In other words, the jury is still out.
Malkani noted that “if all the body systems are functioning as they should be, the blood pH isn’t going to vary too much. So it’s a misconception that you can, by drinking an alkaline water, drastically affect the pH of the body.”
Illnesses are common causes for changes in the blood pH level. Diabetes can make your blood more acidic, but kidney problems can make it more alkaline. Certain foods, including dairy products, also can make your blood more acidic.
It is more common for companies to manufacture alkaline water, but natural alkaline water can occur when water picks up minerals from areas such as springs, when it passes over rocks in the environment.
“Alkaline compounds are salts and metals that, when added to water, make it more basic,” Malkani said.
All in all, the general consensus among health experts for now is that making sure you are drinking enough water is more important than the type of water you prefer.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend that men drink an average of about 3.7 liters (125 ounces) of water each day and that women drink about 2.7 liters (91 ounces). That water can come from beverages and foods, according to the recommendations.
So, for men and women respectively, “that’s 15 cups of water and 11 cups of water, from the eight cups we were taught to believe,” Fatakhov said.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated, according to the Mayo Clinic, which noted that the Office on Women’s Health recommends that women who breastfeed consume about 13 cups of fluids a day.
“America is dehydrated,” Fatakhov said, and that’s a problem because “83% of your lungs is water. If you take the heart and the brain, 73% is water. If you take the bones, about 31% is water. If you take the kidneys and muscles, about 76% is water. Your body is made up of water.”
‘Water boosts energy’
Water not only benefits your health, it could help you control your weight.
A study published in the Annals of Family Medicine in 2016 found a significant association between not being adequately hydrated and having an elevated body mass index, known as BMI.
BMI is determined based on a person’s height and weight. Having a BMI of 30 or higher is categorized as obese.
The study was based on data from 9,528 people ages 18 to 64, whose levels of hydration were measured in urine samples. Those whose samples showed inadequate hydration tended to have higher BMIs and higher odds of being obese, compared with the hydrated adults.
Water can benefit weight management because staying hydrated helps you better understand when you are actually hungry, and it can boost your metabolism and energy.
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“Because of our high water content, it makes sense that our bodies need water to keep our systems functioning. So the next time you hit that afternoon slump, drink a glass of water to increase your energy levels,” Fatakhov said.
“Think about it like this: I tell you to drink water, and you drink water. Your body has to convert that water back to your body temperature. So if you drink cold water, your body has to turn it back to body temperature,” he said. “That’s why they say it’s better to drink cold water than hot water if you’re trying to burn calories.”
If you think you’re not drinking enough water, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some tips:
- Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day for easy access to water.
- Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, even when eating out.
- Add a wedge of lime or lemon to water to help improve taste.
- Try chilling freezer-safe water bottles for easy access to ice-cold water throughout the day.