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Why You Need a Water Filter

By now, we all know that water is important for health. Regular H2O consumption keeps you feeling energized, your skin moisturized, and — most of all — it keeps you alive! But something you might not be considering when you reach for your glass is the quality of the water you’re drinking.

Things like heavy metals, pesticides, and certain bacteria can plague unfiltered water and cause serious health problems. And though bottled water might have fewer of these contaminants, plastic bottles are a whole other worry.

Your best and safest option for healthy hydration is a reusable metal bottle and an at-home filtration system. But with the large number of filters to choose from, wading through terms like “reverse osmosis” and “alkaline” can make it hard to know which one to pick. I want to help you sort through the junk (literally) when it comes to getting the cleanest and healthiest water — and fill you in on some of my personal favorites.

What’s in the Water?

When compared to other places in the world, the United States has very high-quality water. But there are ways that it can be improved. Depending on where you live, water straight from the tap may contain heavy metals. In certain regions, higher levels of radium (a known carcinogen) can be found in drinking water. Plus, the Safe Drinking Water Act regulates only 91 possible water contaminants, but there are around 60,000 other chemicals that could be making their way into your tap water. Anything from lead to chlorine are all too commonly found in water. When consumed regularly, these chemicals can have detrimental effects on your health.

Why You Need a Water Filter

In order to get truly clean tap water, you’re going to need a water filter. Filters help to remove many of the heavy metals and contaminants that may be lurking in your water. There are plenty on the market, so it can be hard to choose the right one.

A reverse osmosis filter is the kind that I use at home. I always recommend this type of water filter, as it tends to be the most effective at removing contaminants. Instead of simply filtering the water, reverse osmosis filters purify it, removing about 99 percent of all unwanted substances. The downside is that they tend to be more expensive than other filters and operate a bit slower.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you might go with a carbon water filter. They’re less expensive and remove certain unwanted minerals and chemicals, but they don’t always get all the heavy metals.

An alkaline filter is another great option. It filters water and adjusts the pH, making the water alkaline (with a pH greater than 7). Ideally, your water should have a pH of somewhere between 8 and 9.5. Alkaline water helps to bring your body into a neutral state (pH 7), balancing acidity and improving your health. One 2012 study showed that drinking water with a pH of 8.8 can help buffer stomach acid and improve symptoms in those who experience reflux. With alkaline filters, though, you may want to consider a second type of filter to ensure that contaminants are removed.

If you’re the only one who’s drinking the water, a water pitcher with a filter would likely be enough for you.

With all filters, you have to change them regularly or contaminants will build up and leave your water worse than it started.

Delivery Is an Option, Too

If you’re not a tap water kind of person, there are services that ship large amounts of high-quality water right to your doorstep. Such services can be a bit of a splurge, but for big events with large drinking water requirements, I love Hallstein. The company supplies alkaline water from an aquifer in the Austrian Alps, where it is protected from many of the typical environmental contaminants. It delivers the water in 5-gallon BPA-free bottles (so important if you’re buying water in plastic).

Clean, fresh, and filtered water is better for your health and has an improved taste (yes, water has a taste!). Make sure you are getting the best at all times to keep feeling refreshed and replenished.

Photo: Ruth Black

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