Drinking plenty of water is one of the absolute most important things you can do for your health. You should get in half your body weight in ounces of water daily. But what kind of water is best?

Tap Water

We’ve all heard how contaminated our tap water is. If you’re curious to know what’s in the water supply near you, go here and type in your zip code. In my area, the contaminants that exceed health guidelines include arsenic, lead, radioactive alpha particles, and four disinfectant byproducts formed as a result of chlorine or other disinfectants. Quite a few other contaminants were detected below the health limit levels.

So, not the best option. But better than being dehydrated.

Bottled Water

Although bottled water seems to be cleaner than tap water, according to the NRDC, some 25% of bottled water also contains too-high levels in at least one contaminant.

But more importantly than that, most single-use bottled water is sold in flimsy plastic bottles, a common source of phthalates. Phthalates are not only estrogenic, they have been found to increase programmed cell death (particularly in testicular cells). Overall, phthalates are linked to breast cancer, birth defects, low sperm count, obesity, diabetes, and thyroid problems.

The stiffer the plastic, however, the less of an issue phthalates become. And 25% is quite a bit better than 100%… so it does seem that delivery-based water services are a much better option than tap water.

Filtered Water

You can buy pitchers, bottles, or faucet attachments to filter your tap water. These will remove chlorine (and therefore chlorine byproducts), and positively charged ions such as copper, cadmium, mercury, and lead.

Seems to me this is an easy and cheap solution.

Reverse Osmosis Water

The main concern I have with reverse osmosis water is that it removes necessary minerals like electrolytes, which we most definitely need. It’s not concerning to me unless this is all you drink. Then you might end up with some imbalances.

Kangen Water

This very expensive filtration system ionizes water, rendering your drinking water alkaline to the tune of 8.5-9.5 pH. The idea is that it will help your body to become more alkaline.

On the whole acid/alkaline debate, I wrote here about foods that produce acidic byproducts and tax the body’s buffering system, and here about how an overtaxed buffering system can lead to problems like kidney stones and osteoporosis. But water, with a pH right around 7 (like most of the fluids in your body), should not activate the buffering systems at all and therefore should not cause a problem. So as far as I can tell, Kangen water systems are unnecessary.

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