What you need to know about water

Nothing is as critical to life as water, and when scientists look for signs of life on a distant planet they look for water first. Our own bodies contain more water than any other substance, and the aging process has been described as one of gradual dehydration. The message is clear: drink water if you want to stay young!

Water is also known as the universal solvent, because it ionizes spontaneously generating weak electrical charges that dissolve almost everything. This is key to understanding why water is so critical for detoxification and health, and why it can easily become contaminated.

Much of the water that comes out of our taps today is surface water that has been exposed to endless contaminants and filtered by municipal systems that are rudimentary at best.

Even the purest underground water can become contaminated as pesticides and other chemicals slowly seep into the soil.

At-home water filtration can be problematic because many of the most sophisticated filtration systems on the market produce acidic water. To see this for yourself, buy an inexpensive water pH testing device called ‘Tetra Test pH’ that can be easily found and ordered on the Internet. Distilled and reverse osmosis (RO) water have a pH of about 5.2 (highly acidic, given that 7 is neutral). Water becomes acidic as it loses minerals through the purification process and absorbs carbon dioxide from ambient air. This is true, despite the fact that people have been taught in Chemistry 101 that distilled water has a perfectly neutral pH of 7.0!

Acid water is aggressive and readily dissolves a multitude of toxic chemicals from plastic containers, as well as metals from cooking utensils. This is why distilled water always tastes terrible, and RO water is about the same. Many types of purified water sold in health food stores, sometimes with claims of great health benefits, violate the most basic rule for clean water: they’re acidic and packaged in plastic. Avoid them!

Water testing can be expensive and is basically futile, since no known test can cover the full range of possible contaminants. However, a company called AquaMD (www.aquamd.com) provides a great deal of useful information. They have developed a huge database showing the specific problems with water from different parts of the country and they recommend targeted solutions. This can be important information for you and your family, even if you don’t drink the water from your tap.

When selecting a type of water to drink, look first for one that is slightly alkaline (with a pH of around 7.2) and is available in glass bottles or jugs. Next look for one with frequent and rigorous testing programs. Beyond this, there are types of oxygenated or ionized water that might provide additional health benefits, but reliable data on these is scant. If you feel inclined to research this you might begin by reading about ionized water at www.hightechhealth.com. If you find something of interest let me know.

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