Many people are extremely fussy about the quality of the food they eat, but surprisingly, will happily drink water that’s contaminated and unfiltered from their creek and rainwater tank, or slake their thirst using water laced with disinfection chemicals from their town supply. Filtering often isn’t considered as a health concern because the water tastes OK, but using unfiltered water can set you up for a number of health problems. Fortunately filters are easy to obtain and relatively inexpensive to operate – you just need to choose the right filter for your situation. Even then, there are two traps that people often fall into when filtering that can lead to health problems.
If you get your drinking water from a creek, spring or tank, water purification is particularly important. Natural water sources can contain parasites and bacteria. Giardia, Blastocystis and Klebsiella are regular tenants of natural water supplies in this area. If they infect your gut they can create some very unpleasant bowel symptoms. Small intestine bacterial overgrowths can result too, knocking out your population of good bacteria, essential for complete food digestion. You may become malnourished as a result of a water infection. And because your intestines are such an ideal home for these bugs, eradicating them is challenging, and takes longer than you think.
For a natural water supply, you need a filter that will remove parasites and bugs, as well as other contaminants. Fortunately it’s easy to establish how ‘fine’ your filter as each manufacturer details what their filter is designed to handle, and how long it will last. Ceramic filters are outstanding for their cost-effectiveness.
The first trap that people often fall in to with tank water is carefully filtering their kitchen water supply, but brushing their teeth in unfiltered water. It’s just as easy to infect yourself this way as if you weren’t filtering any of your water, as many visitors returning from developing countries with questionable water supplies will attest.
Town water supplies are disinfected for you, but come through your tap containing traces of the chemicals that were used to destroy bacteria and parasites. The unpleasant taste of unfiltered tap water can put many people off drinking enough pure water to keep them hydrated and their kidneys happy. We’re just not designed to drink water laced with chlorine. For a town supply you need a filter to remove these bad tastes and chemical contaminants. Many people use a carbon filter for this, but don’t ensure they change it on schedule, the second trap for filter users. Carbon filters can provide a breeding ground for bacteria, which can infect your gut just as effectively as tank water sources, and create equally unpleasant symptoms.
If you want to spend the extra money you can buy incredibly sophisticated water filters that pass the water through things like ionisers and magnetisers; but if you just want to make your drinking water safe and healthy, a carbon or ceramic filter may be all that you need.