Water is the source of life on our planet. It is important for every body process and this colourless and odourless liquid is essential in the diet of every person. However, even if it has no smell or taste, not all waters are the same, and a person who drinks enough will know how to tell the difference. With so many brands available, it is hard to make the right choice, but with the right information we will know how to choose the best option. Many beverages labelled as water contain sugar and empty calories. Even if they are promoted as healthy, regular consumption of them can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of obesity.
Nitrates are chemical components without colour, odour or taste. NO3 is the natural form of nitrogen found in the soil, essential for all life forms. Their presence indicates contamination with household waste. The amount of nitrate in the water is influenced by both natural processes and human intervention, and the consumption of water with high levels of nitrates can damage the ability of cells to carry oxygen through the blood. The most affected people are children and pregnant women.
pH measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. Solutions with a lower concentration of hydrogen ions have a higher pH (basic), and those with a higher concentration have a low pH (acids). For example, orange juice has a pH of 3.3, which means it is acidic. Black coffee has a pH of about 5, baking soda is around 9, and bleach has a pH of 12. Most commercially bottled water has a neutral pH. Depending on the source and processing, most bottled waters are within a pH range of 5 to 8.
Natural water has no calories. Not at all. Therefore, we need to check this on the label as well. It is not wrong to occasionally drink beverages with added vitamins, minerals or fibre. But beware: beverage companies often sell this type of product as healthy, but they overlook the harmful side of these drinks, such as sugar added content. Instead of vitamin water, choose to infuse your water with fresh fruits, it has fewer calories and does not affect the hydration level. As for nutrients, you can take them from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and proteins – not from drinks.
Some so-called waters contain sugar, fruit juices or other sweeteners. Check the total carbohydrates and sugars on the nutrition label. Your drink is real water only if the total carbohydrates and sugars listed are 0.0 grams. The danger comes from the fact that drinks with a lot of sugar and / or caffeine can dehydrate you, no matter how much water they contain. This can cause headaches, dizziness and low blood pressure. There are also other drinks promoted as sources of electrolytes, efficient to improve the physical performance. But in most cases, your body does not need extra electrolytes, unless you do intense physical activity outdoors for more than 60 minutes. In most cases, plain water should provide the hydration you need.
The content of calcium (Ca) and sodium (Na) should be as low as possible. When consumed in excess, calcium is deposited in the kidneys, so it should not exceed 150mg / l. Also, sodium should not exceed the amount of 20mg / l because when consumed in excess it leads to irritability and higher blood pressure.
If you look at the bottom or back of the bottle, you will see a label that refers to the type of plastic used in that packaging. Many bottled waters use a plastic known as PET. This special type of plastic is used in a variety of plastic packaging and is considered safe. The chemical Bisphenol A (also known as BPA) has been on the rise lately. Like PET, this should be labelled on products that contain any BPA. The problem with plastic containers is that during storage and handling of bottles plastic particles can disintegrate into the water, especially on hot days.
Whenever possible, choose to drink filtered tap water. Not only do you save money, but you also reduce your exposure to toxins such as Bisphenol-A (BPA), which can get into water sold or stored in plastic bottles. In addition, you reduce the plastic waste, which is as harmful to the environment as it is to the body. Choose a reusable bottle made of a material that does not affect the water quality:
- stainless steel – is durable, easy to recycle, keep the temperature of the drink constant whether we are talking about cold water or hot tea, but the container can be heavy and some people feel a specific taste
- glass – an elegant material, 100% recyclable and sustainable, does not affect the taste, but there is a danger of breaking and the container might be heavy
- copper – a material known for its properties since ancient times, especially when water is stored for 6-8 hours, but can give a metallic taste to the water
- BPA-free plastic – always check that the bottle does not contain BPA, as many plastic bottles contain this harmful chemical. Not only is BPA-free water bottle better for the environment, but BPA-free bottled water consumption has been shown to have significant health benefits. In addition, it is resistant to low or high temperatures and does not affect the taste of the water.
Paying attention to the label of the products we consume, we can choose healthy water, which will provide us with adequate hydration, but also the nutrients we need, without adding unnecessary calories. By far the best solution is tap water, filtered and stored in containers that do not affect it, but this is not always possible, so it is important to have the right information. Natural mineral water must have an underground origin, must be microbiologically pure, completely free of contaminants and have a characteristic and constant physico-chemical composition over time.