One can go weeks without food but only days without water. Water affects the functioning of our organs and our ability to fight disease. It helps us to maintain a healthy weight and cope emotionally.
The positive effects of drinking plenty of quality water can be seen in all aspects of our health and appearance. In a typical day you lose 2 to 3 litres of water. If you don’t replace it, your body will naturally pull the water away from your skin, nails and hair – the fundamentals of good looks – to the critical systems that need it for basic good health. Drinks with caffeine such as coffee, tea and soft drinks have a limited water replacement value as they are diuretics and therefore promote water loss.
Fruit vegetables and juices all contribute well to water replacement; however, they also contain calories that, for a growing segment of the population, are a problem. Water, on the other hand, is totally calorie free. This is why it is recommended that we drink around 2 litres of water each day. It is the most sensible way to meet our fundamental water needs.
Water softeners work on a principle known as "ion-exchange" where mineral ions (typically calcium and magnesium and sometimes iron and manganese) are replaced with soft sodium ions.
The sodium ions are taken from water softener salt (sodium chloride, like table salt) which is held in a reservoir with the softener system. Some consumers have concerns that the softener will add extra and unwanted sodium into their diets. The level of sodium added to water during the softening process depends upon how hard the water is which needs treatment, but even in situations where the water is extremely hard the level of sodium added during softening is not generally significant.
For example, the amount of sodium added to a 250mL glass "serving" of water which was treated to remove 400 mg/L (CaCO3) of hardness would be around 45 milligrams. In comparison, the same serving size of low-fat milk would contain around 100 mg of sodium. However, those who have been prescribed with ultra-low sodium diets should always consult with their doctor. More information and studies showing that softened water does not significantly contribute to the average persons daily sodium intake can be found on the Water Quality Association's website.