Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation® Blog - Beyond H2O: Weighing Your Healthy Water Options 4780

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation® Blog - Beyond H2O: Weighing Your Healthy Water Options

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Drinking water is a staple of good health. It benefits all areas of your body, including your heart health, digestion, and organ function. But what if the water you drank had superpower and offered more bang for your buck?
 

Scientists and manufacturers are working to find and create health-enhancing water — and experts are studying these new types of water to validate their claims. In the meantime, you face endless choices of drinking water and may wonder which is the healthiest option.

The good news is that good old tap water is still an excellent way to get the hydration your body needs. It’s safe in most areas of the United States, doesn’t cost much, and is better for the environment than using single-serve bottles.

But if you’re looking for a health boost — or want to understand your water options beyond your kitchen sink, check out these hydration variations:

Naturally Healthy Water Choices
Water may have naturally added health benefits, depending on its origin. Water can contain more minerals and less toxins when sourced from a remote environment. Examples of natural water with health benefits include:

Mineral water
Water from mineral springs far below the earth’s surface contains a naturally high ratio of minerals, such as sulfur, magnesium, and calcium. Your body needs these micronutrients and can’t produce them independently — though most people get the minerals they need from a healthy diet. The FDA prohibits mineral water manufacturers from adding minerals, so this water is high in purity. 

Spring or glacier water
When you collect water right at the spring or glacier it flows from, it tends to contain more minerals and be pollutant-free. There’s a slight health risk if spring or glacier water is unfiltered or untested. But most companies follow FDA standards, so the bottled spring water you find at stores is typically safe.

Deep sea water (DSW)
Deep sea water is pumped from a depth of more than 200 meters and tends to be highly pure and abundant in minerals and nutrients. Unfortunately, the cost and technology of resourcing this water limits its availability.

Experts have not yet established the health benefits of DSW but believe it has the potential to:
  • Improve heart health by lowering blood pressure, preventing atherogenesis (artery plaque), and maintaining healthy cholesterol
  • Prevent disease, including cancer and liver conditions
  • Treat diabetes and protect against obesity
  • Treat other ailments, including stomach ulcers, cataracts, and skin issues

Water With Added Benefits
Food can be fortified with added vitamins and minerals, and so can water. Scientists continue to experiment with ways to enhance plain water. Types of enriched water include:

Alkaline water
A pH level measures how acidic or alkaline (non-acidic) a substance is. The pH scale runs from 1 to 14 — a lower pH level is more acidic, and a higher pH level is more alkaline. Regular water has a neutral pH level of about 7. But alkaline water — which the FDA regulates — uses added minerals to achieve a pH of 8 to 9.5.

While evidence is still sparse, small and limited studies on humans and animals show that drinking alkaline water daily may:
Electrolyte water
Electrolytes are minerals that conduct electricity when dissolved in water or bodily fluids like blood. According to the National Library of Medicine, the body uses the energy generated by that electricity in many ways, such as:
  • Balancing fluids in the body
  • Keeping bones and teeth healthy
  • Maintaining pH levels (acidity)
  • Stabilizing blood pressure and heart rate
  • Supporting muscle and nerve function

There are electrolytes in tap water and most bottled water, but electrolyte water adds even more charged minerals to help with physical performance and rehydration. Choose your electrolyte water carefully, though. The concentration of electrolytes may vary, and some sports drinks include sugar and other additives in addition to electrolytes.

Hydrogen-rich water
Hydrogenated water is pure water with added hydrogen (H2) gas. You can either buy water that already has gas added to it or add hydrogen tablets to your regular water. Early studies show that hydrogen-rich water may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging effects that may benefit:
  • Cardiovascular function
  • Cellular function
  • Cognitive function
  • Liver function
  • Mental health

Structured water
Specific processes can change the chemical formula of H2O to H3O2, making it thicker and more dense than regular water. Those processes include:
  • Magnetizing water (passing it through magnetic fields to reduce the effects of hard water)
  • Exposing water to natural heat and energy sources, such as sunlight
  • Exposing water to ultraviolet (UV) or infrared light
  • Storing water in a crystal-infused water bottle

Supporters of structured water claim that the chemical changes make the water purer. While there is no conclusive evidence, structured water may offer benefits associated with:
  • Concentration and memory
  • Digestion
  • Energy
  • Immune function
  • Skin health
  • Sleep
  • Weight loss and weight management

The Bottom Line
When it comes to drinking water, the most important thing to consider is how much you drink. Experts agree that drinking enough safe tap water is all you need to stay healthy. While you get some water through the foods you eat, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends drinking about 9 cups of water for women daily and 13 for men. If you want to sip on something with more superpower, mineral and alkaline water offer the most proven health benefits.


What type of water do you drink and why? Share with us in our discussion below.

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Blog Nutrition 07/01/2024 2:46pm CDT

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Nutrition
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It isn't easy to find time for healthy eating. One average, nurses consume less fruits, veggies, and whole grains than other Americans. This domain covers recommended guidelines for dietary health, managing diet at work, and overcoming barriers to nutrition.

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