With experts advising us to drink eight glasses of water per day, it will surprise many people to learn that there are some instances when drinking water can actually be harmful to our health. Water is safe only if consumed at appropriate quantities and from appropriate sources. Water is essential for health, so the key is to learn how to consume water safely. It is very important to Always Hydrate Slowly. In January 2007, a 28-year-old Californian mother of three died from drinking too much water at a water-drinking contest that was sponsored by a local radio station.
Contestants entered to win a Wii video game console in the competition where they had to drink as much water as possible without urinating. Students have died in similar competitions and marathon runners have also died after consuming excessive amounts of water.
Pressure on the Heart
Death of over-consumption occurs for three related reasons. Firstly, the consumption of too much water increases the amount of blood that must circulate in the circulatory system without a place to which to escape, which puts enormous pressure on the heart to keep pumping.
Unnatural Cell Swelling
Secondly, with all the excess water in the circulatory system, it is unsurprising that some water seeps from the blood into the cells, which causes them to swell. Muscle tissue can swell without damage, but the brain is so tightly packed inside the skull that there is no room for it to swell without damage.
Stress to the Kidneys
Thirdly, the kidneys must work incredibly hard to filter excess water out of the body, through a filtration system that is rated for only around 90 years of normal use. If you overuse it, the blood vessels and nerves in the kidneys are damaged and can cause the kidneys to fail. The kidneys can filter and excrete only around 800 millilitres of water per hour.
One Glass Every Hour is Best
So, if you start drinking at seven in the morning and want to stop your consumption at night to avoid nocturnal water breaks, around 500 millilitres of water per hour is more than enough. In fact, since you also eat watery fruit and vegetables and other food cooked in water, you may even be taking in more than 500 millilitres per hour, but be guided by an amount that works for you.
Water Consumption During Excessive Exercise
People who are extremely active have a harder calculation, which is why marathon runners can get it wrong. Their kidneys can filter only around 100 to 200 millilitres per hour. Together with the expulsion of water through perspiration, they can get away with around 400 to 500 millilitres of water per hour. That is, active people should drink no more than passive people do, unless they are thirsty. Thirst is the body's signal that it wants more water and can deal with consuming it.
Dangers of Drinking Regular Tap Water
Scientists in all industrialised Western countries have discovered a wide variety of alarming substances in tap water. Heavy metals like lead and copper that leach from the soil and the pipes, arsenic from contaminated soil, hormones and prescription medicine from poorly filtered recycled water, fluoride that is added by the government to combat tooth decay, and chlorine that is added by the government to clean the water. Every one of these substances has been found to have adverse health effects.
Lowered IQ, Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer
For example, the intake of lead causes lower intelligence and a variety of disorders of the nervous system. Arsenic causes cancer and cardiovascular disease. The female hormone oestradiol can cause male infertility and affect sexual development. Those who consume chronic low levels of fluoride are more likely than non-consumers to suffer from osteoarthritis, lower bone density, and lower intelligence and brain development.
Government Regulation Not Stringent Enough
While the government does test the tap water daily, there are at this stage no regulations that ban small quantities of these harmful substances from the water, primarily because the country lacks the required filters to exclude them. Moreover, it is the government itself that adds the fluoride and chlorine.
Filtering Your Water is the Only Solution
The best strategy to avoiding all of these health problems is to use tap water in your garden and shower only (with a dechlorinating shower filter attached), while filtering out the chemicals in the water you use for the cooking and drinking water in your kitchen.
A water filter installed below your sink, like Energy Plus, is relatively inexpensive for the benefits it provides. An alkaline water jug is even cheaper and can also be used to clean your cooking and drinking water, although it may become a bit inconvenient if you use a lot of water while cooking. Both these filters filter out many harmful substances and alkalise the water at the same time. Alkaline water has been found to have antibacterial effects, and to clean bacteria like salmonella and e-coli from vegetables very effectively.
Most bottled water is sold in clear light-weight plastic bottles that contain and leach Bisphenol A (or BPA) into the water when they are damaged of heated. Scientists have concluded that BPA may cause adverse behavioural and neurological effects, reduce male sexual desire, increase erectal and ejaculation difficulties, and increase obesity and insulin resistance. Aluminium bottles or metal cans may also be lined with a BPA-containing epoxy, which casts doubt over their safety too.
Bottled Water is Also Poorly Regulated
Moreover, labelling on bottled water is not sufficiently strictly regulated to provide you with the kind of information you may want to have. For example, some brands of bottled water contain so much sodium that they can contribute up to 25 per cent of your daily sodium needs. Even worse, if you want to drink alkaline water because of its health benefits, few brands report an alkalinity score on their labels.
Alkaline Water Filters Offer a Solution to Chemicals in Your Bottled Water
Alkaline water filters are ideal here. You know that they add essential alkaline minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium to the water. You know that they filter many harmful substances out of the water. You also get the added benefit of knowing the pH level to which they raise the water.
Dangers of Drinking Groundwater
Many people use borehole water as a more economical water supply. This water can become contaminated with any chemical or heavy metal found in the soil and, unlike municipal testing of your tap water, there is no regular testing that will alert you to high levels of contamination. The first sign is usually when the water smells funny or its colour changes. By this time, the water is already very dirty.
Your borehole services supplier can clean the pump and pipes with industrial chemicals and install a new filtering system, which can restore the water to a sufficiently good quality in which to swim and with which to water your garden. However, if you want to replace such a large filtering system regularly to supply you with clean drinking water, this will become extremely pricey.
Gardening Water Only
Borehole water serves as a more economical way to water vegetable gardens. These vegetables are ultimately eaten and, as a result, need to be clean of the metals and chemicals that lurk in the soil. The most cost-effective option is a household water filter installed under your sink to filter only the water that you consume. This is far cheaper than filtering the entire house and garden supply. You can then simply wash the vegetables from your vegetable garden before you cook or eat them with the filtered water.
Dangers of Drinking Rain Water
If you have a rainwater tank on the roof to make good use of Britain's many rainy months, you may want to think again. If it was possible to live in a location completely isolated from sources of pollution, rainwater would have been quite clean to drink.
Side-Effects of Pollution
However, chemicals and heavy metals from power stations, factories, vehicles, and other industrialised processes are all absorbed into clouds. When the clouds form rain drops, the substances are dissolved in the drops. As a result, it is probably substantially dirtier than your tap water, let alone the water that you filter in your kitchen. Moreover, because of these chemicals, rain has an average pH of 5.6, which will put substantial strain on your body's efforts to keep its blood pH level at a healthy alkaline 7.4.
Boil Rainwater First
If you want to collect rainwater for home use, you certainly need an alkaline water filter and you may even need to boil the water to ensure that it is safe to drink in the first place.
Filtering Your Water is One Vital Step Towards Excellent Health
The best approach to ensure that your water drinking habits are healthy is to drink no more than 500 millilitres per hour and to filter your water through an alkaline filter in your kitchen. This even enables you to keep your cooking and vegetable wash water clean.