concern with spring water is that it’s hard to tell how diligent a company is with the purity of the water source. Safe for drinking, yes, but trace contaminants, hard to say.
Another important concern with bottled water is the plastic. The environmental impact single use plastic has on the planet has been devastating. For that reason alone, we all should try and avoid depending on bottled water, if at all possible.
Finally, the plastics may also be a concern for the water itself. In a recent article from Today, Cheryl Watson, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, argues against the International Bottled Water Association and the FDA that claim the plastic bottle is safe, and shares the real possibility that plastic chemicals from bottles left in the heat (e.g. car, garage, storage areas) could move into the water.
Single carbon water filters are the ones that are found in a Brita water filter and in some installed water filter systems. Carbon filters are a natural and effective way of removing some impurities, like chlorine, but not all (e.g. heavy metals, pesticides, microorganisms) from water along with tastes and odours, without stripping the water of naturally occurring salts and minerals. Brita and similar countertop filters are a simple and easy way to drink purified water.
Distilled water is made by boiling and condensing water to remove some, but not all, impurities. In this process to get purified water, the minerals are also removed, which can cause this water to taste “flat” to some people.
Distilled water is more purified that regular tap water, but some are concerned that it’s devoid of minerals. If you decide to drink it, you can remineralize distilled water by adding a little fresh plant based food to it like a slice of lemon, lime, cucumber, mint leaves or fruit. Any fresh plant food is rich with naturally occurring minerals that can reconstitute the water.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems offer a treatment process that moves water through a series of membranes that block impurities from passing through. RO filtration results in the cleanest water as 500 times more impurities are removed than Carbon Filters. RO filters remove bad flavours and odour from water in addition to pesticides, chlorine, microorganisms and heavy metals.
Due to the major filtration of an RO system, the minerals are also removed from the water, leaving water de-mineralized like distilled water. Because of this, it may also taste “flat” to people just like distilled water and many feel that the lack of minerals makes it unfit to drink. RO water is fine to drink and can be remineralized with the addition of lemon, lime, cucumber, mint, etc., just I noted above with distilled water.
SPECIALIZED FILTRATION SYSTEMS
Gravity fed filters, like the Berkey Water Filter system and ionizing systems, like the Kangen are gaining more interest in recent years because they filter but preserve the mineral balance of the water. There are many people who love their Berkey or Kangen systems and there is a great deal of product information on both. They are both great filters, and for systems like this I always recommend researching which is the best fit.
Getting enough water everyday is tremendously important for our body systems and to keep us feeling energetic, clear minded and focused. I hope this helps shed light on the different types of filtered water so you’re well informed to choose which water type is best for you. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help.