In Part 1 of this series, we discussed why water is so important to our health as well as debunked the first two myths of water. In this follow-up article, we focus on the next 10 myths of water we were brought up with.
Myth No 3 – When in doubt, buy bottled water!
Despite the high standard of production of almost everything in many developed countries, it is interesting to note that few developed countries have a standard for bottled water. In the US and Europe, bottled water have been found to be actually tap water and some contains cancer causing agents. Do a search using the keywords, “Cancer bottled water” in Google and you will see amazing reports of bottled water which contains high level of cancer causing agents. So the US and Europe are two of the most developed regions in the world and yet they do not have a standard for bottled water. If you, like me are living in Asia, can you imagine where most of our bottled water is coming from? Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Can you imagine what kind of manufacturing standards these countries will have for their water?
Myth No 4 – Drink when you are thirsty!
There is an old saying that goes,”Listen to your body!”. Others like “Eat when you are hungry”, “Sleep when you are sleepy” seems to hold true, so does “Drink when you are thirsty” applies? Well, the correct answer here is a firm, “No”. You see, water is much like oxygen or fuel for your car. You don’t breathe only when you need oxygen. You don’t top up your car only when it has run out of fuel? Your body needs to be hydrated all the time. The moment it is a little bit short of water, the body goes into a conservation mode. It uses less and the body becomes less efficient. Your blood thickens, your kidney becomes less effective and your whole body functions at less than 100%. Some symptoms of insufficient water do not even manifest themselves as thirst. For example, many times when you have a headache, it is a sign of de-hydration, but you do not feel thirsty. So, Water should be drunk on a regular basis instead only when you feel thirsty!
Myth No 5 – Too much water makes your body retain water and makes you fat!
As mentioned in Myth No 4, your body has a self regulating mechanism. When your body does not have enough water, it goes into conservation mode. Your body actually retains water. So the more water you drink, the less it retains!
Myth No 6 – Chlorinated water is clean water
While chlorine has been known to kill many germs and bacteria, chlorine itself is a poison. In fact, chlorine is a bleaching agent and that is why many swimmers have bleached hair when they swim in a pool daily. Laboratory test have shown strong associations between drinking chlorinated water and many forms of rectal, colon and bladder cancer. Chlorine is also a gas and not easily removed by boiling. In fact, laboratory tests have also shown that water needs to be boiled for at least 40mins before they can be removed.
Myth No 7 – Boiling water is good as it kills bacteria and germs
Boiling Water does kill many forms of Germs and Bacteria. However, boiling chlorinated water and water with impurities and in-organic substances in it can change the chemical composition of these substances causing some of them to become carcinogenic. The human body is also known to absorb a lot of oxygen from the fluids it take in and boiling water actually drives out a good amount of oxygen from the water. While this itself is not harmful as we do breathe in substantial amount of oxygen in our normal process of inhalation, why drive out something that is good? Cool water (room temperature) is also absorbed better and faster by the body than warm water.
Myth No 8 – Ice cold Beer is a great thirst quencher!
Beer contains alcohol and while an ice-cold beer will certainly feel good on a hot day and after some heavy activity, alcohol actually draws fluid out from the blood streams via a process called osmosis.
Myth No 9 – There is no difference between Aerated Water and Still Water other than the fact that it is Aerated!
In Myth No 7, we discussed about boiling water and driving oxygen out of water. Aerated water is even worse than that. Aerated water is actually water filled with Carbon Dioxide. Most of us know that Carbon Dioxide is what our body expels when we exhale. CO2 are considered to be “Toxins” and not usable by the body. Why in the world would we want to put these back into the body?
Myth No 10 – Wine contains anti-oxidant and is good for you
While it is true that wine contains anti-oxidant and anti-oxidant is generally good for you, it does not necessarily mean that Wine is good for you. Like all things, too much of a good thing can be bad. This “excuse” was probably coined up by wine lovers as a justification to drink more! If the Anti-Oxidants in wine is good for you, why not go to the source and eat grapes instead?
Myth No 11 – I filter my water with one of those portable filters, so it must be clean enough!
Not all filters are made equal. In fact, if you have a filter that is portable, it probably is not good enough. The other tell-tale sign that your filter is not good enough is when Water flows through it easily. A good filter has to filter out particles as small as 0.0001 micron and the only filter that can do this in the world is a filter utilizing a process call Reverse Osmosis. The filter pores are so small that water will not flow through without some force pushing it across. Reverse Osmosis uses a pump to “push” the water against a membrane so that it flows through it leaving the impurities behind. The pores are so small that even bacteria and germs will not go through it.
If you cannot find a good RO filter, the other option is to use a water distiller. Nature has its own way of distillation via evaporation and rainfall. However, in today’s industrialised world, the air is so polluted that when the rain falls back to earth, it would have absorbed back a good amount of impurities; hence the term “acid rain”. Distillation is a slow process but it produces some of the cleanest water around, on par with those of Reverse Osmosis.
Myth No 12 – Alkaline Water is best for the body!
This myth must have been developed from the Alkaline Diet concept which is highly popular. While it is true that our body should be maintained in a slightly alkaline state to be healthy, it does not necessarily mean that all foods which are alkaline are good! Also some acidic food does leave behind an “alkaline ash” that is beneficial for the body eg lemon and lime.
There are also two major parts of our body that must remain acidic for us to be healthy. One is the skin and the other is the stomach. The stomach has acidic digestive juices which help in breaking down food and digestion. Drinking too much water during food intake actually dilutes the digestive juices and lessen the effectiveness of the digestive process. Drinking alkaline water not only dilutes the digestive acides, it neutralises them as well. For this reason, pure water should have a neutral pH of 7 and it was always recommended to drink water at least half and hour before a meal rather than during a meal. Drinking water half an hour before eating has several advantages. It keeps your stomach full so you do not over-eat. It also does not dilute the digestive juices as much as drinking while eating does.
Can you over drink? I’ve read a few cases of it. Overdosage of water is called Hyponatremia and can cause complications although this is rare. Water can flush out toxins from the body but when you overdo it, it can also flush out useful minerals. However, unless you go on long durations of water fasting, this should not be a major concern.
So there you go, 12 myths of water and hydration that we hear all the time. How much water do we need? The rule of thumb is that an average person needs about eight 8oz glasses of water per day. For every 25 pounds overweight, an extra glass will have to be added. The above recommendation is only for a normal lifestyle. However, if you are active and into sports, you’ll need to drink a lot more. Let’s drink to our health!
Source by C.H. Seet