You really can't go anywhere without seeing someone carrying water. There so many types of bottled water, but should you just grab any bottle off the shelf and go? You should be very careful what you buy because there are huge differences between the types and you may end up in a chronic state of dehydration should you choose the wrong one.
There are various types, such as purified, spring, mineral, artesian, sparkling. You'd be surprised to know how many of these are water from the tap that's been bottled and packaged. So let's break down each water source along with the concerns and possible benefits.
Reverse Osmosis: (also called purified) RO is the most prominent form of filtration, and accomplished by forcing the water through a membrane at high pressures. This process filters out most large particles, including bacteria and parasites. It can also get rid of some of the chlorine and chloramines but leaves most minerals in the water. What I've found in my practice is this water passes through your body rather quickly because it's not usable. When I tell patients that I feel they are dehydrated, they will say “But I drink almost a gallon of water a day.” My next question is always, “How much do you pee during the day?” And it's usually followed with: “I am constantly going to the restroom.” If this is your case, it's usually a sign that you aren’t keeping and using the water you drink. My theory is that because of the high pressure, the bonds between the water get “bent” and your body cannot utilize it properly, so you end up peeing it all out. Should you drink it, there are a few things that can help. First, you can freeze it and let it thaw. Or there are a few mineral and salt supplements that can help fix the water, but you're honestly better off just skipping this water type, altogether.
Distilled Water: Distilling water is one of the oldest water purification methods, and is done by boiling water and collecting the steam. This kills all the germs and removes all solids (including, fluorine, chlorine, chloramines). The major drawback is that it also removes the good minerals. This can lead to mineral deficiencies such as calcium, zinc, and magnesium. It may lead to brittle bones, and increased muscular cramping. A fix for distilled is to add a small amount of sea salt to the mixture, which will re-mineral the water. 2-3 pinches per gallon should do the trick.
Spring Water: Just like the name says, spring water comes out of a deep well or from a natural spring in the ground. This is one of the better options, as long as the process is run in a clean and safe environment around the spring. The earth usually acts as a filter, so this water should be clean. Unfortunately, there's a possibility of contamination with bacteria and parasites, and the manufacturers will use ozone or UV radiation to kill off any of these bugs. You'll want to check to see if the water was bottled at source, and that the source is across the state line from where you live (all of this is on the label). There are many more regulations about interstate transport, so it's a good way to make sure it's not just tapwater with a fancy label.
Artesian: This water comes from a well that taps a confined aquifer - a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand in which the water level is above the top of the aquifer. These can be excellent water sources, but honestly, many are way overpriced.
Mineral Water: Mineral water has to contain more than 250 parts per million total dissolved solids, and is defined by its constant level and relative proportions of mineral and trace elements at the point of emergence from the source. No minerals can be added to the water. This is usually the better choice of waters in my opinion. They are generally protected from outside contaminants and are generally a safe source of minerals.
Sparkling Water: This type of water may contain carbon dioxide naturally, or it may be flat water with it added. Sparkling bottled waters may be labeled as sparkling drinking water, sparkling mineral water, sparkling spring water, etc. Through muscle testing and acupuncture correlations, I've found that mineral water or sparkling water is great for hydration because these waters are usually from very protected high mineral content sources. The best I have found is
The best I have found is Mountain Valley Spring, San Pellegrino/Panna, or Gerolsteiner, and I always buy the products in glass bottles. Another option is SmartWater, which has its drawbacks but is overall good.
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