What happened to the days when all you had to worry about was making sure you drink enough water?
Now, we have to worry about the contaminants in our water such as bacteria, parasites, and unwanted chemicals, not to mention the plastic bottle itself. But even if your drinking water is deemed to be “safe,” that doesn’t mean it’s beneficial to your health or providing you with the essential minerals your body needs.
Because not all water is the same.
Some spring-fed water is higher in minerals such as calcium, which is considered ‘hard’ water. There is no harm in drinking this water, but it is hard on your appliances, causing calcium buildup. A water softener may be required to soften the water but that makes it not as good for drinking.
Other waters come out of the ground with a good balance of minerals and electrolytes resulting in a clean, fresh, and non-contaminated taste. As long as it hasn’t been tampered with (filtered, purified, or processed), this is the ideal type of water to drink.
And then there’s tap water… which we’ll get to in a second.
Let’s dive in!
What Is the Best Water for Me to Drink?
There’s no way to determine the perfect type of water for you to drink since there are so many options. The first step in deciding which is right for you is to understand what’s in the water you’re drinking.
Let’s break each one down. First on the menu…
Despite its bad rep, tap water is under strict testing regulations. Tap water goes through a purification process before it ever reaches your pipes. But unfortunately, some states allow the addition of harmful chemicals that make it less than healthy.
The purification process itself makes your water *generally* safe to drink. But there are also potential risks with tap water:
- The purification process strips the water of many of its original minerals
- Household contamination can occur with lead pipes
- Subject to chemicals and toxins seeping into the groundwater from natural disasters and accidents
- Added chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine
Each one of these has the potential to impact the quality of your tap water. Both ground and surface water are showing increasing levels of contamination. Pesticides, oil, chemicals, fertilizers, and road salts are seeping through our soil into the aqueducts far below the surface.
Symptoms of drinking contaminated water are gastrointestinal pain, nausea, flu-like symptoms, or general feeling of illness.
If you have well water containing heavy metals, these can put you at risk for kidney and liver damage, intestinal damage, anemia, and cancer. But regardless of the type of water, it’s a good idea to get it tested so you can address any issues sooner than later.
Before you decide that tap water is too risky and switch over to bottled – there are a few things you need to know. Let’s take a look at the differences.
Bottled water is classified as food by the FDA. There are rules about the amount and number of contaminants allowed. But there is no mandatory testing required. That means if your water is contaminated, you won’t know about it until after you buy it.
Bottled water can be easily contaminated during the packaging process. The bottles also contain tiny bits of plastic debris known as microplastics. These microplastics have been linked to:
- Changes to your hormonal system
- Digestive dysfunctions
- Respiratory issues
- Skin issues
- Problem with brain development
If you must buy bottled water, pay close attention to the source. Try to stick to water that’s from a naturally occurring source – like mineral water or water that comes directly from the spring and has been tested, not purified, or processed. Even better, look for water such as Mountain Valley Spring water which is bottled in glass.
Naturally Occurring Sources – Mineral Water
Mineral water comes from protected underground sources. It’s rich in minerals like sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
Mineral water can help with heart health by helping lower blood pressure and decrease constipation. You can make your own mineral water by adding mineral salts to distilled water. That way you can skip the harmful plastics when you buy a bottle!
Regardless of which water you’re currently drinking, each one has its pros and cons. The best way to make sure your water is safe is to have it tested and if needed, install a home filtration system.
Let’s find a water system that is right for you.
What Water Filter System Should I Use?
Deciding which type of water filtration system will work best for you depends on what’s in your water. There are many options to choose from but let’s start with the basics.
Here are a few ways water filters can help:
- They can remove excess chlorine
- They can remove sediment and other impurities
- They can be more aggressive and remove unwanted chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, and iron
- They can remove calcium to reduce the impact of hard water
You can also choose between a whole-house water filter which is installed at the point where water comes in from the street or well to your house or a stand-alone unit that filters water coming out of a certain faucet or shower. These can sit above the counter or be mounted under the sink.
Let’s take a deeper look at the three main types of water filters to help you decide which one is right for you.
Activated Carbon Filters
As the name implies, this type of filter uses activated carbon to remove impurities from the water. A good example of this type of filter is the well-known Brita pitcher. These work best for removing chlorine, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and any sediment that may be in the water. Activated carbon filters are popular, easy to use, and economical.
Reverse osmosis (RO) filters are highly effective for removing fluoride, heavy metals, and other dissolved solids in the water. Selective or Partial RO systems are designed to selectively remove certain impurities while leaving beneficial minerals in the water. RO filters can be installed as a whole house filter, free-standing, or mounted under the sink. They will usually require professional assistance to install which can add to the overall cost.
The most well-known of all ceramic filters is the Berkey water filter. It can remove impurities from the water such as bacteria, sediment, and other impurities. Ceramic filters are stand-alone filters and can be easily installed on a kitchen or bathroom faucet.
Clean Water on the Go
If you love to hike or be outdoors, it may be impractical to bring enough filtered water with you. Fortunately, there are several options to help you keep your drinking water safe while you’re on the go, enjoying the outdoors. Here are a few options to consider:
Water Purification Tablets
This is one of the easiest ways to ensure you always have clean drinking water, free from the little bugs and critters that might want to make you sick while traveling. They are affordable and easy to take along however, be forewarned – they typically use chlorine or iodine to kill bacteria and viruses in the water. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing when you compare it to having severe intestinal illness from drinking impure water. All you have to do is drop a tablet into a container of water and wait for the recommended amount of time before drinking.
Portable Water Filters
Portable water filters are just as their name implies – highly portable. They can easily travel with you while hiking, camping, and enjoying other outdoor activities. One of the most popular and well-known brands is the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. These filters are highly effective and inexpensive making them a great option when traveling outdoors.
Clean Water is Essential for Your Health
No matter which type of filtration system you use to ensure your drinking water is as clean as possible, here are a few additional options to make your water more enjoyable and better for you:
- Re-mineralize your water at home by adding trace mineral drops or Himalayan salt
- Add fun elements to your water such as berries, cucumbers, mint, or watermelon
- Use your clean water for a cup of organic herbal tea
Ensuring the water you drink is as safe as possible should be at the top of your priority list. If needed, start with a countertop ceramic filter or Berkey water pitcher. Having clean water doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Just choose the water filter that best suits your situation and your budget and start drinking more water right away!