Many people don't realise that over 60% of our body is made of water. Drinking enough clean water is probably the most important nutritional factor affecting your health. Every day we lose about 2 quarts of water which need to be replaced to avoid dehydration. One of the most important roles water plays in our body is to carry out toxins and wastes that the body produces. If we don't drink enough these toxins stay in our body causing health problems. Water intake also affects blood pressure and many more of the body's key functions.
Two things are important concerning water. One is drinking clean water and one is drinking enough. I used to think that people who only drank bottled or filtered water were snobs. That was until I learned about water from a nutritional perspective.
I don't recommend that anyone drink tap water. This is because all tap water has undergone a chemical 'cleaning' process to clear it of pollutants, such as animal wastes, fertilisers, chemicals and industrial waste. However, this process does not get rid of 100% of these wastes and also adds to the water chemicals such as chlorine and aluminium sodium salts. These substances have clearly been shown to have a damaging effect on our health. So in essence when you drink tap water you are adding waste to your body in the very substance that is supposed to be cleaning it.
I recommend drinking either bottled mineral water or purchasing a filter with a solid carbon block. (purchasing a filter is probably the most economical and does not create the waste of plastic bottles) I recommend this type of filter over both a granulated carbon filter such as brita or reverse osmosis. A granulated carbon filter is less effective at removing chemicals and need to be changed frequently to prevent bacterial growth inside the filter. A reverse osmosis filter produces the best quality water but is more expensive, needs to be fitted and is very wasteful of water, processing only 10-25% of the water passing through it. Distilled water should never be used for drinking as it depletes the body of minerals.
A solid carbon block filter will eliminate heavy metals, chlorine, organic pollutants and many other chemicals from the water. It costs around $100 - $150 and the filter need to be changed every 9 months to a year and is quite inexpensive. I use filtered water for both cooking and drinking.
We need to drink 8 large glasses of water a day or 2 litres to replace lost water, more is needed on a very hot day or for a nursing mother. Other beverages (excepting teas without caffeine) just don't do the trick. The body needs to work at processing them before it can use the water. Make sure to drink first thing in the morning as our bodies are slightly dehydrated when we wake. This also helps to prevent constipation. It is also best to spread drinking over the day for our body to make use of this vital nutrient.