A cold glass of water with ice is good for more than just cooling you off on a hot day or quenching your thirst. That simple beverage can have remarkable effects on your overall health and well-being. Alternatively, ice and water from the wrong source can have a range of toxic effects.
What is Water?
Water is a simple chemical compound made up of two hydrogen molecules and an oxygen molecule, held together by covalent bonds, meaning that the hydrogen and oxygen atoms share an electron. Water can take on the three different states of matter; it is typically found in the liquid state. When referred to as ice, it is in the solid state, and when referred to as steam, it is in the gaseous state. Water covers more than 70% of the surface of the earth, mostly as oceans, and the majority of that water is not potable. In much of the developing world, drinkable water is scarce, while at the same time, 70% of the fresh water used by humans is devoted to agriculture, rather than direct consumption.
Water does not have calories, making it a great addition to any wellness plan. The more water you drink, the fewer empty calories you are likely to consume. Water is a great replacement for sodas, juices, and other high calorie, sugary beverages. Replacing just one soda a day with a glass of water is an ideal way to easily cut calories and lose weight.
Though water does not contain calories, what we call fresh water or drinking water is typically not completely pure. Most drinking water contains chlorine, which is added to prevent bacterial growth. Water also often contains a range of minerals, such as calcium. In many areas, fluoride is a common water additive, as it helps to promote dental health.
Benefits for Your Body
Most people have heard that you should drink eight glasses of water a day for your health, but what does all that water actually do? One benefit of drinking more water is that it can help to speed up your metabolism. This is particularly true of ice water. The colder the water, the harder your body has to work to warm it up to body temperature. All that work is converted into more calories burned.
A well-hydrated body is also a body that can endure longer periods of exercise. More exercise can lead to greater muscle development, and adding more muscle mass is another way of speeding up your metabolism. Water is also crucial to joint lubrication. If you are exercising, your body likely needs more than those eight glasses of water a day to promote top performance.
When you drink enough water, your body is better able to transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Your heart also is able to pump your blood more efficiently and easily throughout your body when you are well hydrated. Digestion is also aided by proper hydration. Drinking enough water helps your body to dissolve and get rid of waste, and, along with a high fiber diet, drinking enough water will help to make your entire digestive system.
One painful health issue that proper hydration can help you avoid is kidney stones. These nasty formations result from the solidification of salts and minerals in your kidneys. Water helps to dissolve those crystals, preventing kidney stones from forming.
Benefits for Your Skin
People who drink enough water always have the healthy looking skin. Hydrated cells make for younger looking, less wrinkled, and more rejuvenated appearing skin. When you drink enough water, you are far more likely to be described as glowing. Being well hydrated also improves skin clarity, helping to prevent breakouts before they happen.
Benefits for Your Brain
Studies have shown that students who bring water to exams score more highly on those tests. While correlation is not causation, it is known that being dehydrated will make you feel tired and less alert. On the flip side, being properly hydrated helps keep moods and emotions balanced, improves concentration, helps with memorization and recall, and will even help you sleep better. With dehydration, you actually run the risk that your brain will begin to age and deteriorate more quickly, so if you want to keep your wits about you, make sure to pick up that water bottle.
For many people, ice comes from the ice slot at the fast food joint, the convenience store, or the hotel ice machine, but do you know what’s really in your ice? You might assume it’s just water, but that would be naïve. The International Packaged Ice Association (IPIA) has made it their mission to make sure that consumers know the dangers that can lurk in improperly serviced ice machines and packaged ice. Improperly packaged and stored ice can contain contaminants or have been exposed to mold and mildew, causing bad flavors and possible health issues. In addition, ice machines in restaurants and hotels can breed these molds and mildews if not properly serviced and regularly cleaned.
What Can Retailers and Consumers Do?
In terms of getting your ice from machines, make sure that you are getting the ice from a trusted source and a clean environment. To protect consumers from contaminated ice, and retailers from sanction for putting their customers at risk, the most important thing the IPIA recommends is buying only certified ice. The IPIA stamp of approval on packaged ice certifies that the ice was manufactured and packaged in a sanitary environment.
When buying ice, beyond looking for the IPIA stamp of approval, consumers should also look for clear, tasteless ice, packaged in bags printed with the manufacturer’s contact information, along with a product number. Traceable products are more likely to come from an acceptable source that is committed to providing pure, high quality ice products. Armed with this information, consumers can trust that their glass of ice water is safe to drink.