With the flood of filters and bottled water on the market today, understanding the options is the key to making the best choice
By Cathi Stack, ND
The options for water are endless – from tap and bottled to at-home filters and ionizers, but which options are the best when it comes to our health?
Having been inundated with many questions about which water to choose, I know it can be confusing. Most people agree tap water is not the best choice, but may not understand why. Typically there are two sources of tap water — ground water and surface water.
Ground water is usually pumped from wells and has been naturally filtered as it travels through the ground. The quality will vary based on where you live. Surface water is replenished by lakes, rivers and reservoirs, and while the quality of surface water varies from region to region, it is typically treated by filtration, flocculation (binding of harmful particles so they settle out) and disinfection (usually done with chlorine).
Other alternatives when it comes to water treatment are ozonation and ultraviolet radiation. Ozonation does not change the mineral content of water, but fear of contamination from chemical exposure is the issue. Also, this does not include the risk of contamination from old pipes.
For these reasons, tap water is not the best choice when it comes to drinking water. Below are the various alternative options available, and the pros and cons of each, so one can make the best choice for his or her individual situation.
Touted to be the best, the jury is still out when it comes to the health benefits of bottled water. There is more variety to bottled water than you may think, including spring, mineral, well, artesian, sparkling and purified, and more information can be found at the International Bottled Water Association website at www.bottledwater.org.
The quality of the actual water is not usually the issue. The risk comes in the packaging. Soft and flimsy plastic bottles are very low in quality when it comes to your health because the plastic leaches into the water, causing increased risk for certain cancers. Freezing and thawing the bottles makes the problem even worse. One way to avoid this is to buy your water in glass bottles, but if you are purchasing bottled water in plastic, make sure to use sturdy plastic that does not squeeze easily under your grip. If it’s BPA-free, it’s even better.
For those interested in the best choices when it comes to healthier bottled water, the winners in my opinion are: pH Miracle Water, Eternal, Voss, Trinity, Essentia and Evamore. These superior choices are cleaner plastics or preferably glass. Also, drinking alkalized water is the best when it comes to your health. Look for a pH of about 9. Illness, degenerative disease, inflammation and even cancer do not like an alkaline environment.
Pitcher filters, while inexpensive, have only been proven to be slightly better than tap water. The better options are countertop and under the sink systems, which typically use carbon block or granular filtering methods. Dual Stage filters are a great choice as they remove harmful chemicals, as well as parasites, and the preservation of mineral content is typically maintained.
This will potentiate the health benefits of your water by altering the pH to about 9 or 10. The benefits of drinking alkalized water are no secret.
These machines reverse the charge of water from positive to negative, which is more alkaline. Most appliances allow you to adjust the pH of the water, and I believe this would be the best choice for the health conscious consumer. Some of the more reputable brands include Young pHorever and Jupiter Orion. These units typically run from $800-$1,500, and are usually countertop models, but they can be mounted under the sink.
OTHERS TO AVOID
Distilled water is not recommended as it is void of any minerals. Reverse osmosis tends to be very acidic rather than alkaline, which is what we want. Also, deionized water does not remove bacteria.
These are the basics, but I encourage everyone to do their own research and make the best choice for their individual lifestyle.
Catherine (Cathi) Stack is owner, facilitator and Doctor of Naturopathy at Journey II Health LLC, established in 2007 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Along with her naturopathic practice at Journey II Health, Stack continues to work at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital as a Certified Nurse Midwife. She loves sharing her knowledge with her patients, co-workers, friends and readers. She currently writes for a variety of publications, which include her Sunday column in the Niagara Gazette. She can be reached via her Web site, www.journeyiihealth.com.