All About Water: What Are We Really Drinking?
The name is Bond, Hydrogen and Oxygen Bond, and it’s the most important one there is. It keeps us alive, which is why it’s important for us to know what nearly 60% of our body mass is made of. Let’s dig in, but first, let’s talk about why water is such an integral part of our biology.
The importance of water
Water is essential for a body’s cells and organs to function properly, but how?
- Water regulates the body’s temperature
- Water keeps the joints lubricated
- Water makes oxygen circulation possible
- Water helps the body get rid of waste by easing digestion
- Water helps your body to produce hormones and neurotransmitters
- Water protects your brain, tissues, and spinal cord
- Water keeps your skin hydrated and healthy
Why it’s crucial to drink clean water
As critical as drinking a proper amount of water is, it’s not as important as the quality of the water you are drinking. Unclean water can lead to a number of serious, potentially life-threatening diseases and conditions as we’ve seen time and time again in several parts of the world.
Here are just a few of the problems associated with contaminated water:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach aches and other gastrointestinal problems
- Kidney damage
- Damage to the nervous system
What is drinking water made of?
But it’s not just external pollutants like fertilizers, bacteria, and viruses that can make you sick – it’s what companies add to your water.
You’ve probably noticed that bottled water labels list more than just water as an ingredient. Some of these ingredients, such as calcium and sodium, are relatively harmless. Fluoride, nitrate, and chlorine, however, are the ones you should be cautious of. These chemicals occur naturally in water or in soil, but when they are being added to our water, that’s when it becomes a concern, and here’s why:
Many water companies add fluoride to their product for the same reason that the element is used in toothpaste: it reduces tooth decay.
But the side effects and risks of fluoride far outweigh the benefits. Taking in fluoride in excessive concentrations has been proven to lead to bone disease, neurological problems such as lower IQ, thyroid problems, cardiovascular damage, and unhealthy skin.
Nitrates are naturally in water since they are essential to plants, and the recommended limit in drinking water is 10 mg/L. When that concentration is higher than that, it can lead to oxidization of the iron in blood cells and therefore the inhibition of their oxygen-carrying abilities, especially – but not exclusively – in children. This condition is known as Blue Baby Syndrome.
Although it’s used to purify water from bacteria, it brings another problem to it. Even if the amount of chlorine in your water is considered safe, be careful because Chlorine reacts with the water and minerals, forming chemicals that are much more toxic than chlorine itself. One of the most frightening side effects is an increased risk of cancer. If you want to know how to get rid of chlorine from your water, check out this link.
So, what should you drink?
The obvious choice for many people is tap water since it’s the least expensive, but it’s important that you install your own water filter at home to be sure that what you are drinking is safe.
If you’re in a place where tap water is not available or is contaminated and where drinking bottled water is a must, do your research on the different brands and test the water yourself. But keep the environment in mind: choose glass bottles over plastic, or consider getting a water dispenser with large bottles that are taken back and refilled by the company, which will save money and plastic in the long run.
Knowing what is in your water is the first step to making the right choice. Stay tuned to The Wellness Project for a more in-depth look at water and which one is best for you.