We no longer need to be reminded of the health benefits of drinking water. Good hydration promotes good sleep, a good mood and overall good health – and while sweetener-filled drinks or swigs of sugary pop may hydrate you, they unfortunately bring a lot more to the table, too.
It is undisputed that water is unrivalled in almost all ways: it is readily availability; cheap or even free; and of course, it is also calorie-free. But isn’t regular tap water fine? Well, sadly it’s not always quite so straightforward...
While tap water is safe in some places, in many others it also lacks regulation and consistency. What’s more, purified water has some over-riding benefits that you may not have considered. Let’s explore them.
1. Purified water is free from nasties
While the European Drinking Water Directive aims to “protect human health from potential dangers arising from the quality of drinking water”, it is widely accepted that unfortunately, these standards are not being met consistently, nor are they met everywhere. Even within the same country – or the same region, within that country – there are huge discrepancies between what comes out of the tap.
Across Portugal, for example, standards range from being classified as “unsatisfactory” to “good”, while on the Greek islands water quality is variable. In Albania, the tap water should never be drunk, and other countries such as Bulgaria have issues with consistency.
One of worrying problems lies in the fact that harmful pathogens – such as bacteria like E.coli or Salmonella – cannot be detected from the water’s appearance, smell or even taste. Water-borne illnesses occasionally cause localised outbreaks, even in EU countries such as Italy.
To be sure your glass of water is safe to drink, opt for purified water. Look for a reputable water filter shop that stocks a range of different purification and filtration devices, so you can find something that suits the needs of your home or office.
2. Purified water tastes better
We all know that feeling of dread when you visit a new country or region, and you turn on the tap to get a drink. Will it be too chalky? Perhaps it will leave a metallic taste in your mouth after. Or, even worse, will it also bring along the pungent aroma of chlorine that you only ever want to find at the swimming pool? Some of the most alarming descriptions of tap water have included reports of it tasting “fishy”, “mouldy”, like “sulphur” and even like “wet dog”.
Purified water has been through a filtration process, but as this does not use any metal filters, metallic components or chemicals, it results in a very neutral taste. And while neutral may not be good in all areas of life, when it comes to how your water tastes, it most certainly is. Indeed, purified water can be thought of as the most essential form of water: it is clean, pure, uncontaminated and hydrating.
3. It helps save the planet
While tap water of course comes plastic-free, many of us choose not to drink it on a regular basis, either out of concern for its safety, or a dislike of its flavour. Those of us who do drink tap water are still more likely to indulge in bottled soft drinks, juices or cans of soda when what comes out of the tap is failing to hit the spot and quench your thirst.
Buying just two or three small bottles of soft drinks a week equates to 3.5 kilograms of plastic waste a year – and that’s before we even factor in those of us who rely solely on bottled water. While technically these containers can be recycled, most of them are not, simply due to the ever-increasing logistical challenge it presents. Consequently, they find themselves littering the bottom of our oceans, or devastatingly, in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
A simple counter-top gravity water filter in the home provides an easy solution to constant pleasant-tasting, safe water. Since it only requires a one-off purchase, the financial advantages in the long run are also clear.
4. Purified water eliminates micro-plastics
Speaking of plastic, did you know that 83% of water samples tested from around the world showed evidence of plastic fibres? The results were, perhaps unsurprisingly, even worse for bottled water. And since micro-plastics have been linked to a whole range of undesirable effects (including, but not limited to, oxidative stress, DNA damage and widespread inflammation), it is altogether better to avoid them where possible.
Water which has been purified using a simple filter such as the counter-top British Berkefeld water filter, gets rid of potentially toxic molecules such as micro-plastics. It also eliminates substances such as pharmaceutical products that can wend their way into the water supply via agriculture as well as their excretion from individuals taking medication.
5. It keeps you better hydrated
This is perhaps an odd one since no, purified water isn’t actually better at hydrating the body than regular tap water. But research shows that those who have access to filtered or purified water consistently drink more fluids. This might be for a number of reasons. Firstly, as we have seen, purified water tastes better. This could make you more likely to opt for a glass of water, rather than nipping out for a can of soda. Secondly, there may be an additional subconscious element at play, which leads you to recognise the benefits of purified water, and as such, drink more of it.
Whatever the reason, it is clear that better hydration leads to a whole host of other benefits, such as clarity of mind, more supple joints, and even a more active immune system. All of these contribute to an overall sense of well-being that can’t be overlooked!
While on the whole, tap water in the EU is adequate, that doesn’t necessarily make it desirable for drinking on an everyday basis. Whether it’s because of its taste, concerns regarding the consistency of its safety, or because you’re worried about micro-plastics seeping in, purified water offers an easy solution to ensure the water you and your family drink is safe and delicious. Bottoms up!