Why You Should Be Drinking Spring Water (and How to Find It)

I had an interesting conversation the other day with someone about the best source of water. She was wondering, since she can’t afford a reverse osmosis filter system and she’s concerned about drinking out of plastic bottles (for health and environmental reasons), what other options are there?

The best person to consult on the topic of water, without question, is health and longevity expert Daniel Vitalis. He has some very interesting things to say about water, many of them quite unconventional. I can’t say I’m able to follow his advice entirely, but it seems like a good goal to set for the future.

When most of us think about water, if we do at all, we’re most concerned about what’s in it. Is it contaminated with pesticides, mercury or dangerous bacteria? But according to Vitalis, this is only a small part of the question we should be asking. There are qualitative properties to the water itself that can be explored — the internal structure of water.

To Vitalis, the ideal water comes in the form of spring water. The idea here is that everything we need can be provided by the Earth, water included (he has said that his ideal existence would be to become a hunter/gatherer). “Wild water,” as he calls it, is water from the ecosystem and makes you feel better when you drink it. It’s more hydrating and tastes better than what he calls processed water, i.e. most bottled water, water from filters, water that’s been distilled, run through reverse osmosis membranes, de-ionized, de-salinated or alkalized. And according to Vitalis, this is the water we should be seeking out and putting into our bodies.

You see, spring water comes from aquifers — water deposits found deep underground. This water brings itself to the surface through capillary action where it moves up to the surface. Water coming to us this way is low in mineral content and tastes fresh and clean. If one drilled into this same aquifer, the resulting water often has very high mineral content, smelling “eggy” if it has too much sulphur or staining your sink with iron or calcium.

Vitalis likens well water to getting the water before it’s “ripe.” Spring water takes a slow journey up from the aquifer through the capillary action — ripening, dropping it’s mineral content, going through more cleansing and being fit for human consumption by the time it gets to the surface.

Some technological water filters will tell you that they can mimic this process, but one has to wonder how a small counter-top machine can actually replace the effect the Earth has on water. Vitalis points out that the hydrological system is the largest movement of a chemical substance (water) on the planet. It’s a very slow process. Water is evaporated off the surface of the planet, rains back down to the surface, filters and percolates through layers of soil, organisms, rootlets, clays, silts, carbons and sands, being cleaned on its journey as it makes its way down to the aquifers. This water may not reach the surface for thousands of years. This giant slow filtration can’t be imitated by a counter-top device.

When you think about it, this water that’s thousands of years old hasn’t been exposed to the human pollution that covers the entire surface of the planet, as we’ve only been polluting our environment for the last 200 years or so. So this is some of the cleanest stuff we have access to. And, when you think that the human body is 70% water, by drinking spring water we can be composed of the cleanest stuff we can find. A pretty inspiring thought.

You may be thinking that you can’t possibly have access to fresh spring water, especially those of us living in the city. But Vitalis has helped us out a bit by starting Find A Spring.com. It’s a user-run site where people who know of springs, or go looking for springs, post them on the map. So far Canada isn’t as well represented as it could be. There’s quite a few in southern Ontario, some in Quebec along the St. Lawrence and a few in southern Alberta and BC. But maybe we Canadians can add some more.

If you’re interested, health blogger Kevin Gianni just interviewed Vitalis while they were presenting at the Longevity Conference in California last week. The first video in the three-part series can be found here with the following parts linked below it. He’s got quite a lot of interesting health information, both on the subject of water and other areas of interest. Check it out.

The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale, Holistic Nutritionist and trained chef, living in Toronto.