Water: two hydrogen atoms bonded with an oxygen atom. Sounds simple but it’s the reason that we all exist. The health and wellness industry tends to complicate the effortless simplicity of water so the Sweet Freedom perspective is here to filter out the confusion.

Humans can go without food for over two weeks if they’re adequately hydrated but without water, we can only survive for three days. Considering we are made up mostly of water, around 65%, this is not surprising.

As humans have moved away from natural sources of water and toward cities where tap water is the norm for hydration, the quality of that hydration has decreased dramatically.

The issue of chlorine and pharmaceutical drug residues making it into drinking water makes it extremely difficult to rely on tap water as a natural form of hydration. One study from 2009 revealed that there were trace amounts of 27 pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupting chemicals found in drinking water throughout the United States.

Water treatment is not completely effective at removing these chemicals that make it into our water supply through human waste as well as through the disposal of these pharmaceuticals (think of how many people flush leftover medication).

The water treatment industry has jumped on the opportunity to monetize a resource we cannot live without by creating fancy alkalizing machines and distilling water.

Distilling water is the process of evaporating water and leaving behind everything else found in it. This is effective for stripping harmful chemicals but it not only strips the harmful stuff, it also takes out all of those beneficial minerals that help our bodies to use that water.

The issue with distilled water is that you’re not getting all of those minerals with your water intake which can be doing you a disservice in the long run. Only drinking distilled water can lead to gut imbalances because your body is not used to drinking water at that pH. The lack of minerals in the water leaves your body is unable to assimilate those water molecules effectively. This means you can actually end up being thirsty after drinking purified water.

When it comes to sourcing a good natural source of hydration, go for glass bottled spring water. If you’re lucky enough to live near a source of spring water in nature, go on an adventure and bottle it yourself.

If you’re thinking of investing in a fancy machine to purify your water, keep in mind that these products are often made in underdeveloped countries where their production actually ends up polluting the water of the local population. It’s also necessary to assess your diet because no amount of alkaline water is going to compensate for an acidic diet.

If distilled or purified water is your only option, add some seaweeed, kombu or even a dash of salt so that you’re not missing out on all of the benefits to the nourishing minerals that come with drinking spring water.

Eat green and invest in spring water, but most importantly, listen to your body. This is the most valuable thing you can do when it comes to hydration because it will ultimately guide you to know exactly how much water you should be drinking each day.

Benotti, M., Trenholm, R., Vanderford, B., Holady, J., Stanford, B. and Snyder, S. (2009). Pharmaceuticals and Endocrine Disrupting Compounds in U.S. Drinking Water. Environmental Science & Technology, 43(3), pp.597-603.