By Kirsten Serrano
We all know we need water to live, but is “upgrading” your water worth it? An entire industry has built up around not just bottled water, but also water with additives from vitamins to caffeine and even CBD. Let’s cut through some of the nonsense and look at a few water upgrades that are worth your time and money.
Remineralizing your water. If you, like me, are drinking filtered water (especially by reverse osmosis), remineralizing your water is a smart investment. Water is meant to come to us with trace minerals, but filtration can remove them. Water usually contains calcium and magnesium, but also trace minerals like zinc, selenium, copper, sodium and manganese (among others).
In the case of reverse osmosis filtration, the minerals are removed completely and that is a problem. A World Health Organization report laid out the very real health risks from demineralized water including hypertension and coronary heart disease, gastric and duodenal ulcers, chronic gastritis, goiter, pregnancy complications and several complications in newborns and infants.
Options for remineralizing your water: Some water filtration systems offer remineralization, but you can add your own after the fact.
Add mineral rich salt. Himalayan salt contains 84 trace minerals and is inexpensive. Adding a pinch to your water will improve flavor while nourishing you. Cooking with this kind of salt is another way to make sure you are getting these trace minerals.
Add mineral drops. I have a bottle of trace minerals sitting next to my reverse osmosis water faucet and add drops before I drink. You can experiment with the amount that tastes good to you.
Apple Cider Vinegar. If all the hype was true, apple cider vinegar would have already cured everything and everyone. Despite the overblown claims, there are compelling reasons to add some ACV to your water.
It improves digestion. If you have reflux, taking some ACV in water a few minutes before eating may help. By boosting the acidity of the stomach, the entire digestive process is enhanced.
It improves blood sugar. Numerous studies have shown decreased postprandial (post meal) blood sugar levels decrease significantly in insulin resistant and type 2 diabetic individuals when ACV is taken before a meal. The acetic acid in ACV helps glucose get out of the bloodstream and into muscles and has been compared to Metformin.
If the idea of drinking some vinegar in your water is not appealing, there are a few ways to make it easier to swallow. Here are a couple to check out:
Sipping vinegars: These are products designed to make drinking vinegar more enjoyable. Some are meant to be drunk straight from the bottle as a “tonic” and are highly diluted and others are concentrates meant to be added to water. In general, they have some fruit juice added and perhaps a sweetener.
Shrubs: Shrubs are really a type of sipping vinegar that was developed to preserve fruits in England and colonial America. Vinegar would be poured over seasonal fruits. The fruit would later be strained out, sugar or honey would be added, and the liquid reduced into a concentrate. In this way, the fruit could be stored to enjoy year-round. Shrubs are making a comeback now as Americans rediscover the benefits and discover new tastes.
Water is already the perfect beverage. All of the drops and packets meant to flavor and sweeten water are usually doing nothing for your health. Remineralization and adding a little vinegar are ways you can smartly “upgrade” water to enhance your health.
1. HEALTH RISKS FROM DRINKING DEMINERALISED WATER Frantisek Kozisek National Institute of Public Health Czech Republic, https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutrientschap12.pdf
2 Diabetes Care 2004 Jan; 27(1): 281-282.https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.27.1.281
Kirsten Serrano is a nutrition consultant, chef, farmer, food literacy educator and the best-selling author of “Eat to Your Advantage.” You can find out more about her work at SmallWonderFood.com.