Supercharge Your Water
For proponents of one trendy watertreatment device, altering the atoms in your tap water could help fight disease and strengthen overall health. Known as water ionizers, these faucet attachment systems use an electric current to spur a chemical reaction that creates water that varies from mildly alkaline to highly alkaline. This allows you to gradually adjust to higher levels of alkaline drinking water. With regular intake of alkaline water, ionizer manufacturers suggest, you can speed up your metabolism, slow the aging process and knock out free radicals, which are known to cause disease. The evidence is scant, but animal and in vitro studies suggest that long-term consumption of alkaline water may lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and prevent against DNA damage. One good system for providing the alkaline water that might help balance your body’s pH levels and guard against disease is the Jupiter Melody Ionizer ($1,495 at ionizers.org). However, some experts advise a cautious approach, so you may want to save your pennies until clinical trials can confirm the marketing claims.
Another class of treatment devices, water oxygenators, aims to up the health value of tap water by increasing its concentration of oxygen. But while oxygenated water is often touted as a natural energy-booster, several studies show that this “super H20” does little to pump up aerobic performance or athletic endurance, as claimed by manufacturers. Electrolyte-enhanced water, on the other hand, can be vital to replenishing essential minerals lost after a hard workout. “If you’re exercising for a long time or in a hot environment, sweating can deplete your body of substantial amounts of electrolytes,” says Fort Collins, Colo.-based physiologist and nutritionist Deborah Shulman, Ph.D. To replace those electrolytes—minerals that help regulate blood acidity and muscle action—fill up on water that contains potassium and sodium. Try Glaceau’s SmartWater ($34 for a case of 24 20-ounce bottles; bottledwaterstore.com) or add a few drops of Elete Electrolyte Add-In to your glass ($55 for enough to make 40 eight-ounce glasses, eletewater.com). As for vitamin-infused water, steer clear of those containing sweeteners, recommends Vasey; and don’t rely on them as a primary source of vitamins and minerals—you’re better off taking your vitamins in capsule form and washing them down with lots of pure, clear H2O. However, to add flavor and a quick burst of antioxidants, try chopping up juicy seasonal fruits and letting them soak in your water pitcher for about 15 minutes before sipping. “The body can better use the nutrients it takes in through food, especially if those foods are whole and organic,” says Vasey.