What is the Best Type of Water & How Much Should You Drink Each Day?
If you haven’t already heard, you should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. And, if you work out during the day, add 10-20 ounces on top of that! That’s a good amount of water, and it takes intention and planning to make it happen - not to mention lots of trips to the bathroom!
I know that seems like a lot to drink but let me tell you why you should make the effort. Water is super important to every system in our body. In fact, when hydrated, our bodies are 60% water! Among other things, this water helps with the transmission of hormones and neurotransmitters throughout our body. Without these things circulating around, there would be little communication between the cells, tissues and organs, and when that communication goes awry, things start to feel off pretty quickly. In the brain, water is essential for making sure the hypothalamus runs smoothly. The hypothalamus is basically the balancer in our brains - it regulates things like hunger, body temperature, thirst, emotions, and sleep. If you have ever been dehydrated, you know what happens when the hypothalamus gets out of whack - it is not fun!
Because hydration is so important, as a Health Coach I make it a priority to assess every client’s water intake and to create plans to increase the amount they drink if they are not getting enough.And, part of this discussion, inevitably focuses on all of the different types of water and if one type is better than another.
What is the Best Type of Water to Drink?
My answer, not untypically, is that it depends on the* goal. The overarching goal is to drink enough water to stay hydrated. Whether that is tap water or alkaline water does not make a huge difference in and of itself, but if you are motivated to drink more of one than the other, then it definitely matters. I’ll give you a rundown of the top ten different kinds of water and you decide what works best for you!
- Tap water. For the most part, tap water in the US is generally safe. However, to be sure you are not getting plastics and pesticides in the water you are drinking, you should definitely get a filter for your home. In a recent 5-year study by EWG, over 500 contaminants were found in tap water tested across the 50 states. Knowing that, I would definitely recommend a good filter!
- Purified water. This is tap water that has been treated to make sure it is free of bacteria, fungi and parasites. The purification process also takes out any nutrients that would naturally be in the water.
- Distilled water. This water is collected from the steam created when water is boiled. It is super clean and free of contaminants. However, it is also free of important minerals that can be found in other types of water.
- Mineral water. As the name implies, this water is filled with minerals. It comes from mineral springs so it has magnesium, sulfate and calcium - all good things for your body!
- Spring water. This comes from natural springs, has natural minerals (potassium, calcium and sodium), and is free of toxins.
- Well water. While this water is typically cold and refreshing, it can also be contaminated because it’s coming straight from the ground. I would get it tested before I took a sip…just to be safe!
- Alkaline water. This one is interesting and there is some mixed data on the benefits. Alkaline water is water that has a higher pH level than regular water (8-9pH vs 7pH). To create this water, alkaline minerals are added to the water, which, some claim, act as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are important because they protect our bodies from free radicals which have been linked to inflammation, aging, and lowered immunity. Some say alkaline water also acts as a colon cleanser. While there are no negative side effects to drinking alkaline water, some caution that drinking too much can lead to a lowered pH level in the body, which can lead to weakened bones and immune system.
- Hydrogen water. This a water that has been infused with hydrogen molecules. The hype about this is that is might act as an antioxidant. Studies show that it has a mild anti-inflammatory effect and can help muscle function in athletes. While there are no known dangers from drinking hydrogen water, the effects of prolonged use of hydrogen water has not yet been studied.
- Sparkling water. This is water that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas. While there are no added health benefits from the bubbles, sparkling water always feel a little fancy to me so it’s what I order when I go out to eat! Add a lemon or lime, and things can really get crazy! And, this leads to the tenth type of water…
- Flavored water. This is water that is either artificially flavored or infused with fruits and/or vegetables. As a rule, I try to stay away from artificial flavors and colors, so prefer when the water is infused with real berries, citrus fruit, or cucumbers. This not only adds a hint of flavor, but also might add a small amount of nutrients (especially if the juice is squeezed into the water).
How Much Water Should You Drink?
Given all of these options, with the ultimate goal of ingesting at least half of your body weight in ounces, it is up to you to decide what type of water, or what combination of different types, works best for you.
Regardless of what type of water you choose, starting your day with a large glass of water is hugely beneficial!. Drinking at least 12 ounces of water first thing in the morning does some amazing things. When we sleep, our bodies are working hard to repair damaged cells and form new cells. This leads to a lot of cellular waste that needs to get flushed out of our bodies and drinking water as soon as we get up in the morning is a great way to jump start that process. Additionally, drinking water before we eat anything ensures that the water is quickly absorbed into our system and works to clear out our colons, hydrate our skin and energize our muscles and brain - because, remember, our cells need oxygen and water is the thing that carries oxygen to our cells. So, wake up, drink up, and energize those cells!
I hope this helped clarify some things on the importance of drinking water and the question of which type of water is best! If you have any questions or want to talk some more, check out my website at www.franparadinelcsw.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.