Alkaline Water? Yes or No

 Question: Is alkaline water really better than regular water? The answer isn't so cut and dry.

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Browse the shelves of any health food store or wellness center and you're likely to see a selection of alkaline waters, with names like Evamor, Aqua Hydrate and Essentia.

Bottled water is expensive, but some bottled water is more expensive than others. Some of the most expensive brands of bottled water are types of alkaline water. These waters command a high price because their marketing promises a miraculous array of health claims and a cleaner taste than other bottled or tap water. So let's examine the product and the hype.

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Proponents of alkaline water - that is water with a pH higher than that of regular tap water -- cite health benefits ranging from increased energy to less joint pain to clearer focus and better mood.  The general theory of how this works is that although our kidneys usually do a good job at balancing the body's pH, an increase in acid in our bodies — from things we eat and drink like coffee, alcohol, fried foods, and dairy or specific health problems — makes our bodies work overtime to keep the balance. As they are working overtime, the alkaline nutrients are used to balance our bodies' pH instead of being absorbed and doing their other jobs like being antioxidants or keeping us hydrated.

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So what does the science say?  The science that's out there is either funded by the industry or done on such small samples that it's reasonable to say science has not backed up the health claims that marketers and alkaline water supporters are making.

Perhaps those drinking all this alkaline water and finding positive health effects are reaching those conclusions not because of the alkaline in the water but because of the water in the water. Water is good for us. #DrinkMoreWater

It's worth mentioning that it's not just alkaline water that's trendy right now. There's an alkaline diet that is said to have many of the same positive effects of drinking alkaline water. The diet is heavy in fruits and vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, berries, kale, green beans, lettuce greens, cucumbers, peppers, apples, beets and more. When people follow the alkaline diet, they find their health improves. But, common sense tells us that when you're swapping out French fries for kale, your health is going to improve.

Despite the lack of proven scientific research, proponents of drinking alkaline water still believe in its many proposed health benefits, which include:

  • anti-aging properties (via liquid antioxidants that absorb more quickly into the human body)
  • colon-cleansing properties
  • immune system support
  • hydration, skin health, and other detoxifying properties
  • weight loss
  • cancer resistance

Where can you get alkaline water?  Alkaline water can be bought in many grocery or health food stores. It can also be found online. Water ionizers are sold in many large chain stores as well.

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You can also make your own at home. Even though lemon and lime juices are acidic, they contain minerals that can change the composition of water. Adding a squeeze of lemon or lime to a glass of water can make your water more alkaline. Adding pH drops or baking soda is another way to make water more alkaline. It’s important to use distilled water when making alkaline water because tap water or bottled water may have other additives.  Here's one of my favorite Alkaline water recipes and it helps to flush fat!

As with all things in life, balance is key when it comes to alkaline water. If you do decide to drink alkaline water, keep your intake in moderation and be sure to couple it with a healthy, well-rounded diet and regular physical activity to keep your body in tip-top condition. As always, if you have any concerns, be sure to consult with your doctor or a trusted health professional. While it may come with some alkaline water benefits, following a healthy, nutrient-rich diet filled with lots of whole foods and fresh fruits and veggies is still the best way to maintain a proper pH balance and keep you healthy. In the end, alkaline water cannot replace the array of essential nutrients that your body needs from food and water.

Happy drinking!!  #DrinkMoreWater