In this Monday Basics Series, I have touched on the importance of water consumption and the timing around that consumption. I have a few more water-intake posts planned for later this year, but today, in honour of The Minding and Upkeep of You, (a new thing I'm doing with my one-on-one practice with clients) I am going over one of the first and most basic changes I recommend to my newest clients: SWITCH TO FILTERED.
We're talking water, of course. We're talking nix the straight up tap water, instead filtering it so it's of gentler support to your body. There are lots of reasons, first and foremost because of chlorine. This chemical is found in our tap water and thank goodness it is – to be clear, this prevents our water supply from contamination which means it saves us from disease and infection from bacteria that could be found in our water supply. Adding chlorine to our drinking water means we can prevent getting sick from water-borne diseases like cholera, E.coli and Giardia. Really quite brilliant, yes. But all of this disinfecting comes with a price.
Chlorine reacts chemically with other substances naturally found in our water or ones that are in our bodies to form dangerous toxins that have been linked to certain human illnesses like asthma, eczema, cardiovascular disease and bladder issues and linked to damaging effects of many organs and systems including the heart, kidney and central nervous system. These byproducts contribute to free radical buildup and damage in our bodies too, which can contribute to cell damage and setting the stage for cancer. We are all biochemically unique individuals, and so how much each person is affected by the chlorine in our drinking water differs from one person to another.
Another big concern with chlorine is that it is just that, a bacteria-erasing chemical. If our guts have microflora or probiotics or good gut guys, whatever you want to call them, this chlorinated water is going to eradicate what we are trying to cultivate. Having good microflora in our gut (or a balanced microbiome) is essential to overall optimal health and immune support. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend watching this video to understand the magnitude of looking after our gut flora. So by filtering our water, we will be ensuring a more hospitable environment where our gut microbiome can thrive and in turn, look after us. Win-win, kids, win-win.
As well, the chlorine in water has been shown to have a negative effect on the thyroid. In the body, the chlorine molecule looks a lot like the iodine molecule; if you look on the periodic table of elements, chlorine is in the same column as iodine, and the same one as fluorine and bromine. Studies now show that ingesting these chemicals can run interference with organs that depend on iodine, chiefly the thyroid. There is even some suggestions to add a chlorine filter to our shower heads!
SOURCING OUR WATER
As water is fundamental to our body's function and living, it is imperative we ensure our water source is the cleanest possible, and that we pay attention to limiting the negative effects of some of the chemicals that can be found in our water. Our best choice? For drinking water, go with spring water as this natural unprocessed water source is controlled and measured for any volatile compounds or contamination from local agricultural or industrial sources.
But ensuring spring water as your main drinking source is not a possibility for everyone; my second best recommendation would be to invest in a good water filter. There are many options out there, find the one that will best fit your budget. Shop around, ask friends what they like. Check to see if your refrigerator's water supply came with a filter! If it did, make sure you're changing your filter on a regular basis. If you're going for a stand-alone filtering system, there are jugs or stand systems with charcoal filters that are great at removing chlorine, some particulate matter and some of the heavy metals as well as some bacteria, parasites and most viruses. But these carbon filters can be a breeding ground for bacteria: make sure to change your filters on a regular basis. They do remove the majority of chlorine but won't take out fluoride. Not a concern in Calgary, as our city has since removed the fluoride that used to be added to our water. For those in Calgary who would like to know more about our water supply, follow this link.
Reverse osmosis systems may be the way to go for some, as it takes out 100% of all organic matter including the minerals; know that you should consider re-incorporating minerals into that water for drinking purposes. Adding a pinch of sea salt to your jug of RO water may be just fine, or running it through a system that will re-introduce minerals may work for you too. What system you choose is a personal choice; do your own research to find which one best suits your needs and budget.
Because your thyroid, your gut called and your immune system all called. They say thanks, in advance.
I often have gut and thyroid based talks on the go, make sure to check on the Events page to see if something is on the horizon. You might find the information presented useful!
For those who ferment at home, getting a water filter of sorts will be of great benefit to you, as chlorinated water also halts or may hinder the fermentation process. Think of the doors that will open up with this new filter in your life!