Every month seems to bring a new fad when it comes to diet and exercise. One trend that has been on the rise for several years is drinking alkaline water. You’ve probably seen commercials or read online articles about what could be the latest miracle health elixir, but here’s something you may not know: Most people are referring to as “alkaline water” is actually ionized water, which contains negatively charged ions that allegedly offer several benefits—one of which is an alkalizing effect in your body (hence the name). Does this mean you should make an alkaline water pitcher part of your daily routine? Or will regular old tap or filtered H2O work just as well?
What Is Alkaline Water?
Of course, water is already slightly alkaline, with a pH of around 7. Alkaline water is nothing more than normal tap or filtered water that has been ionized to increase its pH level above 7 (and thus the number of negatively charged ions). Although it might sound like an impressive feat on paper, remember that you can adjust the acidity of any liquid by adding baking soda or lemon juice—the concept is practically the same. Some distributors also claim that alkalizing your body through water consumption will help prevent illness and disease (which isn’t really possible), reduce acid reflux (a condition caused by having too much acid in your stomach), strengthen your immune system (which is true), and increase your energy level (though not proven).
The World Health Organization reports that there are no obvious health benefits to drinking alkaline water instead of regular, unless you’re on dialysis with very poor kidney function. For everyone else, there’s no reason to spend the extra money or time on it—tap or filtered water will suffice just fine. Though if alkaline water does sound like something for you, an ionized water pitcher is inexpensive and easy to find online.
Is Alkaline Water Bad For You?
If you choose to drink alkaline water, a carbon filter will remove any impurities and a mineral cartridge can add calcium, magnesium, and potassium (the ingredients found in many popular ionized water brands), but again—this isn’t necessary for its basic purposes. If you do buy an ionized water pitcher, make sure the one you purchase has received third-party testing to prove that it works as promised. It should also be mentioned that there are no official guidelines when it comes to the actual amount of alkaline water you should be drinking each day.
Of course, like any beverage or food item, too much is probably bad for your health. Just stick with common sense: Drink enough to stay hydrated throughout the day, but don’t stress about whether or not you’re getting a healthy dose of alkaline water.
What Alkaline Water Can (And Can’t) Do For You
It is true that our bodies maintain a certain level of acidity and alkalinity at all times, which keeps us alive and well. By pure chance, this delicate balance occurs at a pH of 7—so it would seem that drinking slightly more alkaline water each day could only be beneficial for your health. But as previously stated, there have been no conclusive studies proving otherwise. Like anything else you put into your body on a daily basis, moderation is key when it comes to ionized water as well as any other food or beverage. Drink enough to stay hydrated, but don’t overdo it.
What water should you drink?
The short answer is “water.” If you’re having trouble getting enough water every day—or if you just don’t like the taste of plain old tap water—try infused waters instead. There are plenty of healthy recipes that involve adding ingredients like fruits, herbs, and vegetables into your H2O for natural flavor without added sugars or preservatives.
Altogether, there aren’t magic health benefits linked to ionized water, but there is no solid proof against it either. If you’re looking to switch up your daily beverage intake for a better taste or an all-natural alternative, give ionized water a try—just don’t lose any sleep over ordering the alkaline kind as opposed to the acidic; we can’t stress this enough: It’s all just H20.
How Alkaline Water Works
Ionized water has two negative hydrogen atoms (H+) and one positive hydrogen atom (H3O+). This may sound like nothing more than simple chemistry until you consider that neutral pH levels are 7.0, and anything above 7.0 is considered “alkaline.” By adding positively charged ions of hydrogen to unbalanced molecules/atoms, the ions are able to overcome the molecules’ natural state of acidity.
The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is on a scale of 0-14. Anything with a pH below 7.0 is considered an “acid” while anything with a pH above 7.0 is considered an “alkali.” Healthy human blood has a slightly alkaline pH level between 7.35 and 7.45, which prevents your body’s organs from being damaged by acids in the bloodstream. Water that has gone through ionization begins at around 660ppm (parts per million) but after the process ends, the water will have dropped to about 9ppm – 11ppm depending on where you purchased it from(9ppm is a healthy level, don’t go trying to buy water with a higher ppm than that).
Water is essential for life, and there are many different ways to get your daily dose. Whether you drink regular tap water, infused waters, or ionized water, make sure to drink enough fluids each day to stay hydrated. There is no evidence that drinking alkaline water has any more health benefits than plain old H2O, so don’t stress about whether or not you’re getting the right kind of water. Just drink enough to stay hydrated and enjoy the taste!