Water: Source of Life

by Vanessa Labelle

We are lucky to have an abundance of water flowing straight from our household taps. And we are healthier because of it. Our bodies need water to function, whether for maintaining body temperature, absorbing and channelling nutrients, eliminating toxins and waste, or ensuring skin hydration. 

Additional benefits of water

  • It stabilizes the amount of blood and lymphatic fluid in the body;
  • It lubricates the joints and eyes, to ensure proper functioning;
  • It optimizes brain function (if you have a headache, drink a tall glass of water before taking medication – you may be surprised by the results!); 
  • It facilitates digestion and bowel movements;
  • It creates a sensation of satiety or fullness, and can help maintain a healthy weight. 

How much should we drink? 

Ideally, we should drink 2 liters of water per day, to detox our system and control our appetite. Most people don’t feel thirst until their mouths are dry, which as a general rule this means that you’re already dehydrated and may feel a decrease in energy level. My personal trick to ensure to drink enough water? I always keep a 1-liter container full of water on hand so I can take a sip here and there. 

Additional tips:chia water

  • Be sure to always have a full glass of water to drink along with meals;
  • Opt for herbal tea rather than coffee, which can dehydrate you;
  • Add fresh or frozen fruit to your water, such as citrus fruit, apples or melon; vegetables, such as cucumber or zucchini; or fresh herbs, such as mint or basil, to infuse it with different flavors; 
  • Soak 1 teaspoon of chia seeds in your glass of water for a few minutes, then filter them with a strainer to reap the benefits; 
  • Kick-start your day with a glass of room-temperature water. Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the water, to eliminate the toxins accumulated overnight and prepare your digestive system for the first meal of the day; 
  • A tidbit on cold water: it contracts the blood vessels of the stomach and slows down the hydration process. Given that drinking cold water slows down digestion and diminishes nutrient absorption, imagine how hard the body’s enzymes must work to counteract the temperature difference when you ingest cold water during a meal! It’s therefore advisable to drink water at room temperature. 

The various water sources

Is tap water safe to drink?

As I mentioned earlier, we are lucky to live in a country in which tap water is readily available. However, our water contains many substances, like fluoride and chlorine, which are cause for concern. Fluoride can lead to dental or bone fluorosis, which cause many problems, including osteoporosis. It can also increase the risk of fractures and cause thyroid gland problems. As for chlorine, many studies have shown a link between prolonged exposure to it and a higher incidence of cancer. Therefore, over 40% of Québecois households purify their water with ceramic or carbon filters (Brita type), or through reverse osmosis, to reduce the metallic and mineral content. Another way to eliminate the taste of chlorine in water is by leaving a jug of water out at room temperature for 12 hours so the chlorine evaporates. 

Bottled water

Environmental effects aside, when it comes to bottled water, it’s important to ensure that bottles don’t contain Bisphenol A (BPA), which can cause weight gain, greater risk of developing breast cancer, learning and memory problems, ovarian cycle complications, etc. Approximately 40% of bottled water comes from the tap and 60% is spring and mineral water. 

Spring water

Originating underground, this naturally pure water is just as safe to drink as tap water. It may undergo some treatments to eliminate unstable elements, such as iron, gases and manganese. 

Mineral water 

Rich in mineral salts (like calcium, potassium and sodium) and in trace elements, mineral water has therapeutic properties. It doesn’t have to undergo treatments, and its underground composition must remain the same above ground. 

Alkaline or ionized water

There is more and more talk about alkaline or ionized water. Apparently, it has a significant impact on the body’s pH levels and exceptional health benefits, due to the electrolysis or ionization processes it undergoes. However, there are no clinical study results on the subject available to date. 

Vanessa Labelle
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Vanessa Labelle

As a graduate of the Culinary Nutrition Academy of Toronto, Vanessa Labelle spends her time as a nutrition coach while also teaching her clients how to cook and updating her blog Pomme et Sucre.

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