Around 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water and every single living organism on this planet relies on it’s presence in order to survive. Without it, life would be impossible. However, with so many different ‘types’ of water available to us, how can it all be referred to by the same name?
Lesley Una Pierce is a Director of The Nutritional Healing Foundation and her latest book ‘The Life-Saver’s Guide to Water – The Elixir of Life’ looks into the overall importance of this essential substance. Having previously provided us with blogs titled ‘Stress and Dehydration’, ‘Why is Water Important?’ and ‘Water – The Elixir of Life’, this week’s article looks at the many different types of water and how the quality of our drinking water can instigate and influence our health more than any other substance.
“What TYPE of water should I drink?” is possibly going to be your first question, followed closely by, “I hope that tap water is alright to drink, seeing as it is free of charge and easily available”.
In the developed areas of the world we really do have plenty of choice as to the type of water we can drink, yet how can it all be called water when it is all very different?
I’m being serious when I say that I really do think that we need some different words in our vocabulary to describe water, because the substance that comes out of our taps each day (sometimes smelling vaguely of bleach) is nothing like the substance that we find up in the mountains, flowing over the rocks. Equally, this is nothing like the water we find in a stagnant puddle yet we call it the same – water!
It isn’t a straightforward choice when it comes to deciding which type of water to drink, as there are many kinds available to us. Some options we have are:
- Tap water straight from the tap
- Tap water that has been left to stand in a jug for several hours
- Boiled tap water left to go cold
- Bottled waters – Mineral, Spring, Still, Sparkling, Flavoured, in Glass or Plastic bottles
- A whole minefield of Filters
- Mechanisms to produce a vortex
- Distilled water
- Rain water
- Water treated with Ozone and Ultra Violet
This is certainly not the ideal choice, but let me make it perfectly clear that we are better off drinking tap water than not drinking water at all. Please do not wait until you have researched or accessed the ‘best’ water for you to drink before you start drinking some. Begin now!
You may remember learning in school about the process whereby water evaporates, then passes as clouds over the land and falls as rain. This has the natural light from the sun beaming down on it, imprinting it with far infra-red energy. As the rain falls on the earth, it flows both over and through it, filtering through the layers of the land, which naturally cleanses it with the magnetic energy of the earth.
People in years gone by were lucky enough to have this beautiful, real, natural water. Unfortunately, today our air is not quite as pure as it used to be. Consequently, the rain passes through air polluted with a variety of things including sulphuric acid hence the term ‘acid rain.’
The Problem with Tap Water
Before it comes through our taps, much of our water is filtered in a man made way and has chemicals put into it, like chlorine, to kill the bacteria. Clearly, for those of us who live in the more developed areas of the world, our tap water is substantially better than 100 years ago when people died from drinking water that was contaminated with all sorts of pollutants. However, if the chlorine is killing off the bacteria in the water, what might it be doing to the helpful bacteria in our digestive systems?
It is extremely clear that if we wish to drastically improve and maintain our health, then we need to cultivate the correct kind of bacteria in all areas of our gut. Something to consider. It’s interesting to note that our lovely, friendly bowel flora can manufacture two thirds of our B Vitamins for us, Vitamin K and lots of other lovely stuff. Our bowel flora are our very best friends.
The other problem with chlorine is that it is highly volatile and easily joins with pollutants in the water to produce substances called tri-halo-methanes. These are to be avoided. We can take this further to question what happens when tap water is heated and used in our showers and baths. The toxins evaporate, become airborne and are breathed in. Our bath and shower rooms essentially become gas chambers. There are also other routes into our bodies such as the absorption through our skin whilst we carry out our ablutions. It is said that we can potentially breathe in as many pollutants during a short hot shower as we would get from drinking around four litres of polluted water!
It therefore makes complete sense to not only choose better quality water to drink, but also to bathe and shower in, which can be reasonably easily done by acquiring a filter for the shower head, or even obtaining a whole house filter – more on this later. When we filter our bathroom water, this also substantially reduces mildew and moulds.
Even worse is fluoridated water. ‘But I thought it was good for our teeth’ I hear you say. Well, research carried out in the 1930s told us that fluoride in drinking water reduced the number of cavities in teeth by making the tooth enamel stronger. Fluoride however, is a waste product of the aluminium industry and, like chlorine, is a poison which we do not want to be drinking in water unless there is no suitable alternative!
We clearly need to do our absolute best to campaign for industry to stop corrupting the waters of our world if we get the opportunity. We can improve tap water by leaving it out overnight to allow some of the chlorine to evaporate away. We can boil it, then let it go cool, however the heating process does alter the structure of the water, rendering it unnatural. Putting a clear quartz crystal in the water jug will help to energize and restructure the water, as will standing the jug on a magnetic mat.
Have you ever noticed that your dog (if you have one!) prefers to drink from puddles after a downpour, rather than your tap water at home? Of course, it has no chlorine in it. Rain can be saved after falling onto the roof by flowing through pipes to a storage tank. Any debris can be filtered out and small particles can be allowed to sink to the bottom. Any remaining floating debris can escape via an overflow pipe, and clean water extracted from just below the surface. It can be used for watering the garden, (good for plants because of the lack of chlorine), for flushing the toilet, for bathing and showering, and can be sterilised by an ultra violet unit before drinking.
Distilled water is made by boiling the water and then condensing the steam. This gets rid of most impurities including fluoride, so it is easy to understand why it became a bit of a health fad back in the 1970s. It is so pure that it doesn’t even have the dissolved minerals in it, so it has a very special ability to absorb toxic substances from our bodies and eliminate them. Because of this, Distilled water may be very good to use temporarily as part of a detoxification plan, but it is not recommended to be consumed regularly and especially not as our sole source of water. In fact, it is said that drinking it all the time is highly detrimental. It is precisely because of its emptiness that it also has the potential to leach nutrients from our bodies too. When Distilled water comes into contact with air, it absorbs carbon dioxide, which makes it acidic. As we see later, when thinking about filters, we do not want to be drinking acidic water.
This is a more contentious area that attracts a range of opinions, so let’s see how we can understand it better. In short, spring water comes from underground springs deep in the earth. Mineral water is spring water which has high amounts of minerals in it, due to the minerals in the land that it has passed over or through.
Sometimes the spring or mineral waters are naturally carbonated, but even so, still water is preferable due to the carbon dioxide in fizzy waters, as consuming large amounts can unbalance the gases in our blood. We certainly do not want to be drinking water that has been purposefully carbonated, other than on rare occasions.
Some (usually cheaper) bottled waters are simply municipal water that has been filtered and/or treated with ozone. If we are going to need to drink bottled water for a lengthy period of time for whatever reason, may I suggest that we choose a variety of different bottled waters, as all will have differing proportions of minerals.
We can buy bottled water in plastic or glass bottles, still or sparkling, plain or flavoured. May I suggest that we get rid of sparkling and flavoured water straight away – the sparkling because of the carbon dioxide and the flavoured because as soon as we put anything into the water, our bodies will treat it differently, needing to digest whatever is in the water rather than just soaking it up and using it immediately.
So, the debate between plastic and glass. We are probably all going to buy water in a plastic bottle from time to time, but let’s try not to use water from plastic bottles as our main source. We really, truly need to find a way to stop using so much plastics.
Firstly, because there’s the risk of some of the chemicals leaching from the plastics into the water, especially if the plastic is quite flimsy and has been kept in warm conditions. There are chemicals that can leach out of plastic and interfere with our hormones as substances similar to oestrogens (hormones) leach from plastic under certain conditions. It doesn’t really make sense to drink water from a plastic bottle that is polluting the water, if the reason for drinking it in the first place was to get away from the toxins in tap water.
The sturdier the plastic, the better. To look at it the other way, the flimsier the plastic the more leaching of chemicals can happen. Also, we can’t get away from the environmental issue with plastics. There’s the problem of all the oil and energy that is needed to make the plastic bottles in the first place, then the massive problem of getting rid of them! It seriously is a predicament and we radically need to reduce our use of plastic bottles. We are now finding plastic deposited over millions of square miles of the ocean floor. How dreadful is that to the inhabitants of the seas and then consequently, to us?
Glass bottles are so much better! However, I appreciate that they are not always practical or financially viable for many of us to use as our sole source of water. Glass bottles cost around double the amount of plastic and are both heavy and breakable. The water however, is considerably better to drink.
Also, as we mentioned previously, in nature, water flows – it doesn’t stand still. I wonder how long some of the water has been standing still whilst contained in the bottles, whether plastic or glass. Would you want to drink some tap or filtered water that you had poured out days, if not weeks or months before?
I think I’d be correct in saying that many people who use bottled water only tend to use it for drinking, and still continue putting tap water in their kettle and using tap after for cooking and washing their salad veggies. Ideally, we want to get away from tap water altogether and I heartily encourage us all to consider other options rather than bottled waters if it is possible for us to do so.
There are bottles which have a replaceable filter within them. These are a wonderful idea. They are portable and mean that we can refill them from the tap wherever we are, providing the tap water is safe to drink. I have never needed to buy any bottled water since getting mine.
Spring Water Straight From Source
Have a look at www.findaspring.com to find out if you are fortunate enough to have a natural spring nearby. You can search for springs anywhere in the world on this website and it is open to constantly hearing about new springs to put on their site, so please get in touch if you know of any near you! How wonderful to be able to go and fill up your containers (hopefully not plastic!) from water that has been naturally filtered and energised by ‘Mother Earth’ and bubbles out from an underground spring. Free of charge too!
What about filters? I would love to be able to straightforwardly tell you which is the ‘best’ filter to have, but unfortunately it isn’t as simple as that. With all sorts of shapes and sizes, price ranges and types available, I am simply going to give you a few basic guidelines so that you can research this area for yourself. Depending on your finances, you may want a jug type, the type that is attached to your tap or even a whole house system. It will also depend on what is available in your part of the world.
Most filters use carbon ash to filter out the impurities in water – commonly known as charcoal. Charcoal is pretty much unsurpassed in its ability to absorb various pollutants, but in so doing it can also strip the water of its natural minerals leaving the resulting water with a pH level lower than neutral, i.e. acidic. Some filters will address this and naturally re-mineralise the water before it emerges into the jug or out of the tap, but some of the more simple filters leave the water acidic. All simple charcoal filters need to be replaced regularly because they can become a fantastic breeding ground for bacteria.
Reverse Osmosis units are extremely good at removing pollutants. I’d say they are probably the best at filtering out impurities but it is worth checking the resulting pH of the water before you invest because of the possible removal of minerals too. The removal of minerals can leave the water acidic.
Reverse Osmosis does not need electricity but it does waste water, using approximately 24 litres of water for every four litres of water that is ‘cleaned’. We can also find ionisers that separate water into alkaline water for drinking and acidic water for using to wash hair and skin.
Clearly, the world of filters is a complex one. The motivation behind some water filter manufacturers will be purely commercial, in that they simply want to make money whilst others have the health of their customers at heart. In summary, I’d say one of the main issues to be clear on before investing in your filter, is the pH of the Water after filtering.
As I mentioned above, some filters are very good at removing the ‘rubbish’ from the water, but in doing this, they also strip the Water of its natural minerals, which can leave the water acidic, and we do not want to be drinking acidic water! It may be wise to question extremely alkaline water too, if using it as ones sole source of water. As with Distilled water, maybe good to use as part of a treatment programme, but not really natural to drink it all the time.
‘Mother nature’ always knows best and if we were living a truly natural life then our water would vary in its pH depending on the land it filtered through, but likely to be neither extremely acidic nor extremely alkaline.
We need to have a little chat about ‘structured Water’ too. Without getting too technical, it is all about the arrangement of the H2O molecules and the angle of the bond between the hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
Let me simply say that the more structured water we have in our bodies, then the healthier we are going to be. The more structured the water, the more energy it holds. Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of structured water too! If I tell you that water can be structured by sunlight and by magnets, I wonder what you would immediately think? Well, it makes me quite emotional to once again realise that nature knows best and we will never ever improve on the amazing intelligence of ‘mother nature’!
In my opinion, the quality of the water we drink has the greatest effect on our health than any other substance we will ever put in our bodies. Surely, therefore, it makes sense to source the highest quality water that is possible for us to drink; to make it one of our top priorities and then to drink enough of it!
‘Anyone who thinks that sunshine is pure happiness, has never danced in the rain.’
‘The Life-Saver’s Guide to Water – The Elixir of Life’ is the first book of the forthcoming series by Lesley Una Pierce and available from www.lesleyunapierce.com with 50p from every book sale going to WaterAid. Lesley Una Pierce is an author, Naturopath and partner of The Nutritional Healing Foundation.
With many thanks to Lesley for this article on a health topic that is essential yet frequently overlooked. If you have any questions regarding this article, any of the health topics raised, or any other health matters please do contact me (Amanda) by phone or email at any time.
Amanda Williams, Cytoplan Ltd
[email protected], 01684 310099