When it comes to drinking water, there are a few different options that you can choose from.
Tap water, bottled water, and mineral water are just some of the most popular options.
One question on people’s minds is “is mineral water good for me?”
In this article we will discuss the health benefits of drinking mineral water so that you can make an informed decision about whether it is right for you!
Table of Contents
- What is mineral water?
- Where does mineral water come from?
- Is mineral water good for you?
- What are the disadvantages of mineral water?
- Mineral water vs. spring water
- Mineral water vs. sparkling water
- Mineral water vs. tap water
- Making your own mineral water
- Do you need mineral water?
- Is it good to drink mineral water?
What is mineral water?
Mineral water is water that has been filtered through rocks. The mineral content in the rock filters out any impurities from the water and creates a cleaner, more pure form of drinking water.
Mineral water contains a high level of natural minerals that are beneficial to the human body.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to be labeled as “mineral water” in the United States, it must contain no less than 250 ppm (parts per million) total dissolved solids (TDS). The minerals must be naturally occurring and not added.
The common minerals in water are magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium.
Magnesium regulates blood sugar levels, controls how our muscles work, helps produce energy, and forms DNA.
According to The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, around 50% of Americans are deficient in magnesium, which can lead to various health issues.
Sodium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure and fluid balance. It also helps create a strong immune system.
A diet high in sodium can lead to increased risk of heart attack or stroke. The amount of sodium in food and drinks differs depending on whether it comes from natural sources like salt, or from added sodium like artificial flavorings and preservatives.
For people who have chronic kidney disease, problems may worsen if they drink water with higher levels of sodium content.
Potassium is a naturally occurring ion that is necessary for many functions in the human body.
Potassium is an electrolyte and is responsible for taking up positive ions from the cells and transmitting them to other cells. Without enough potassium, these positive ions can build up inside the cells, causing acidosis which can lead to paralysis and death.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the balance between sodium and potassium regulates fluids in and around your cells so that they are able to function properly.
Potassium is necessary for proper blood composition, muscle function, and nerve transmissions. Potassium also assists in maintaining a balance in the water, acid-base balance of the blood, and pH levels.
Calcium is one of the major minerals in our body.
It has a number of important functions, including building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, regulating muscle contraction, and blood clotting.
Calcium deficiency can lead to rickets or osteomalacia – two serious bone diseases usually seen in children for whom calcium intake from food alone may not be enough.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, low calcium is a major contributor to osteoporosis, which is a loss of bone mass and strength, usually with older age.
Calcium rich mineral water (also known as alkaline water) can be a source of dietary calcium, depending on the water and your needs.
Where does mineral water come from?
There are many types of mineral waters with different tastes and qualities.
The quality varies significantly depending on the type of water and where it originates.
There are many different brands bottled around the world that claim to have unique beneficial qualities that are worth drinking.
European mineral waters may contain such minerals as selenium, sulfates, chlorides, and nitrates.
Mineral water from the United States will have either sodium or potassium as the primary mineral.
Mineral water can be classified as either artesian or non-artesian, depending on whether they come from an underground source tapped by wells at low pressure or above ground sources such as lakes and river.
Artesian water originates from a natural underground source and has not come into contact with air and its quality remains high for longer periods of time.
Non-artesian sources are surface waters which emerge through springs or seeps in rocks above ground level where they may mix with rainwater before making their way to an aquifer below ground level; these include lakes, ponds, and rivers.
It is possible for there to be a distinction in taste and mouth feel between the different sources, but this does not necessarily make one better or worse than the other; it simply makes them different.
Is mineral water good for you?
Here are some mineralized water benefits to consider:
- May be healthier than tap water, which can contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine
- Improves hydration since the mineral content replenishes electrolytes
- Balances pH levels when consumed with meals that are high in acidifying ingredients like meat and dairy products to help prevent acid reflux or heartburn
- Some studies show that drinking a liter of mineral water per day may reduce risk for kidney stones by 40% and decrease the chances of developing urinary tract infections by up to 50%. In fact, this is one condition for which doctors often recommend an increased intake of bottled spring waters during treatments.
- Drinking mineral water may also help to prevent tooth decay.
Drinking plenty of fluids in general can help you stay hydrated and keep your body functioning optimally.
What are the disadvantages of mineral water?
If it is properly handled and bottled, there is nothing unhealthy about mineral water.
As with anything, if you were to drink too much and get minerals from other sources, you could end up consuming too much of some minerals.
In some cases, too many minerals in the diet can lead to digestive problems, or even kidney stones.
Bottled mineral water may be considered bad for the environment since all of those bottles have to be produced, transported, and then disposed of.
Mineral water vs. spring water
Spring water is a type of mineral water.
Mineral waters occur naturally from a body of underground rock, while spring water originates above the earth as part of an aquifer or other natural source that feeds into it.
Spring water is typically in contact with air for shorter periods than its underground equivalent and can contain more minerals given this higher exposure to the atmosphere; however, the quality will be dependent on where they originate from.
Natural mineral water can come from a spring or from other sources.
Mineral water vs. sparkling water
Sparkling water is made by adding CO² (carbon dioxide) gas to water. It may be made with mineral water, but each brand is different and there are no guarantees that sparkling water contains any minerals.
However, carbonated mineral water should have the same benefits as non-carbonated mineral water.
Mineral water vs. tap water
Tap water can come from any source and undergoes many stages of purification, making it safe to drink but often stripping out minerals that are beneficial for health like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Tap water can have much higher levels of contamination that a typical mineral water because of pollution in the area it is collected and chemicals added to ensure safety.
Making your own mineral water
Did you know that you can make your own mineral water?
If you have tap water from either a municipal water supply or a well, the mineral content will vary.
In either case, the safest drinking water is filtered one last time in your home with a water filtration system. This ensures that any pollution from the environment or chemicals from the water treatment process (like chlorine) are removed.
Reverse osmosis water is considered to be some of the cleanest available, but most minerals are removed during the filtration process.
Many undersink reverse osmosis filter systems include a remineralization stage where the filtered water passes through a special stage containing rocks and minerals. These substances add traces of the important beneficial minerals including magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium back to the water in the ideal ratios.
This way you end up with water that is both as clean as possible and includes the trace minerals your body needs.
Do you need mineral water?
There are actual many ways to incorporate more minerals into your diet, besides relying on your drinking water.
A healthy diet, with a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, and dairy, will give you all the minerals you need.
Some people have trouble absorbing minerals from their food, so they may need a supplement. Mineral supplements can be found to supply any mineral you may be lacking.
Speak with your doctor if you suspect a mineral deficiency.
Is it good to drink mineral water?
That is really up to you!
Pure mineral water can provide you with some of the minerals you need to maintain good health.
However, minerals from water are not necessary if you eat a mineral rich diet and/or take supplements that supply what you need.
If you prefer the taste or experience of drinking mineral water, then the choice is yours.