How to choose the best water to drink? All the truth and false myths you need to know about water: choose it based on your state of health and how you live in everyday life
You would like to finally understand which are the best waters to drink? Or do you know if the tap water is safe or not? Before starting let me tell you one thing: there is no magic list of the best or worst brands but only good waters based on the type of health you have and the life you practice. You can do without many things in life, even food if necessary (at least for a while) but you certainly can’t give up water! It is impossible to live without water and it is necessary to maintain its internal balance, especially during the hot season, when we expel greater quantities of sweat than in the rest of the year. Essential for living, water is what helps our body to live better. Used to prevent many ailments and many ills in general, drinking water is essential to feeling good. But how do you choose the best water to drink? First of all, for choosing the best drinking water it is good to know some values of the elements contained therein, to a greater or lesser extent, at the source and in the bottle. Let’s first explain, however, why it is important to drink water
Why it is important to drink water
Drinking water in an adequate manner brings remarkable benefits to our body. Among the many we discover that water:
- promotes the elimination of waste substances from the body as it increases the excretion of urine and sweat.
- It promotes muscle development in individuals who practice physical activity because: 75% of muscle mass is water; and why water antagonizes the catabolic effects of cortisol. If physical activity is prolonged, the adrenal glands increase cortisol production. Cortisol is a hormone that has a catabolic effect on muscle tissue, ie it tends to “break it up” to produce energy. Water counteracts this catabolic activity
- It has an “aesthetic” effect in that the water gives form and rigidity to the tissues, therefore it counteracts the retention of excess liquids (the so-called orange-peel skin)
- Allows you to keep the surfaces of nose, eyes and ears adequately moist.
- Promotes adequate lubrication of the joints through the production of synovial fluid
How much water to drink and how to drink it during the day
Water covers the earth’s surface for as much as 71% of its surface. In the human body water accounts for as much as 70-75% of body weight in children, while in the elderly it is 45-55%. Water is present in every cell of the body. Each gram of protein binds 4 grams of water, while every gram of fat is only 0.2 grams. It is therefore evident that subjects Obesi have a lower percentage of body water than the lean subjects
Since women normally have, compared to men, about 5% more adipose tissue, their water percentage is around 55% compared to 60% of men. Drinking is therefore really fundamental, as is hydrating especially at certain times of the day. You must never and then never drink when you are thirsty but, much earlier, in order to avoid being already in water scarcity, or dehydrated. Only 2% less hydration results in as much as 20% less physical energy
Furthermore you should not drink during meals unless in limited quantities so as not to extinguish the fire that burns food. Dilating gastric juices is very easy if you drink during meals. The heat of water taken at various times of the day is also quite important. Drinking in the morning is possible and it should be but, in those moments the water could be even cooler; on the contrary, as you go towards the end of the day, you should drink warmer water. In the morning we should drink a quantity of water of at least 300-550 ml since the body has not received any liquids during rest. Later it would be much better to drink out of meals. While for training sessions it would be good to drink water 330-540 ml pre and 500 ml immediately after to hydrate the body and cool the organs.
The amount of water to be consumed per day is between 6 glasses from water to 10 glasses of water. The average consumption of 1500 – 1600 ml can be obtained by consuming:
- a glass of water for breakfast,
- two glasses of water for lunch,
- two glasses of water for dinner
- half a liter of water away from meals
Water consumption must increase if:
- physical activity takes place because this generates heat, to prevent an excessive rise in body temperature the body increases sweat excretion. The sweat evaporating, removes heat from the overheated body (0.06 calories are lost)
- At high altitude. At altitudes above 2500 meters the excretion of urine and the respiratory frequency increase with consequent increase in water losses by the body.
- On all occasions in which there is an increase in sweating: feverish states and particularly climates warm
- In the event of water leaks due to diarrhea or vomiting
- During pregnancy and lactation . For pregnant women a daily water consumption of 2100 ml is indicated, for those who are breastfeeding a consumption of 3100 ml per day.
We recall that blood is made of water as well as other substances, so the less you drink, the more the blood thickens. This is not good for heart which has to work harder to send the fluid throughout the body. Drinking is fundamental and for athletes who want to define the ideal quantity in liters to drink, the best solution is to multiply 0.05 by their own body weight.
In short, when we have to drink water?
- Just wake up
- Before the main meals
- Before, after and during physical activity
- Between one meal and another
- When you lose a lot of fluids due to physiological causes such as: sweating, dehydration during air travel, cold, wind, etc., and pathological like: diarrhea , Vomiting, burns, bleeding.
What features must be considered to choose the best water
First of all you have to take into account 3 important parameters before choosing your water. These are:
1. The fixed residue
The fixed residue is a principle specifically used to catalog mineral waters or, more widely, potable. Measured in “mg / L”, the fixed residue is the amount of dry solids remaining after evaporation (first at 100 then at 180 ° C, sometimes up to 500 ° C) of a certain amount of water (filtered ) in a properly calibrated platinum container; in this way water (at 100 ° C), ammonium salts (at 180 ° C) and organic substances eg nitrates (at 500 ° C) are eliminated. Most people believe that the best water is the one with the lowest residue. But is not so! The fixed residue expresses the quantity of minerals present in the water. Therefore higher fixed residue means greater quantities of minerals that do very well to our body. And it is very strange that the national association of biologists, in the book “conscious consumption” considers as an optimal quantity a fixed r between 200 and 300 mg / L. Just the opposite of what the advertisements say, or as low as possible. The minerals contained in the water that make up the fixed residue are:
- Calcium (How many times have they told you drink the milk that is good for your bones? This is the same football that favors the strengthening of the bones and muscle activity)
- Magnesium (helps cardiac muscle cells to relax)
- Sodium ;
- Potassium ;
- Ferro (very important for women in pregnancy )
- Magnese ;
- Fluoruri (prevent tooth decay)
- Sulfur (well-being of nails and Capelli )
The importance of the fixed residue in drinking water has been the subject of studies, hypotheses and conclusions too often risky for many years (especially in the field of marketing). Dissolved solids, provided they are completely absorbed, could have a more or less significant impact on health.
2. The hardness of water
Very often we hear about soft or hard water, but really what is meant by water hardness? The hardness is the content of calcium and magnesium salts present in the water. It is the salts of these two elements that cause, in solution, the presence of calcareous elements that are harmful to the functionality of the kidneys and liver. Depending on the limestone concentration, the waters are defined as sweet, semi-hard, hard and very hard. Better to choose waters with a low hardness index.
Is it a parameter indicative of the quality of drinking water? The hardness of water for most people is synonymous with limestone and wear of the household appliances which over time make them less and deteriorate faster. Few people are aware that in reality, this parameter of drinking water analysis is also a very important feature for our health. It is in fact a recognized protection factor for cardiovascular diseases and also water softeners, used to limit the wear of our appliances, if installed they must be calibrated so as to maintain a degree of hardness that preserves water hardness with beneficial effects on health
The World Health Organization (WHO) has published guidelines on the relationship between water hardness and health . The report shows that there is a direct correlation between water hardness and death caused by cardiovascular diseases
What does drinking water mean in terms of hardness? The water hardness is measured in French degrees (° F) and according to DL 31/01 the waters are considered potable with hardness (in French degrees ) between 15 and 50, where a 1 ° F corresponds to 10 mg / L of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and therefore to a concentration range of calcium carbonate of 150-500 mg / L. Based on the content of sodium carbonate then the water is classified as:
- Very sweet waters: 0 – 7 ° F
- Fresh waters: 8 – 15 ° F
- Hard waters: 16 – 25 ° F  Very hard water 26 – 35 ° F
- Very hard water> 35 ° F
The water hardness therefore represents a much more specific parameter than a fixed residue because it does not just indicate the presence or quantity relative to mineral salts in drinking water, but allows us to go back up to the content of two minerals in particular, calcium and magnesium . The hardness of the water at the same time can influence or be influenced by its pH. In fact, the more its value is below neutrality the more the water is acidic, sweet, slightly mineralized and free of limestone. On the contrary, the more the pH is above neutrality, the higher the mineralization of water, which will therefore tend to be alkaline, hard and rich in limestone.
According to the WHO, drinking water supplies from 5 to 20% of the daily calcium and magnesium requirement depending on its hardness and therefore of the softening processes or other treatments used in the water system that can condition the mineral content. The results of several studies show that the more the tap water is sweet and the higher the incidence of cardiovascular diseases in the population, while the use of harder water is a protective factor . The first evidence of this important health significance of drinking water hardness appeared from studies conducted as early as the late 1950s and later confirmed by further important clinical, epidemiological studies, in vitro and in vivo .
A confirmation supported by the world scientific community, which has led various countries to start considering drinking water an important means of preventing cardiovascular disease . Specifically, the WHO undertook to consider the identification of a minimum calcium and magnesium parameter for drinking water
3. Microorganisms and other polluting substances such as nitrites and nitrates
I nitrates compounds based on nitrogen and oxygen, are salts, which, in polluted areas, can compromise the quality of the sources from which the water. Nitrates, along with nitrites, are used by industry as preservatives and add flavor and color to processed meats. The International Agency for Research on Cancer ( IARC ), a body of the World Health Organization, has classified the nitrates and nitrites ingested as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. However, nitrates themselves are not carcinogenic: they are found naturally in various foods, including vegetables (beets, celery, turnips, spinach), and in drinking water. In themselves, they are harmless. However, they can be converted to nitrites by the action of the salivary glands in the mouth. The nitrites, in turn, can be combined with other molecules, the amines, present in foods rich in proteins such as meat, cold cuts, cheeses, to form the N-nitrosamines which are instead carcinogenic. There is no evidence that nitrates in drinking water cause tumors.
Here we play another battle between bottled water and tap water. Let’s start with a phrase on bottled water that reads as follows: “bacteriologically pure water”. The fact that in a bottle of water there is the words “bacteriologically pure water” does not leave it immune to risks of contamination by pathogenic microorganisms. In the bottles some bacteria can reproduce in a short time, especially for plastic bottles exposed to sunlight or heat. In fact, the presence of pathogenic microorganisms in plastic bottles is mostly recorded in summer.
Regarding tap water instead, to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination is added chlorine. Often many do not drink tap water because of its taste, which is determined by chlorine. To overcome the problem of chlorine, all you need to do is leave the water exposed to the air for a few minutes. Chlorine is a gas therefore it will move away from the water after a few minutes leaving its characteristic odor
In Italy the law establishes by law that water can be defined potable only if it contains a quantity of nitrates lower than 50 mg / l. However, waters with nitrates present below 10 mg / l are preferable. Also in this case, therefore, the problem lies in the intake of nitrates from food sources, first of all preserved meat. The consumer association has drawn up a survey which shows that tap water is good and safe. This shows that in terms of food safety tap water has nothing to envy compared to bottled water.
Nitrates in pregnancy and for children up to 3 years
Separate speech for women in pregnancy and children from zero to three years. The high nitrate consumption for children up to the third year of age can lead to methemoglobinemia, a pathological condition that reduces the oxygen supply to the body. In fact you will have happened to find bottles with the face of babies at the supermarket. When present it means that that water has a nitrate content of less than 10 mg per liter. In short, if you want to give tap water to your child who is less than three years old, make sure the water has less nitrates than 10 mg. Alternatively, buy bottled water, preferably glass .
Kidney stones: which water to choose?
Le waters are not all the same and those suffering from kidney stones should use a particular type. The experts in fact always advise us to drink at least two liters of water per day but they also underline that the choice of the type of water is important, for this reason its purchase should be made in a conscious way, learning to read the label and the values indicated. The waters, mineral and natural, are not all equal, but are classified on the basis of various factors including the presence of mineral salts, defined as trace elements. These substances play a fundamental role in favoring our well-being and depending on their quantity they characterize various types of water, from sulphate to bicarbonate, passing through l ‘chlorinated water, calcium water The magnesic, fluorinated, acidulous, sodium or ferruginous one.
The significant presence of a particular element can therefore help the organism and allow to defeat and prevent some pathologies among which calculations kidney. The best water in this case is the minimally mineralized water, very light and with a fixed residue lower than 50 Mg / L. It allows to purify the organism, eliminate excess waste and prevent the formation of stones.
It is necessary to drink more than normal when you are suffering from kidney stones, so as to facilitate the expulsion of the small stones present in the ureters . To prevent the formation of new stones it is necessary to drink at least 2-3 liters a day outside of meals. Similar quantities are to be drunk also to prevent urinary infections and when much water has been lost due to severe sweating vomiting or diarrhea . It is essential to dispel a false myth: the tap water does not make the calculations! In the past, this water was “demonized” due to its high magnesium and calcium content. However, several scientific studies have shown that these substances do not contribute to the onset of the disease but, on the contrary, allow it to be countered. Many believe that the fixed residue of the “hardest” waters can negatively affect on the formation of kidney stones. In reality, no study has been able to support this hypothesis; on the contrary, it seems that drinking a lot of water (regardless of the concentration of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus) plays a protective role on the onset of kidney stones. For those who suffer from kidney stones and still want to be sure not to introduce more minerals than they should, we could recommend low fixed residual water such as mineral or minimally mineralized.
Water: water retention and cellulite
Some companies that distribute low-sodium water suggest that they are able to prevent Water retention and / or to expel more effectively “slags. These are basically misleading statements. First of all, as we have already said, it is not the sodium present in the water that makes the difference in the daily nutritional balance. Secondly, it is not even proven that excess of this mineral can aggravate water retention in healthy people.
For the same reason, no water type and no fixed residue parameter can affect the onset and aggravation of cellulite . However, it is advisable, both as regards water retention and cellulite, to drink satisfactorily (about 1 ml of water per kcal taken with the diet for healthy and sedentary people). Therefore to say that drinking so much eliminates cellulite is wrong, because in fact there is no certain and miraculous cure for this problem. Proper hydration and a healthy lifestyle are, however, extremely important at a preventive level.
Our skin is in fact composed of 70% water and must be continuously nourished to stay elastic and luminous. . When we drink water we counteract dehydration, which is the main cause of skin aging. Not only that, water purifies the body, eliminating waste and toxins that contribute to the formation of skin blemishes. No water eliminates cellulite, but all can help prevent it . In fact, hydration hinders the accumulation of fluids and swellings, which often accompany inflammation of adipose tissues. The water we drink therefore acts positively on swollen legs and water retention, because it stimulates the elimination of fluids through diuresis. Given that all the waters have a diuretic action, according to some studies those minimally mineralized and the low sodium oligominerals ensure a more marked effect.
Which water to choose for problems of abdominal swelling, constipation , digestion and purifying the body
For everything related to inflammation, burning and constipation, these can be simply eliminated by drinking correctly . To reduce irritation, choose water rich in sulphate, magnesium and calcium. I sulfates in fact act at the level of the duodenum, stimulating the production of cholecystokinin, a hormone fundamental for digestion . It favors the activity of digestive enzymes that are found in the pancreas, helps the work of bile and stimulates intestinal transit, contributing to a correct evacuation. When suffering from swollen bowel it is important to read the label well before buying water.
To facilitate digestion and decrease the sense of abdominal bloating, bet on bicarbonate water . A high quantity of magnesium instead gives an excellent laxative effect, completely natural. Avoid natural effervescent waters too rich in carbon dioxide. A quantity greater than 250 mg per liter in fact can cause meteorism, gastric acidity and reflux for this reason it is not indicated for those suffering from bowel problems.
The types of drinking water
Drinking or bottled mineral water is commonly classified according to mineral concentration . In particular we can distinguish 4 types of water mineral based on the value of the Fixed Residue
- Minimally mineralized or poor in salts: This type of water is characterized by a Fixed Residue < 50 mg / l is also defined as “light” because it is poor in mineral salts, a purely chemical characteristic. Of course the contribution of minerals is reduced and at a nutritional level the benefit is minimal. Generally it can be indicated in some controlled dietary regimes or in the presence of some types of renal problems
- Oligomineral or slightly mineralized: With a fixed residue <500 mg / l it is generally the most widespread on the market but also as drinking tap water together with the medium-mineral one
- Medium mineralized: Fixed residue between 500 and 1000 mg / l, together with the oligo-mineral residue is the most widespread in Italy, both as water drinking tap that on the market. An advantage, given that the medium-mineral and oligo-mineral waters are generally suitable for everyone, children, adults and the elderly, with small variations according to age and lifestyle.
- Rich in salts: With a Fixed Residue> 1500 mg / l, water particularly rich in mineral salts is indicated, a characteristic for which it is recommended to take it under medical supervision. In fact, these types of water can be given almost therapeutic and supportive properties for which they are generally recommended by a doctor.
A further very important definition distinguishes natural effervescent waters and sparkling and carbonated . The first are mineral waters, or better medium-minerals, which flow already at the source with a higher concentration of bicarbonate to which we owe the slightly sparkling effect. The sparkling or carbonated waters are instead mineral waters to which carbon dioxide is added.
Advice for Adults, Children, Sportsmen and the Elderly: which water to drink
The various types of water have a mineral composition that can condition our choices based on age, nutritional needs and also the lifestyle or state of health of the individual. Children, adolescents, adults and the elderly need different types of water. Let’s find out which ones:
- For adults: l and oligo-mineral or medium-mineral waters best meet their nutritional needs. To the limit we recommend to choose according to lifestyle and state of health .
- For sportsmen: we recommend a medium-mineral water rich in Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium and Chlorides to keep water reserves in balance and minimize mineral losses due to exercise and intense sweating.
- For children and adolescents: for the child is often recommended a medium mineral water, rich in Calcium, Magnesium and Fluorine for the growth of strong bones and teeth, while for the adolescent a medium-mineral water as the child but rich in Calcium, Magnesium and Bicarbonate is more suitable species to promote the maintenance of strong bones and teeth and become a healthy adult.
- For the elderly: the healthy elder first of all must drink in order not to risk the dehydration and then if he drinks water rich in calcium and magnesium it is all health.
One aspect to note is that the content of calcium and magnesium is essential in the various age groups.
Short guide water: what to remember
- Tap water is safe and does not give problems to your body;
- The best water is not the one with the lowest fixed residue. Indeed it would be ideal to drink water between 200 and 300 mg per liter.
- Bottled water is not free from bacteriological risks and the risk increases in summer.
- Children under the age of three and pregnant women should not regularly drink water with a nitrate content greater than 10 mg per liter.
- Now that you have finished reading, get up and drink!