For those of you new to my blog, welcome. I am not an expert, rather a self-taught individual with a passion for health. Juggling the responsibilities of family and work has given me insight into certain things or tips to stay healthy. Everyday at work I see lives saved and hurting people helped (I work in a hospital).
But I am an observer, as I am one of the suit and tie guys. Yes, I am in management and as such get to spend a lot of time behind a desk staring at a computer screen. However, I see daily how our choices impact health and vitality.
These daily interactions give me a unique perspective in the meaning of health and mobility. This past weekend, I was trying to decide what my next post should be…so I thought why not do a 10 part series of nutrition tips that have helped me live a healthier life. My top 10 health tips, if you will!
The first one I am going to post on is DRINK MORE WATER!! Consider this a low hanging fruit to a healthier life. Why is this a low hanging fruit you may wonder, because it is FREE (well almost, but I will share how I get quality water at a bargain price). Your body consists of 55% to 78% water which means that the intake of water is essential for your body to function. Clean and pure water make up the cornerstone of good health!
How much water do we need?
It seems like human nature to need a specific number. A number gives us a target. The mainstream recommended number is 8 to 10, 8-ounce glasses of pure water everyday. If you already do that everyday than I am tipping my hat to you, good job! Eight glasses of water per day will provide you a healthy base. I personally am a member of the one gallon per day club (1GPD). I aim to drink 1GPD and the majority of the time I get there. For those of you that don’t like being tied to a specific number than a good rule of thumb is:
You should be drinking enough water to turn your urine a light-colored yellow.
What happens if you don’t drink water?
The main concern of not drinking water is dehydration. As a society I think we are mildly dehydrated. So here is what to look for regarding dehydration. The major symptoms are thirst, dry skin, dark colored urine and fatigue but take a look at some stealth symptoms of chronic dehydration that are often overlooked.
- Digestive disturbances such as heartburn and constipation
- Urinary tract infections
- Autoimmune disease such
- Premature aging
- High cholesterol
- Weight gain
Are you on board to drink more water?
At this point you should be thinking that drinking water is a vital part of obtaining optimal health. This cornerstone is a missing component in most diets. You now have a target to aim for each day. The next question you should be thinking about is whether you are drinking water that is pure and free from chemicals and additives. We are a generally trusting society and think that tap water or even bottled spring water is pure…think again.
It is absolutely necessary to get enough water each day, but let’s do a little more exploring before you start guzzling.
Are You Drinking Pure Water or Contaminated Water?
In today’s society we have lost the concept of what pure water is. Each community may or may not be pure. Some communities may be more or less polluted than others.
But chances are unless you’re drinking from a natural, unpolluted spring, the water from your kitchen sink is no longer pure. With the common addition of fluoride and chlorine to water (both controversial practices) as well as chemical pollutants now found in most public water supplies, the water we once coveted has become bad tasting and in many cases not so great for your health.
In an Associated Press investigation into drinking water it was found that a surprisingly long list of pharmaceuticals can be found in 41 million Americans drinking water or tap water. The investigation focused on 24 major cities across the nations and the results were much the same nationwide.
The AP also found that water suppliers were not likely to reveal or discuss these results with the public citing that they didn’t know how to interpret the results.
According to the AP investigation, water treatment facilities don’t test for pharmaceuticals and the water treatment equipment is not able to remove (or made to remove) these potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals. Ingesting even low levels of pharmaceuticals as well as other chemicals on a long term basis hasn’t been studied, but common sense tells me that it can’t be good for our health.
In this investigation the AP found traces of almost every type of pharmaceutical out there. From heart medications and asthma drugs to anti-seizure and anti-depressants these medications (or traces of them) were found in different amounts across the nation. (A quick tangent…if you have prescriptions that you no longer take, please don’t flush them down the toilet! Instead ask your pharmacy about public programs for disposing of prescriptions as there are often times free monthly drop offs at Fire Stations, etc.)
How to Drink Pure, Healthy Water
Number 1: Check out your water supply
I am lucky that my county sends out an annual test results of our water. So if you use publicly treated water and you are not so lucky to receive an annual water review than contact your local water treatment plant and inquire if they test for pharmaceuticals or not. Some places do test for a few and others don’t test at all. Ask for the results.
No matter what answers you do or don’t get it may be a good bet to assume that there is residue of unwanted chemicals in your drinking water. The next steps can help guide you.
Number 2: Not all water should be consumed
Now you have a better idea of what is in your water and are looking for alternatives so before you go the bottled water route. STOP! A lot of bottled water companies simply re-bottle tap water. By consuming this water you are filling our landfills with unnecessary wastes, it’s also water that probably contains many of the chemicals you’re trying to avoid.
Please don’t be fooled by the popular ‘nutrition waters’ and ‘vitamin waters’ because they aren’t the type of pure water your body needs. These ‘waters’ are usually loaded with sugars, food dyes, and other unwanted additives you should avoid (especially if you’re trying to keep hydrated or lose weight). If you do drink these waters than just remember they don’t count towards your eight, eight ounce glasses of water per day.
Number 3: Filtered Tap Water!!
The most economical and environmentally sound choice you and your family can make is to purchase and install a water filter for your home. Ideally, you want a filtration system that offers a variety of methods to remove different contaminants. Most systems do not address a combination of organic, inorganic, cyst, sediment and metals. Here are three different options.
- Ion Exchange Filter is designed to remove dissolved salts in the water, such as calcium. This system actually softens the water or exchanges natural-forming mineral ions in the water with its own ions, thereby neutralizing their harmful effect of creating scale build-up.The ion exchange system was originally used in boilers and other industrial situations before becoming popular in home purifying units, which usually combine the system with carbon for greater effectiveness.
- Granular Carbon and Carbon Block Filters: These are the most common types of counter top and under counter water filters. Granular carbon filters and carbon block systems perform the same process of contaminant removal, adsorption, which is the chemical or physical bond of a contaminant to the surface of the filter media. Granular activated carbon is recognized by the EPA as the best available technology for the removal of organic chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and industrial chemicals. However, one of the downfalls of granular carbon filters is that the loose material inside can channel. Translation: the water creates pathways through the carbon material, escaping filtering. Carbon block filters offer the same superior filtering ability but are compressed with the carbon medium in a solid form. This eliminates channeling and gives the ability to precisely combine multiple media in a sub-micron filter cartridge. By combining different media, the ability to selectively remove a wide range of contaminants can be achieved.
- Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filter In addition to removing chlorine, inorganic, and organic contaminants in your water, an RO filter will also remove about 80 percent of the fluoride and most DPBs. The major drawback is the expense of installing an RO filter as most need a plumber to get up and running.
Which filter system to choose?
The quickest and easiest is to select a simple carbon filter system and use a pitcher to filter your water or attach one directly to the kitchen faucet. This can be an effective way to remove some of the pharmaceuticals and help it to taste better.
If you want to specifically know what your needs are than get your water tested by a reliable, certified lab for water testing (can be found on google) because you can’t always trust Culligan or Rain Soft. Ask them how to collect the sample, what they routinely test for, and then specify what you’d like your water to be tested for in addition to their standard tests.
For the curious reader, I have a water softener for the house to save my appliances and pipes. The water softener works like an Ion Exchange but leaves salt in the water. I went the RO route. Yes, I do have a bit of a redundant system by having the two, but my recommendation is a 5-stage RO system. You can go with any system you like, but I told you at the beginning I would tell you how to save some money. The following links are not affiliate links.
Watts Premier makes affordable water treatment systems and you can buy directly from the company. The 5-stage RO system on their website sells for $239, but you can save $80 by buying it from Costco online (or Watts RO at Amazon
). Even if you are not a Costco member you will save money by joining and purchasing it through them, plus you will be able to get replacement filters cheaper. The bonus about this RO system is that it uses industry standard filters so you can shop the best deal. This system is easy to install (should only take 1-2 hours), but even if you pay a plumber it still is about brake even if you bought directly from the company.
So for a $160 (that included shipping) plus about $30 a year maintenance cost as you have to replace the filters every 6 months you will be giving your family some of the most pure water available. In my mind that is a fair trade for you and your family’s vitality!
- Think about how much water you and your family drink each day.
- Eliminate or cut down on sodas, juices, alcoholic beverages, coffees, teas, and replace these with pure water.
- Research and learn about your local drinking water and what’s in it.
- Check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s website and learn more about water at http://water.epa.gov/drink/.
- Invest in a filter system for your tap water.
Cheers to your health!