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DO NOT drink distilled water

Can you drink distilled water?

Let me put the question another way... are you a car battery? Isn't that what's distilled water is for?

More seriously, the answer is both yes and no. Yes, you can drink distilled water in the sense that you will not drop dead if you drink it.

But no, it is not wise to drink distilled, "100 percent pure" water as a daily drink. Because after a while, you will start to feel weak.

There are some health writers who not only recommend drinking distilled water, but even insist that distilled water is the "only" water suitable for drinking.

They argue that distilled water is the purest from of water available and that we benefit greatly from its strong cleansing properties.

This is more or less correct. Water obtained through distillation - by boiling and then condensing the steam - is very pure. And it does have strong cleansing properties.

Cleansing with distilled water

So if you drink distilled water as part of a cleansing / detoxification programme, you MAY initially feel healthier as body toxins are discharged.

I emphasise the word "may" because whatever benefits of drinking distilled water come with a heavy price. Fasting with distilled water can be dangerous because the body rapidly loses electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride and trace minerals like magnesium. This, in turn, can lead to irregular heart beats and high blood pressure.

Cleasing if only one aspect of health and the people who recommend distilled water are paying too much attention to this small aspect.

Those familiar with the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine will know that cleansing foods - such as daikon radish, which cleanses oils and fats from the body - are weakening. It is okay to take some of them, but not too much.

Even if you are not familiar with (or do not believe in) Traditional Chinese Medicine, this weakening effect is commonly observed. People who start to drink distilled water on a regular basis usually start to become weak and lacking in energy after a few months.

Misguided advice

To me, the recommendation to drink distilled water is one of the most misguided pieces of health advice regarding water. Various other forms of treated water, such as artificial alkaline water, are, in my opinion, equally misguided.

This is not surprising because water is an extremely complex substance and few people truly understand water.

I don't fully understand water either and dare not claim that all I write about water is correct. But I am at least confident enough to say that there is more to water than just purity. Other important aspects of water include its pH balance, conductivity (due to presence of minerals), freedom from electrical influences and possibly even its "memory".

Based on what I understand about water. here then are my reasons not to drink distilled water.

Not natural

Distillation, or rather, evaporation, is supposed to be nature's way of purifying water. When water is evaoporated or boiled, only pure water rises as avaporation or steam. When that water condenses again into liquid, what we get is pure water.

BUT... In nature, such pure water does not exist. Because the moment this pure water comes into contact with the air, it dissolves elements in the air, particularly carbon dioxide.

In the (distant) past, when the world was pollution free, rain water would have been very close to being absolutely pure. There was not much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Even then, the only way to drink such pure water would be to catch rain water from mid-air and drink it there and then. The moment water hits the ground - as stream, underground or spring water - it is no longer pure.

So the idea that we should drink distilled water because it is pure, is not a natural idea. In nature, people do not drink distilled water. Instead, humans have always drunk water from wells, springs, streams, rivers and other sources, all of which are not pure.

Acidic water

The pH of water is a measure of its acidity or alkalinity and pure water is supposed to have a pH of 7.0, which is neutral - neither acidic nor alkaline.

If you measure the pH of distilled water, you may be surprised to find that it has a pH of between 5.6 and 7.0, that is, from slightly acidic to neutral. And it is very seldom neutral, most often slightly acidic.

This is because "pure" distilled water readily dissolves carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to form carbonic acid. And in today's not-so-clean environment, the air may contain other chemical gases that get dissolved by distilled water into acids.

When you drink distilled water, therefore, you are most likely drinking acidic water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns: "Distilled water, being essentially mineral-free, is very aggressive, in that it tends to dissolve substances with which it is in contact. Notably, carbon dioxide from the air is rapidly absorbed, making the water acidic and even more aggressive. Many metals are dissolved by distilled water."

Yet is is a common observation that the healthiest and longest-living people in the world are found in areas where the water is naturally alkaline. They drink naturally alkaline water - but artificially produced alkaline water is a different matter altogether!

If naturally alkaline water is healthy, then it is only fair to conclude that acidic water is not healthy.

Plastic water

If you drink distilled water that is packed and sold in plastic bottles, you will be drinking a bit of the plastic as well. This is because pure water is extremely solvent and will dissolve just about anything that it comes into contact with - including plastics. If the water is slightly acidic, as would likely be in the case of distilled water. its dissolving power is even greater.

Plastics are toxic. "Food grade" plastics used in food packaging are less toxic, that's all. But still toxic. Also, "safe" plastics are "less toxic" only as far as current knowledge tell us. Long ago, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) was considered a safe plastic, but subsequently it was discovered to be extremely toxic.

Other types of water to avoid

Don't be misguided, therefore, into thinking that it is safe, or even healthy, to drink distilled water. It is actually one of the worst, most unnatural types of water to drink.

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