Take a walk down the drink aisle at your local grocery store and you’ll probably be surprised by the number of different types of bottled water you see. They all advertise something different, from spring water to vitamin-enriched and everything in between. You may also notice some bottles that mention the pH level in the water and how that may benefit your health.
But does the pH level of your water even matter?
What is pH?
Scientifically speaking, pH measures the concentration of hydrogen ion in a solution. It’s based on a scale where 7 is considered neutral. Solutions with a lower concentration of hydrogen ions have a higher pH (basic), and those with a higher concentration are low pH (acidic). For example, orange juice has a pH of 3.3, which means it’s acidic. Black coffee has a pH of about 5, baking soda is around 9, and bleach has a pH of 12. There aren’t many foods or drinks humans consume that are over the neutral pH of 7.0.
What is the pH of water?
The pH of your water should only matter if it’s caustic enough to hurt you. Most commercial uncontaminated bottled water won’t make you healthier or sick due to its pH. Depending on the source and processing, most bottled water stays between a pH of 5 to 8.
Your body likes to stay at around a blood pH of 7.4, which is almost neutral. The pH of your body depends on how well your kidneys are doing their job. If your water is too “acidic” or too “basic” — meaning it’s been contaminated with caustic cleaners or acids — your pH can be thrown off, which could make you very sick, damage certain tissues, or even kill you.
A few bottled water brands run almost toward a pH of 8, but slightly more alkaline water doesn’t mean you’ll get additional health benefits. There isn’t any solid scientific evidence that says eating more alkaline foods or drinking alkaline water helps keep a person more disease-free than someone who doesn’t.
How much water should you drink every day?
The recommendation for most people is to drink 64 ounces of water daily, but that’s just a general recommendation. Some people may need more and some may need less depending on what their day is like. More exertion throughout the day usually means you’ll need more. Also, if the temperature is hotter outside, you’ll probably need more water to stay hydrated.
How do you know if you should drink more water?
Some signs of dehydration are:
- Your urine is a medium to dark yellow
- You have a dry mouth or throat
- The skin on the back of your hand takes a while to smooth out after pinching
- Having a small headache
If you experience any of these symptoms, you may need to increase your water intake by another cup or so. Other ways to stay healthy and disease-free are to eat more fruits and vegetables, use portion control, eat more whole grains, and get active and exercise for at least 30 minutes or more every day!
When it comes to hydration, the best advice is to replace drinking soda or excessive amounts of fruit juice with water — and in most cases, plain tap water will do the trick.