By Mary Brighton, M.S., RDN
Welcome to Part 2 of Tell Me What You Eat and I Will Tell You Who You Are. This blog is not about the food we consume, but about the most essential nutrient vital for health and life - our beloved H2O - water. In the last decade, the water we drink for our main beverage has changed from tap water to water from a packaged bottle. An average American consumes 300 bottles of water a year! The bottled water industry is a multi-billion dollar drink market. The good news is that high-sugar soft drink consumption has decreased as bottled water sales have increased, and we know it’s always a good healthy habit to drink water in place of sugar rich drinks.
Now I ask you: do you know where the water you drink comes from? Let me give you an example of what I mean. Last year I taught a nutrition class at a community college. My students were busy young adults who propped their water bottles on their desks during the lectures. During our lecture on nutrition and water I walked around the classroom and stopped by each student’s desk. I picked up the branded water bottle they owned, held it up and asked that student where the water they drank came from.
Their typical answer: “I don’t know.” But they were curious. Where does Spring, P.W.S, Mineral or Purified water come from and is one water type better than the others? Even if my students didn’t know where their water came from, they did consume a lot of it. And this is a good thing. We need about half our body weight in pounds converted to ounces in water daily to function well. As an example: A 160 pound man would need 80 ounces or 10 cups (1 cup equals 8 ounces) of water daily.
What is the best water for health? That is a harder question to answer because the source is important. A clean water source that has been filtered is my go-to water. Tap water is low-cost and is monitored by the local authorities where you live. If you drink tap water, you can add a water filter on your pipes or use a Brita-type water pitcher that filters your water for contaminants.
If you drink bottled water, here are the main different terms and what they mean:
Artesian is water obtained from a well that hits a confined aquifer which is an underground layer of rock or sand that contains water.
Mineral is groundwater that contains minerals and trace elements from the source and has dissolved solids of at least 250 parts per million.
Public Water Source P.W.S. is tap water.
Purified is water treated from any source, including tap water, to remove chemicals and pathogens.
Spring is water from an underground formation and comes naturally to the earth’s surface
Keep in mind that if you are concerned with your water source, check with the town or company where you drink your water from. Bottled water from a ‘natural source’ like spring water may not fully come 100% from that source, some water bottle companies mix their water sources from what it states on the bottle with purified water.
Finally, water first is a good health mantra. You are what you eat, you are what you drink; good nutrition and clean water helps to keep the body functioning at its best.
If you missed part 1, you can read it by clicking here: “Tell Me What You Eat and I Will Tell You Who You Are.”