Can alkaline water boost your metabolism?
Despite the majority of the world having access to safe drinking water, we still spend over $100 billion on bottled water per year. In the past, water was just water but now we are greeted with an ever expanding selection – water with electrolytes, flavoured water, water from a spring, water from a glacier, water from Fiji, and so on.
America (like with most things) leads the world in both bottled water consumption and health trends. So when our very own Bianca Cheah visited the United States last month, she was intrigued to discover that Americans are now drinking a different water altogether: alkaline water.
First, a quick recap of high school chemistry: potential hydrogen (pH) is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The scale runs from zero to 14, with seven being neutral, everything below being acidic and above being alkaline. Natural spring water sits comfortably at a neutral pH while alkaline water tends to lean closer to a nine on the scale. Changing the pH of water doesn’t affect the taste but apparently it has significant benefits to our health and longevity.
Proponents of alkaline water tout it as the foundation of youth and key to our long-term wellbeing due to its ability to detoxify, hydrate and boost our antioxidants.
Research has shown that diseased cells thrive and multiply within a low oxygen and acidic environment. Terminally ill patients typically have an acidity level around 1000 times that of healthy individuals.
And while our bodies are designed to regulate our pH levels, it has been suggested that the ‘western’ diet – or our love of fried and processed foods, sugars and simple carbohydrates – has inhibited this automatic mechanism.
It is crucial that we maintain the correct pH balance of our cells and tissues to preserve healthy body function and to prevent creating a hospitable environment for disease. Proponents of alkaline water believe that drinking this holy liquid can do just this by neutralising the acidity in our bodies and removing acid waste products from our cells.
Advocates for this supposed panacea also claim that alkaline water has a higher potential for hydration than regular H2O because it has fewer water molecules. It has four to six molecules per cluster (as opposed to 10 to 15) which allows the molecules to be more easily and quickly absorbed by body tissue and cells.
Alkaline water is rich in alkaline minerals which are essential to the body’s physiology. These include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron and zinc. It has antioxidant properties that neutralise free radicals in your bloodstream and block free radical damage to your body.
The list of benefits (written by advocates) of alkaline water is never-ending. It’s said to be metabolism boosting, immunity enhancing, disease preventing, and anti-ageing. Some reports even suggest that drinking alkaline water can slow bone loss.
There is currently no scientific evidence to indicate that drinking alkaline water can cause either benefit or harm. But if there’s no harm in trying, the true test will be how it makes you feel and since the likes of Elle MacPherson and Beyonce drink it, we’re open to giving it a go.