Drinking alkaline water is a relatively new trend that can have some serious impacts on your health, including improving digestion, improving hormonal balance, strengthening bones, boosting the metabolism, reducing anxiety, eliminating inflammation and aiding the immune system.
What is Alkaline Water?
As everyone reading this surely knows, water is an incredibly important element of human health. It is also something that you should drink every day. While most tap water has a neutral pH of 7.0, alkaline water is slightly higher, usually around 8 or 9. Now, it is important to understand the effect that this can have, or at least what the intended effect is. Based on a North American diet, and many other diets around the world, there is the belief that many people suffer from chronic low-grade acidosis, meaning that our bodies are slightly more acidic than we’d like. Our bodies work very hard to keep the overall pH balance even, despite the fact that our stomach is extremely acidic (in order to help with digestion), and alkaline substances counter that acidity in order to reduce inflammation and discomfort. Many of our other organs are able to fluctuate their pH depending on conditions within the body; however, the overall pH of the body should be kept at approximately 7.4 to ensure good health. An acidic condition within the body is a prime condition for disease to develop.
As a result, alkaline water is believed to counter this general leaning towards acidosis that so many of us suffer from. Even if a regular test of pH in the body doesn’t show acidosis, it is possible that the body is leaching important minerals from the bones and other storehouses in the body to maintain a healthy pH, but the effects of that leaching can also be quite dangerous. By adding alkaline water to your diet, you are giving a constant boost of pH to balance out the acid-heavy diet that may be quietly threatening your health. Alkaline water is also known as ionized water, and has a larger concentration of minerals. Naturally alkaline water comes from mountain streams, after it has run over rocks and picked up excess minerals, such as calcium, potassium, bicarbonate and silica. While there is still some debate over this new trend of alkaline water, there are some health benefits that can be enjoyed by switching over to alkaline water.
Health Benefits of Alkaline Water
Health benefits of alkaline water includes the following:
Research has shown that increased acid levels in the body can make you more prone to anxiety and the release of stress hormones in the body. Not only does this increase the strain on your body, but also saps your energy and can negatively affect your hormone levels that affect other key functions of your body. Alkaline water can counter that acidity and keep your hormones in check.
It has been found that an acid setting is the ideal place for disease to spread, versus an alkaline condition in the body. For example, tumors and other symptoms of oxidative stress and free radicals survive better in acidic conditions than in neutral or alkaline settings. If you want to keep your immune system in good shape, balancing acidity with alkaline water is a wise choice.
Improves Gastrointestinal Function
The stomach is the most acidic place in the body, with a pH level of approximately 1.5-3. This is important, as acid is required to properly break down food and digest it. However, excess acidity in the stomach that isn’t countered by alkalizing agents will lead to acid reflux disease, which can damage the esophagus and lead to inflammation in the gut.
By having a more balanced pH level in the body, your metabolic functions will be optimized. Acidosis in the body impairs your cells’ ability to produce energy, which is necessary for everything in life. While the change might not be immediately noticeable, the effects of alkaline water can be significant in terms of giving you an extra boost.
Lowers Oxidative Stress
Some of the minerals that alkaline water possesses can have antioxidant effects on the body, eliminating oxidative stress and the potential mutations of healthy cells caused by free radicals. This can also help your skin look younger, and reduce other age-related symptoms, such as blemishes on the skin, osteoporosis and even cognitive decline.
When your body has an elevated level of acidity, it can cause irritation and inflammation in many parts of the body. This isn’t limited to the stomach, although that is where most excess acid situations occur. Alkaline water can help to lubricate muscles and joints, and ensure that pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and even asthma are handled effectively.
Strengthens the Bones
As mentioned above, many people believe that the small occurrence of chronic low-grade acidosis is due to the body naturally compensating for the lack of alkaline minerals by pulling them from the bones in order to maintain a stable pH. However, this will speed up the process of osteoporosis and bone mineral loss, which can be a major problem as you get older.
By eliminating an acid-leaning pH balance in the body, every organ system is able to function more efficiently, including your hormones, enzymes and metabolic processes. This can lead to better fat-burning, more efficient digestion, increased energy and a boosted immune system.
Improves Heart Health
Some research studies have found acidosis can be indicative of heart problems, including high cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as an increased risk of diabetes. Drinking alkaline water regularly to counter this acidity in the body can help protect your heart.
Final Word of Warning: Many of these potential health benefits of alkaline water have been disputed by other researchers, and the usage of alkaline water is still very much up for debate. However, there is enough anecdotal evidence and proven research on acidity levels to make many of these claims. That being said, excessive alkalinity in the body is also not good, because a certain level of acidity is required for the normal functioning of the digestive system. Alkaline water should only be added to your health regiment if you speak to your doctor about your particular condition.