The alkalinity of water is decided by the minerals it contains. Alkaline minerals include calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. The higher the levels of these minerals, the more alkaline the water will be.
Alkaline water (as opposed to acidic water) has a pH of 7 and above. pH (“potential Hydrogen”) is a measure of acidity/alkalinity ranging from 0-14, with a pH of 7.0 being neutral. Our body’s blood and cells are naturally slightly alkaline (pH 7.4). However, the foods and beverages we consume tend to be acidic, upsetting the body’s natural balance. Consuming an alkaline water helps keep the body in equilibrium.
The NZ Drinking Water Standards guideline value for drinking water pH is 7-8.5. However, this doesn’t mean that drinking water outside these ranges is bad for you. Our bodies are very complex metabolically so it’s all about the balance of our diet as a whole, not a single component such as a glass of water. Bottled spring and mineral water generally ranges in pH from 5-10.
Adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to your water, as well as providing flavour, also increases your body’s alkalinity. This is because citrus fruits, even though they are considered culinary acids, are in fact metabolically alkaline once consumed.
Research shows that as we age, the ability of our kidneys to eliminate acids declines. In order to neutralise the increased levels of acid, the body compensates by taking alkaline minerals from other parts of the body, for example, by taking calcium from the bone.
Clinical studies show that supplying the body with alkaline minerals, as well as supporting our kidneys, also helps combat acidity in the connective tissues, thereby reducing inflammation and the pain that accompanies inflammatory conditions such as gout and arthritis.