Six Tips for Safer Drinking Water

February 26, 2014 Updated: February 25, 2014

Water is the origin of life. It can increase your energy, improve your complexion, and keep your eyes looking clear. Water also carries nutrients to every cell in the body, helps the kidneys cleanse the body of toxins, improves circulation, and lubricates joints.

For centuries, Chinese medicine has advocated drinking clean water for optimal health. There are several ways to make the water you drink on a regular basis safer.

1. Run Your Tap Before Drinking

After sitting idle in the pipe all night, tap water is prone to carry a higher amount of bacteria. Always let the water run for a few minutes before drinking it. The water will be much cleaner. The running water from the first five minutes can be collected for washing or for watering plants.

2. Keep Bottled Water Cool

Plastic bottles contain plasticizers to improve the plastic’s flexibility and durability. If bottled water is stored for too long, a small amount of plasticizer will mix with the water. When consumed, the smell of plastic can be easily discerned. Bottled water should be stored in a cool place out of direct sunlight.

3. Boil Water Lightly

Water that is kept boiling for an extended period of time or was boiled multiple times is problematic.

Tap water contains organic and inorganic matter. If tap water is boiled for a long time, the concentration of matter will increase. For example, the amount of lead in tap water is within established safety limits; however, lead does not get boiled out of water, so the longer the water is boiled, the more concentrated lead becomes as the water evaporates.

Chlorine is usually used to sterilize tap water. Once a small amount of a pollutant in the water is compounded with chlorine, a type-A carcinogen variant can form. The longer the water is boiled, the more carcinogens are created.

The best thing to do when boiling water is to take it off the heat once it starts to boil. Dump out previously boiled water and start with fresh water for each boil. Most bacteria and viruses are killed when the water starts boiling and cannot survive at temperatures higher than 175 Fahrenheit.

4. Drink Boiled Water Soon

When boiled water is left for an extended period of time, the nitrogen-bearing compounds in it will decompose into nitrites, which are known carcinogens.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that boiled water be consumed on the same day it was heated.

5. Taste-Test Your Mineral Water

Many people believe mineral water is the best water. In fact, not all mineral water is actually suitable for drinking. For example, if the fluorine content of water from a mineral spring is very high, like one in a suburb of Tianjin City in China, it can cause long-term issues like osteofluorosis (skeletal changes caused by too much fluorine intake) and dental fluorosis (mottling of tooth enamel from excessive fluorine).

The mineral content of natural mineral water is very critical. If the content is right, the water will taste refreshing. Mineral water that tastes metallic or earthy should be avoided.

6. Drink More Than Just Purified Water

While water filters do absorb bacteria and viruses that may exist in the water, the activated charcoal used in most water purifiers can also remove and deplete beneficial minerals from the water, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

Since these minerals are beneficial to human health, it is not recommended to drink only purified water.

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