Just Drink Some More!
You don’t have to be a nutritionist and health expert to know that sodas are bad for you. I’m not going into any detail about sugary drinks in this blog post; however, I will instead speak in more detail about different types of water.
Not everyone has access to crystal clear spring water from the mountains, which is obviously the healthiest option. Actually, I don’t know anyone personally who has. So which water is best for us?
Tap Water vs Filtered Water vs Bottled Water
I live in central London. Some people don’t mind drinking the London tap water, but purely out of taste, I cannot and do not want to drink it. Instead, I use a water filter and bottled water.
Whenever I can, I use glass bottles. Bottled water usually comes in polyethylene terephthalate containers which are generally safe. But when stored in warm temperatures, the plastic may leach chemicals into the water which may lead to potential health risks.
In addition, plastic bottles are not healthy for the planet due to the fossil fuels burned to fill and distribute them. Just follow recent news on plastic pollution and consider changing some of your consumer behaviour.
Remember not to let your water get warm, and don’t forget to recycle!
Plastic is not only bad for our planet but once a plastic bottle gets warm, many chemicals will actually seep into the water which you end up drinking.
Depending on where you live, tap water may actually be safer to drink than bottled water: Learn More
If you live in an urban area, you may want to consider water filters. Find out more about your local water supplier and based on your findings, make an educated decision on whether you would like to consume it or not. Same goes for your bottled water – find out where the supplier of your bottled water sources their water. Some brands such as Nestle actually put tap water in bottled water: Learn More
What about filtered water?
Filtering water improves the taste and smell of water, often by reducing chlorine which is added to kill harmful bacteria. Some filters can also reduce other contaminants such as lead, benzene, MTBE, chloramines and PCBs.
There are many types of water filters as well as many types of technologies. Finding the “best one” depends on the amount of space you can afford, your budget, and the specific water contaminants in your area.
These are some of the top water filters and ways to help you decide what suits your needs.
Types of Filter Technology
Reverse Osmosis: This process pushes water through a semi-permeable membrane that blocks particles larger than water molecules. Reverse osmosis can remove many contaminants not removed by activated carbon, including arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate, as well as some parasites.
Reverse osmosis does not remove chlorine nor volatile organic chemicals. However, reputable units are generally coupled with good carbon filtration to ensure removal of these contaminants.
Reverse osmosis filters are more effective at removing many kinds of contaminants, but are more expensive, require more maintenance, and require much more energy and water to function.
Activated Carbon: Activated carbon is charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open up pores between the carbon atoms, which thereby increases the surface area of the carbon allowing it to absorb and trap contaminants. When the pores become full, the filtering stops and the carbon filter needs to be replaced.
Activated carbon cannot effectively remove common pollutants such as arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrate or perchlorate. Generally, carbon filters come in two forms – carbon block and granulated activated carbon, with the former appearing to be more effective. Carbon filters remove fewer contaminants than reverse osmosis filters, but are less expensive and use less energy and water.
Types of Filters
Pitchers or Large Dispensers: These dispensers are typically fitted with an activated carbon filter that can remove contaminants and improve taste and odour. Many can reduce chlorine, lead and mercury. They’re easy to use, don’t require installation and can be stored in the refrigerator.
Faucet-mounted Filters: These filters attach directly to the end of a faucet with an on/off switch. Faucet-mounted units can be convenient for households that drink more filtered water than via a pitcher. These styles typically use an activated carbon filter that can remove contaminants and improve taste and odour. Many can reduce chlorine, lead, and mercury.
Countertop Filters: These filters typically sit on the counter, with a line connecting directly to the faucet. A diverter value allows you to switch between filtered and unfiltered water. You collect filtered water from an extra spout or faucet on the filter unit. Countertop filter models use a range of technologies, including activated carbon and reverse osmosis. Effectiveness varies widely between models, but many on-counter filters will reduce a wide array of contaminants.
Under-sink Filters: These filters are mounted underneath the kitchen sink where they are fitted into the water supply line. Some models have a separate spout or faucet for water collection. Under-sink filter models use a range of technologies, including activated carbon to reverse osmosis. Effectiveness varies widely between models, but many under-sink filters will reduce a wide array of contaminants. They are ideal for filtering both drinking and cooking water.
Different Types of Bottled Water
Mineral Water: Mineral water comes from a mineral spring that contains various minerals, including salt and sulphur compounds. An example includes Evian.
Artesian Water: Artesian water is ground water confined under pressure between layers of underground rock called a confined aquifer. Artesian water rises to the top of the aquifer when a well taps the confined aquifer. An example includes Fiji. This is a great option if you don’t live half way across the world in Fiji!
Spring Water: Spring water is derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the earth’s surface. This type of water must be collected at the spring or underground through a borehole feeding the spring. An example includes Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water.
Purified Water: Purified water is produced by distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis. An example includes Aquafina. There has been a lot of press about Aquafina being filtered tap water: Lean More
Carbonated / Sparkling Water
If you find it difficult to stop drinking sugary sodas, bubbly and sugar-free waters are a great way to get off your sweet stuff.
Some claim that carbonated water will make you put on weight. However, plain carbonated water won't do this, but it's important to note that not all carbonated water is created equal. Do not choose any waters with added flavours since these can contain extra sodium and/or sugar. Always read the label!
I personally love sparkling water and find it more refreshing compared to still water. In summer, my favourite drink is juicing one green apple and a piece of ginger topped off with sparkling water. Delicious!
How to Drink Water When You Don’t Like the Taste of Water:
- Be creative and add slices of lemon, lime, any type of berries, cucumber, orange or herbs such as basil
- Drink your favourite flavour herbal tea, iced or hot
- Use a fancy drinking glass or goblet!
- Heat water and drink with lemon
I hope this post has given you enough inspiration to increase your water intake. Leave a comment below if you have additional tips!