We have heard so much about the necessity of being hydrated. Many people are not drinking enough liquids. This is important because your kidneys work easier by having sufficient liquids to flush out the poisons. Other parts of your body also benefit by sufficient liquids, such as your circulatory system. This has resulted in a boom in bottled water, and fruit juices, but are they a good thing?
One of my refrains is that living to 100 should be cheap. Almost everywhere in the United States, the developed countries, and many places in other countries have decent water available. Instead, we buy bottled water thinking it is better. It is obvious that empty water bottles are now a major source of pollution. We forgo other beneficial drinks for the water. Finally, the water may actually be bad for you.
Water bottles are being tossed everywhere. As I walk along the Stones River Greenway, most of the pollution in the river I see are empty drink containers. When I play disc golf in the woods, it is a similar scene. When I find old metal cans, they show signs of rust or aluminum oxide. They are returning to the soil. Glass bottles are basically melted sand. It may take a long time, but they return to sand. Plastic, though, doesn’t want to decompose. It also floats and is transported much more easily to the sea. Over time, plastic is ground up into smaller particles. Fish consume the plastic and eventually so much of their stomach is filled that they starve to death, even harming our fishing industry. Similar things can happen to sea birds and sea mammals. The bottled water industry is a major contributor to the problem.
Different locations and in different times, people had different solutions to the idea of safe drinks. For a long time in Europe, water was a carrier of disease. As a result, people had two types of solutions. One was, they drank hot drinks, tea, coffee, and hot broth. They may not have known that boiling the water killed the bacteria, but they knew that those drinks (made with water hot enough to kill the bacteria) didn’t make them sick. The second solution was alcoholic beverages. The processes of making both beer and wine killed the bacteria, and beer could be made very weak and still be safe. These people could go their whole life without drinking plain water and still live long and healthy.
Thus, tea, coffee, and wine are all known to be healthy, at least in moderate amounts, but we forgo them for the supposed benefit of 8 cups of water a day. The dangers of too much alcohol are well known and need not be repeated. Tea and coffee are diuretics and can cause us to lose water. Thus, don’t make tea and coffee your only liquids, but 2-3 cups a day have strong health benefits and can count toward your 8 cups of liquid a day. The only other beverage with proven antioxidants is Rooibos. There are many herbal teas with claims of benefits, but they haven’t been proven. Without the diuretics, they also can count to your 8 cups. Don’t forgo these drinks. They count as much as water to your 8 cups a day.
Most people typically make their tea and coffee with tap water. Tap water varies dramatically of the mineral content, but it is almost always a lot higher that bottled water. As a result, low mineral content of bottled (and deionized) water can rob your body of essential minerals like calcium and magnesium in two ways. Especially if you have a diet low in these minerals, not getting them is the water causes the body to rob lower need locations like bones to supply the more important systems. Secondly, cooking food in low mineral water causes the water to leach the chemicals from the food When the cooking water is thrown out, the minerals are thrown out also. There is another danger. When the water has a low mineral content, the water will steal minerals from the pipes. If you use copper pipes, it can add copper to poisonous levels. As you can see, both bottled water and house systems that remove minerals from the water (such as deionization) can be unhealthy.
In general, using the water from the taps (with a few exceptions) is the best idea, especially when making tea and coffee. It is safe, healthy, and cheap. Once again, the health gurus will have you spending more and make life more complicated. The more expensive and harder to follow the diet is, the less likely you will follow it. As always, if you feel the need to spend the money, that is not a problem. Remember that many of the people in Blue Zones and similar places who successfully live to 100 do it without spending the money on special water, and sometimes they live to 100 because they don’t buy special water that shortens their lives.