Everyone should be aware how essential water is for life. Anyone who is interested in losing weight should know that drinking water can be a great help. It also serves to flush the system of contamination that is picked up from the air, foods you eat and normal body processes that are necessary for keeping us alive. But many people might not be aware that the very contaminants that water is designed to flush from our system may be in that water without us realizing it.

Clean water, especially in the Western world and generally in most parts of the world is available. This was not always the case, as hundreds of years ago in Europe people consumed alcohol because it was safer than the water they were drinking. Today that should not be an excuse for drinking alcohol, but it is also true that water might not always be as safe as we assum. Here are some of the things we should be on the lookout for.

1. Water in plastic bottles. Phthalates are a group of chemicals often found in plastic bottles, and they are known to pose health hazards. Water that is consumed from these containers has been found to have some of these chemicals. Even of more danger is refilling those plastic bottles. Commercial water bottles with repeated use will break down, and this can lead to bacterial growth one surface cracks within the bottle. Also the chemical BPA, which has been declared toxic substance in Canada, is still permitted in some plastic water bottles.

Heat and sunlight can also accelerate the break in plastic, so those containers that sit around in the car for a long time can be quite chemical-laden. It's best not to drink water from plastic bottles and use water from glass containers that has been kept out of sunlight and used when it is still fresh.

2. Improperly cleaning of reverse osmosis filters. By failing to regularly clean the holding tank could lead to bacterial growth in your water supply. These filters can do an excellent job in eliminating impurities from water, but only if they are maintained properly.

3. Distilled water. Many people assumed that distilled water is a freer of contaminants, but that is only so if the water that goes into the distilling process is pure. Distilled water comes from the condensed vapor produced from water when it is boiled. If the water used in the distillation process is clean the end product should also be free of contaminants.

But distilled water does not provide us with the necessary trace minerals and other nutrients such as potassium, sodium and chloride. This can in time lead to mineral deficiencies, defeating much of the benefits that water gives us.

Water can be compared to any other food that we consume, in that some water is unhealthy, and we should be aware of the quality of water we drink. Healthy water has a structure that is optimum for proper cell functioning, and when we destroy this structure through improper filtration or the contamination of containers we are diminishing water's benefits. Understanding this will be important for us to get all the advantages water provides the body.