Larissa writes: Water. “don’t drink tap water. don’t drink water from plastic bottles. use a filter. not all filters are ok., etc. etc.” are things that we hear all the time. How is water essential to our health ? What minerals are there in water ? Is A lemon carbonated Perrier only pleasurable but also a healthy nourishing nutrient ? Salt and lemon in water to rehydrate ?
Full disclosure: Larissa is one my very best friends and she very humbly allows me to think I always know what I’m talking about. The woman is smart as a whip, however, and keeps me on my toes! We’re going to have to get her to do a guest post here.
There are a lot of questions in this request for an answer. Let’s try and take them one by one.
1. How is water essential to our health?
Well, we are, on average, 60% water. Babies are like 80%. (That’s why they are so plump and delicious!) The water that we drink becomes our blood. We use water for these processes in the body:
a.) gets oxygen to our cells
b.) between our joints, there is something called synovial fluid, the efficacy and “cushiness” of our joints depends on the amount of hydration we take in
c.) our cells communicate with each other-water make this communication more effective/efficient
d.) water maintains normal electrical properties of cells (yep, I saw the Matrix, too and yep, we probably could be used as batteries and that’s why we are in pods of fluid in those movies)
e.) our lymphatic system’s function depends on two things: 1. movement-it’s a kinetic system that requires movement to flow and 2. water-our lymphatic fluid’s viscosity is directly influenced by our water intake
f.) we are better able to regulate our body temperature when we are well hydrated (when you consider the incredibly narrow range of healthy body temperature that we have and the incredibly broad range of environments in which humans live, you start to understand how crucial this is.)
g.) water removes waste from the body’s metabolic processes
There’s more, but I think you’re getting the picture. The short answer is “water is important”.
2. What minerals are in water?
This is a deceptively simple question to answer. Water, on a molecular level, is hydrogen and oxygen (dihydrogen monoxide for my geeks out there. holla!) However, the hydrogen and oxygen molecules act as a matrix (little m) for other things. The minerals in water are incredibly variable according to the water source. (My go-to guy for all anything water related is Daniel Vitalis, for those of you interested in a vastly more in-depth study of this.) What that means is that the minerals in Perrier are going to be different than the minerals in San Pellegrino. Are you still with me?
Now, once you understand that, you’ll see that water from different sources really is not the same thing. We drink water to hydrate, yes, but it is also a valuable source of nutrition. It is not just “wet”. I was lucky enough to grow up drinking water that came from a spring not far from my house. We never drank milk in my house, except on rare occasions when the farmer came by with his cow. (You’d tell him how many jars of milk you wanted-that you’d provide-and he’d milk the cow right there in your yard. True story.) Why do I mention this? Because, the water I grew up on fed through limestone rock. I can remember waiting until the end of my meal to drink my water (as is my culture) and there would be limestone sediment at the bottom of the glass, so rich in minerals was that water! Also, no fear of calcium deficiency, either.
So, the minerals in water are location dependent and source dependent.
3. Is a lemon carbonated Perrier only pleasurable but also a healthy nourishing nutrient?
Yes. It is both. For people who live in cities and source their water (actually “tap liquid”, according to Daniel Vitalis) from the tap, mineral waters are a wonderful addition to the diet. I love to have sparkling water on a regular basis. I tend to brand hop. Appolinaris is a personal favorite, but I don’t do it frequently because of the whole “I love the earth and I’m paying for jet fuel and pollution by buying this.” thing. Water is incredibly heavy!! So, bottled water is not my favorite way to destroy the earth.
4. Salt and lemon in water to rehydrate?
Yes, to both. Of course, I’m not talking about table salt, which you should probably get rid of A.S.A.P. Table salt is pretty much strictly sodium chloride and iodine. It will create an imbalance in the body on a mineral level, so please, sea salt. I vary my salt intake from different sources and every single time I go home to Haiti, I bring back a quart or so of local sea salt. True salt is also rich in minerals. Adding salt to denatured water helps remineralize it. As far as lemon and vinegar in water goes, I can remember reading that it helps with the availability of the water to the cells but can’t find the reference anymore, so take that with a grain of (sea) salt. Adding lemon and vinegar does do other things that are more frequently and commonly documented, like aiding with digestion and “stronger” blood.
5. This wasn’t asked outright but was implied at the beginning of the question. Water sources:
Worst: Plastic bottles. Absolute worst. Don’t do it. We are becoming plastic people. Literally. Water is the more powerful solvent. When you drink water from plastic, you are also drinking plastic.
Less worse but not by much: Tap water. Most of the water is flouridated (carcinogen), chlorinated (carcinogen) and completely ‘purified’-denatured and demineralized. At least you’re not drinking plastic? Well, maybe, but whatever anyone is flushing down their toilet, it’s eventually getting back to you. I’m not talking about sewage, because that’s properly taken out of the flow, but prescription medications, etc. Those chemicals are finding their way into the water source regardless.
Even less worse: Filtered tap water. This is a good solution for most people. Personally, I would filter it through a really good filter, the best that you can afford, and I would add a little vinegar and some salt to it. Maybe a half a Tablespoon of each to a gallon. (I’m spitballing here and saying what I would do.)
The good stuff: Find a spring. Spring water is where it’s at. When I was living in the cabin, I would drive an hour every two-three weeks to fill glass carboys with spring water. Since I’ve moved, I haven’t yet found an easy to get to source. My old spring is two hours away. It’s becoming more and more worth it to make the trek. I’ve been drinking the tap water here and it is not the same. At. All. It doesn’t taste right nor is it hydrating me. I just have to get a couple more carboys to make the trek less frequently, but I will probably be doing the trip this weekend. It. Is. That. Important. And. That. Different.
Thanks Larissa for a great question! I hope the information provided was useful.
*Disclaimer: Everything I say on this blog is my opinion and just provided for information purposes only. What you choose to do with that information is your responsibility.