Thirsty Thursday: Alkaline Water
It may not surprise you that all water is not created equal.
Despite all the recent media about the dirty water in Flint, MI or the lack of clean drinking water around the world, contaminants and fluoride are not the only things we have to worry about in our drinking water.
While there are many downsides to bottled water, what I want to focus on today is the pH balance of water and how that differing level can affects our bodies.
When we are born, our bodies are alkaline. As we start exposing ourselves to different elements and ingesting different foods, we waver between acidic and alkaline depending on the pH level of those foods & elements.
You may remember learning about the pH scale in high school science: acids are below 7.0 pH, bases/alkalines are above 7.0 pH, while water & blood stand at a "neutral" 7.0 pH. Needless to say, these "acids" are not good for our systems because they can lower our immune systems and have an overall negative effect on our bodies. On the other hand, alkalines are good for our bodies because they keep our bodies in an alkaline state, which keep everything from the common cold to cancerous cells at bay.
While our food can also affect our internal pH level, the water and other beverages we drink on a daily basis will also affect our internal pH balance.
You can test your water and your internal pH level with pH testing strips, and there are several ways to maintain this internal alkaline pH. Think of your pH level as a balancing act: too much acid will keep you acidic, but anything alkaline will help to neutralize those acids and bring your body into an alkaline state.
First and foremost: identify any acidic foods or beverages that you're consuming on a daily basis and limit them to reduce the amount of acidity present in your system. Acidic foods include any meats, cheeses, or processed foods while acidic beverages include everything from sodas, coffees, and teas to alcoholic beverages.
Next, make sure you're getting enough alkaline foods and beverages in your system. Fruits and vegetables have a high pH, so you can never get too many of these.
Next consider where your water is coming from and test it to be sure you're getting the best possible water. You will find that most generic water bottles will not even reach that 7.0 pH that is standard for water. This means that instead of getting the nourishing water that your body needs on a daily basis, you are actually harming your body with "acidic water" which is on par with drinking coffee or soda all day long.
Personally, I have an Alkaline Water Machine that attaches to my water tap and filters the water into several different levels of pH. These can be expensive upfront, but overall they are cheaper than going to Whole Foods and filling up at their Alkaline Water dispenser or stocking up on the "alkaline water bottles" out there today. However, when I am traveling, I make it a point to purchase one of these brands with a higher pH because that is what my body is acclimated to.
Many times you will see these higher pH water bottles display their pH on the side of the bottle, so if you can find them take advantage of that. If you're in a restaurant or you're just not sure what pH your water is, you can add a 1/2 tsp of baking soda or even a lemon wedge to help your body digest the water as an Alkaline substance regardless of the starting pH.
So will you die from drinking these low pH waters? No. Well, not right away; but doesn't it make sense to provide our bodies with nourishment over providing constant harm? Drinking water over other beverages is beneficial to your health in many ways, so if you are least drinking the minimum amount of water on a daily basis your body will thank you.