Healthy Drinks

Eric Bakker N.D.May 14, 2022
8 Mins

Are you drinking water? There are different ways you can filter water, be sure to read the difference between distilled water and purified water.

Eric Bakker Naturopath » Recipes » Healthy Drinks

What Are You Drinking?

The 8 commandments of water, we are all familiar with this line: “Drink eight glasses of water a day” I heard it all my life, even at naturopathic college we were taught to teach patients to “drink 8 a day”.  Laughable, it’s simply not true, and I’ve been saying “it’s not true” for decades now when all the books were saying the opposite, well before Dr. Google arrived on the scene. It wasn’t until a few years ago that Google started to realise that the 8 glasses a day mantra is so not necessary. You should drink by how thirsty you are and especially if you have a desire for water. The same goes for “Should I drink water or other drinks with my food?”. Well, are you thirsty when you eat? Do you desire water? Then drink! Drinking soda with meals (or anytime) is not a good idea though, I’d stick with the water.

Healthy diet and nutrition as well as exercise is the key to good health, but what is often overlooked is drinking for health. Because water tastes bland, it is often the least favoured beverage, unless the weather is hot, then nothing quite quenches the thirst like ice cold water, and plenty of it. Incredible, your body is mostly made up of water and there are so many different biological functions which are dependent on water that it necessarily follows that water will certainly boost your health and well being.

Let’s look at a few different methods of water filtration and later on conclude with my personal favourite drinks.

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Distilled Water

Although water is the most abundant substance on earth, it is rarely found naturally in its purest form. For really pure water to exist, it has to be created. Pure water is de-ionised water, or distilled water. The process of making distilled water involves distillation, a process that removes all dissolved substances, including all the minerals.

Distilled water is safe to drink, just ignore those who claim it to be toxic to health.  Unfortunately, there is the flat taste of distilled water, it just tastes wrong in my opinion. When compared to the taste of spring water or bottled water, the taste of distilled water tends to be a lot flatter and less desirable. The reason for this is because it lacks minerals like sodium, calcium, and magnesium, the mineral elements responsible for giving water its typical taste. Hydrogen and oxygen are the only elements that remain, the rest is gone apart from water.

Mineral Deficiencies

People who drink distilled water may have a higher chance of suffering from mineral deficiencies as a result. This water is lacking in nutrients that are potentially beneficial to your health. Consuming water that is deficient in calcium and magnesium, for instance, is associated with an increased risk of bone fractures, premature delivery, and even cardiovascular disease. Because of this, I don’t recommend drinking distilled water daily unless you are getting the required daily amounts of these minerals from the food that you eat every day.

If you are an athlete or just someone who sometimes does a lot of physical activity, you should probably steer clear of consuming distilled water since it does not include any electrolytes that may help you stay hydrated. When you perspire, you lose electrolytes at an accelerated rate. To prevent dehydration and restore the electrolytes and minerals that are lost via sweating, you should consume mineral water or a sports drink that has additional electrolytes. Because the distillation process eliminates electrolytes, drinking distilled water cannot compensate for what the body loses when it urinates or defecates. If you are unwell, have a digestive problem or are undernourished, you’ll definitely require an abundance of minerals in your diet. Therefore, consuming distilled water is most likely not the best choice to make when you look at it from this angle.

Distilled Water Absorbs Toxins 

It is safe to consume distilled water that’s offered in supermarkets and other commercial establishments, since it was likely manufactured using very clean or even filtered water in the first place. It will also likely be stored in the appropriate glass or plastic container, from from chemicals.

In some countries however, distilled water may be offered that came from non-drinkable sources, like industrial or farm waste water, a bad idea since this water may still may be contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic.

Because distilled water is free of dissolved minerals and, is appears to have the special property of being able to actively absorb toxic substances from the body and eliminate them. Some people people say that distilled water is beneficial for this reason “for detoxification purposes”, I’m not that convinced. Others may view distilled water however as a potential magnet for toxins.

It is also entirely possible that the container that was used to keep the distilled water included chemicals. Containers manufactured from certain materials, like plastic monomers used in grocery stores, have the potential to leach certain types of plastic toxins into the water over time, thereby wasting all that time it took to get clean water. What many may not be aware of, is that because distilled water is so clean, it is quickly polluted by any pollutants that may be present in the container in which it is stored.

While distilled water is devoid of many toxins, the verdict on whether it is safe to drink is still out as far as I’m concerned. The debate stems from the fact that vital minerals like sodium, calcium, and magnesium are eliminated along with any potential hazardous contaminants during the distillation process. To fully comprehend the benefits and drawbacks of drinking distilled water, it is important to understand the role of water in your body, where and how you acquire the necessary minerals, and how the body then utilises these minerals.

Don’t Fast With Distilled Water

Fasting and relying on distilled water can be problematic, because the water you are consuming contains no electrolytes like sodium, potassium, chloride, and important minerals like magnesium. Deficiencies of these important minerals can cause an irregular heart beat, fatigue, sleeping disturbances and an irregular blood pressure.

Expert Consensus Meeting Group Report on potential health consequences of long-term consumption of de-mineralised, and altered mineral content drinking water has concluded that the hypothesis that consumption of hard water is associated with a “somewhat lowered risk” of cardiovascular disease was probably valid, and that magnesium was the more likely contributor of that benefits.”

Distilled Water is Mineral Free

The problem with distilled water is that it is devoid of all minerals and oxygen, and that presents quite a few problems. The more minerals you lose, the greater the risk becomes for conditions such as osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and a long list of degenerative diseases which are associated with low oxygen and mineral levels such as accelerated ageing.
Enlightened scientists and health care professionals from around the world have been advocating the theory that ageing and disease may in part be due to the accumulation of acid waste products in the body, and there is a great deal of scientific documentation supporting such a theory. Typical acidic foods and drinks in a person’s diet include meats, sugar, alcohol, fried, deep fried and processed foods, soft drinks, white flour and dairy products.

The most accurate way to describe distilled water is that it has been boiled and the condensation has been captured then turned back into water, whereas reverse osmosis water is filtered water.

Is reverse osmosis purified water OK?

Water filtered through reverse osmosis (RO) is a pretty good choice overall in my opinion, but does have a few downsides as well that I’d recommend you consider if choosing a water filtration unit for your house. Water purified by way of RO tends to be neutral (neither acid or alkaline) and is acceptable for regular use provided that your diet is nutritious and rich in minerals. I also recommend the regular intake of a multivitamin by way of a whole-foods multi.

In my opinion, RO is the most effective type of water treatment for the cost, and one of the most widely used water purification processes in the world today. It is usually used for home water treatment to remove salts (2004), chemical toxins (2005), organic contaminants (2008), dyes (2009), pesticides (2006) and microbes (2010). In reverse osmosis, the raw water is forced with pressure through a dense membrane filter that prevents passing of impurities.

The reverse osmosis way of filtration is not only an inefficient means of purifying drinking water, it is also ineffectual to some degree because the small pores in the membrane block particles of large molecular structure like salt, but chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine are molecularly smaller than water. Many people who purchase RO filters are very happy with their purchase like I have been, and for many years. What you are doing very effectively is cleaning the tap water to a very high level indeed, right down to the finest of particles such as sand, suspended metals, dirt, etc. But it is impossible to guarantee that an RO unit will 100% remove all chemical residues from the water, as there is no true way of measuring how water is affected by the tiniest of these residues.

Many cities around the world are experiencing drug residues in town water supplies. I have read articles in New Scientist and the Times magazine about the problem around the world with human waste products in general, including waste of plastics and chemicals left over by increasing industries and pollution, and how this affects an increasingly dwindling supply of pure fresh water left in nature.

It makes good sense to drink water as close to the purity once found in nature, but in order for you to be able to achieve this you will need to look at an effective filtration system capable of removing not only particles suspended in the town water, but also the chemicals found in this water, and that’s where the problem lies. This why you want a carbon filter.

Carbon Block Filter is a Must

My recommendations are to ensure you have a carbon block or a large sized carbon filter in-line with your RO unit to ensure you soak up those nasty chemicals possibly left in the water, after it has passed through the membrane and stored in the tank. Carbon is a substance that has a long history of being used to absorb impurities and is perhaps the most powerful absorbent known to man. Charcoal is carbon and is a great remedy for many different types of digestive problems as well, because of its ability to absorb toxins from the digestive tract as well. Five hundred grams of carbon contains a surface area of roughly 125 acres and can absorb literally thousands of different chemicals.

Activated carbon is carbon which has a slight electro-positive charge added to it, making it even more attractive to chemicals and impurities. As the water passes over the positively charged carbon surface, the negative ions of the contaminants are drawn to the surface of the carbon granules. Make sure your company supplies a carbon filter along with your RO unit, and preferably activated carbon. Carbon ensures the most effective removal of organic compounds including VOCs (volatile organic compounds), radon and chlorine (including cancer-causing by-product called trihalomethane).  An advantage is that carbon is very cost effective to use, but you will need to ensure the carbon block is easily replaced every 6 months at the minimum.

Got Scale In Your Kettle?

Your kettle which you boil for your cup of tea or coffee will generally tell you how hard or soft the water is. A build up of scale on the heating element of your kettle will tell that you live in an area with plenty of minerals in the water. Have you noticed the flakes like the ones in the person’s hand in the image? Water filtered through a solid charcoal filter is slightly alkaline, which is great. If you want to go all out and have absolutely excellent quality water to drink, go for ozone treatment of this charcoal filtered water, which makes it ideal for daily drinking. Longevity is associated with the regular consumption of hard water (high in minerals), and research has revealed that those who live in areas of hard water (more minerals and scale in the kettle) have a lower incidence of heart disease than those who live in areas of softer water (low or no minerals).

Make sure your RO system is set up properly

Ensure the RO system is set up properly, my system was underpowered for a couple of months until I discovered that it was set up completely wrong. When I opened the water filter tap fully I used to get such poor pressure at the faucet, when in fact it should have been an excellent pressure. I’d mixed up the hoses connecting the RO unit by mistake, and ended up causing a blockage which slowed down the flow of the unit considerably. When you install your unit – take your time, check out the diagrams very carefully and place the unit carefully in the kitchen. If you are not entirely confident then just get the person who supplied you the unit to install it for you, some will, some just sell you the stuff and expect you to set it up yourself.

Just remember, due to the possibility of a vitamin or mineral deficiency, if you drink RO purified water daily, it pays to a quality multi vitamin and mineral supplement regularly.

Don’t Like Water? Then Improve The Flavour!

Some patients have told me they don’t like water due to its “lack of taste”. If you don’t like the taste of water, there are many options to add different flavours to the water. Try a little lemon or lime juice, it works like magic. I’m ok with cordials and syrups, providing only very small amounts are used and the sugars in these products are sugars like stevia, xylitol, etc., and not refined white sugar.

It is possible for your fresh and clean water to have great taste and for the drink to be healthy too. Also, when you choose not to drink water, try to find a natural drink that has vitamins, minerals, and has no artificial, refined cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Avoid Carbonated Drinks

You don’t need this cheap and crappy lolly water in your life, these fake drinks are full of colours and sugars and are best avoided. If you know me know, then you’ll know I’m OK with pointing the finger at crap. If you are easily offended and drink this junk daily, and believe they are fine for your health, then I think it’s time for us to part ways. Those who either gave up on this way of drinking some time ago, or those considering giving it up now – and who are wanting to feel great, please stay!

Soda is just assembly-line made plastic bottled water with sugar injected under very high pressure, it’s complete junk. The colours and flavours are entirely chemically derived. Carbonated drinks were the first to introduce carbon dioxide into the cheapest drink available, water, and by making the drink more acidic (carbonic acid) it became more enjoyable to the tongue when sweetened along with these bubbles. This carbonic acid tends to sharpen the flavour with a slight burning sensation. Being slightly more acidic, the drink is preserved somewhat longer as well.

Soft drinks have many potential health problems, including dental caries and enamel erosion (Majewski, ). Dental caries may result from a long-term high intake of soft drinks and deterioration in oral hygiene patterns. Here is a 2004 study, a systematic review and meta-analysis of soda drinks and health. Diet sodas especially, make you higher at risk of having a heart attack or stroke, according to French research.

Soda drinks also include diet soda and “sports” drinks too, they are best all avoided. Many people don’t realise how high the fat content is potentially in different beverages. For example, a mocha could have over 480 calories in one drink, and every gram of red wine is equal to 7 calories. So it is in your best interest to switch to healthier drinks, and stay away from the unhealthy beverages; by making the switch, you will reduce your calories and start loosing weight. So choose carefully what you habitually drink. And what about the caffeine content of carbonated ‘Energy Drinks” today? Children are consuming too much caffeine today, and energy drinks is one of the main ways they get their caffeine.

Soda Drinks are Best Avoided

Why on earth do people drink so much of that fizzy stuff? It is full of artificial colours, flavourings and preservatives, not to mention sugar – real or artificial. Did you know that commercial beverages that people consume (i.e. cola beverages and other soft drinks) are loaded with sugars? Studies have consistently shown that heavy consumers of soft drinks lose substantial amounts of calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals into the urine. A good way to wreck your health is to drink soda drinks every day, you will either end up obese or with a chronic illness like heart disease, diabetes or cancer. You will also contribute to making a large international company very rich as your health becomes very poor…

Eric’s Favourite Drinks

Green Tea

I love green tea, in fact I drink two or three cups every day. Green tea contains a rich concentration of flavonoids and polyphenols, natural antioxidants that may protect cells from carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and inhibit tumour growth by helping to neutralise free radicals in the body. Green tea helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, and cavities. The tea’s antioxidants may also guard against heart disease by relaxing blood vessels, inhibiting the formation of blood clots that trigger heart attacks and strokes. Green tea also contains fluoride (natural fluoride!), which strengthens teeth; green tea’s flavonoid content may build up bones as well, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and tooth decay.

Coconut Water

Many travellers to the Pacific Islands have enjoy coconut water. Coconut water is among the purest liquids you will find in nature. This a pure health giving tonic and is full of natural electrolytes including potassium; and has various proteins and fats the body needs. I love it! And, it is great for upset tummies, and especially good to ward off bugs and parasites when you travel. This drink has been used for a long time as a nutritious refreshing drink. It has the nutrition found in milk without any animal fat, and it has the nutritional benefits of orange juice with out the sugars – the calories. In addition, it is full of vitamins and trace elements, and it has only 5mg of two natural sugars and nothing else compared to over 15 man made sugars, additives, colours and flavours and enhancers found in many sports drinks, for example.
If you are looking for a refreshing drink that is not only nutritious, and in addition helps to detoxify the digestive system then this drink has it all. Coconut milk from the fresh (green) coconut is best, but if you can’t access this then milk from the brown coconut will suffice.

Hot Cocoa drink

What’s not to love about this drink? Have you ever tried skipping a cup of coffee and had a cup of warm cocoa instead? Research from a couple of years ago has revealed that chocolate may be actually good for you. Scientists reported preliminary evidence that cocoa and dark chocolate may keep high blood pressure down, your blood flowing, and your heart healthy because of its antioxidant abilities.
However, many people like to eat the processed form of chocolate with all the non nutritious ingredients such as sugar, corn syrup and milk fats; usually in a “family” bar, the actual cocoa content is less than 25 percent! When you buy a chocolate bar, get one with dark chocolate and high (75%+) cocoa content. And when you do, eat one or two squares a day, not the entire block!

For a healthy cocoa drink, try mixing pure cocoa with low fat milk. I like cocoa in rice or almond milk.  So go on enjoy your chocolate, but do so in moderation!
Chocolate improves mood and may help protect against heart disease when consumed in moderation. Chocolate increases the production of the brain hormone called serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood. Low or fluctuating levels of serotonin have been associated with depression or mood swings. Cocoa is also a very rich source of polyphenols, which are plant-derived antioxidants that may protect cells against oxidative damage that can lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels, possibly putting you at higher risk for a heart attack.

Tomato Juice

Tomato juice would have to be my favourite beverage, I love that tangy cold and refreshing taste, especially with a little Celtic sea salt and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Tomato juice may protect against numerous cancers, especially prostate cancer. Processed tomato products are the richest source of the antioxidant called lycopene, which has been associated with a reduced risk of prostate, lung and stomach cancer, as well as pancreatic, colorectal, esophageal, oral, breast, and cervical cancers. Lycopene also appears to protect the lungs and heart against oxidative damage, helping to ward off cardiovascular disease.

Cranberry Juice

This is not only a great juice for the ladies to ward off urinary tract infections, cranberry juice has a very nice refreshing tart taste. Research suggests that the same antibacterial properties present in cranberry juice that fight off urinary tract infections may also protect against periodontal disease, and I now recommend this drink for those with gum disease too. I am very wary of cranberry juice however, because most all of the commercially available cranberry fruit juices have a considerable sugar content, so limit your intake to no more than one glass daily. “Make sure the label says 100 percent juice, not ‘juice drink’. You can find this type of juice in health-food stores and even in some supermarkets. Best served very cold, I love it on a hot day and pop a few ice cubes into the glass. Try also with a few mint leaves added for that extra zing.


  •    Pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine are molecularly smaller than water, Binnie et al, 2002
  •    Airola, P. 1974. How To Get Well. Phoenix, AZ: Health Plus Publishers.
  •     Baroody, Dr. Theodore A. Jr. Alkalise or Die. California:Portal Books, 1995.
  •     Haas, Elson M. The Complete Guide to Diet & Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley, California:Celestial Arts, 1992; p. 22.
  •     Rona, Zoltan P. and Martin, Jeanne Marie. Return to the Joy of Health, Vancouver: Alive Books, 1995.
  •     Rona, Zoltan P. Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection. Rocklin, California:Prima Books, 1996.

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