Can you guess what is the favorite drink of most Americans today? Bottled water! It’s the beverage we reach for most often when we’re in the grocery store, browsing for a beverage to quench our thirst. Yet there is, in fact, a bewildering variety of different types of water available, including mineral water, spring water, distilled water and purified water. Confused by all the choices? We don’t blame you. Find out what makes mineral water different from the other options available today, and why you should consider adding mineral water to your healthy beverage intake.
What Makes Mineral Water Different?
All water in its natural state contains various dissolved minerals. However, these mineral levels vary greatly depending on the place from the water is sourced, and the exact ratios can be affected by treatments applied to municipal water sources or purified bottled water. Mineral water, on the other hand, is bottled near a protected—read: unpolluted—underground source and contains consistent levels of minerals. Under FDA regulations, mineral water contains at least “250 parts per million (ppm) total dissolved solids,” naturally-occurring minerals. This means mineral water is guaranteed to contain a consistently high level of minerals, many of which have health benefits.
Benefits of Drinking Mineral Water
Everyone knows that proper hydration is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, and hydration is, indeed, the most basic benefit of drinking mineral water. Drinking lots of high-quality water confers such benefits as improved digestion, higher energy levels, weight regulation and heart health. But beyond hydrating your body, mineral water contains high levels of trace minerals—often including calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, iron, zinc and silica—that perform important functions in the body. For example, magnesium helps regulate blood pressure and blood glucose levels, and can also help combat constipation. Calcium is an important component of strong, healthy bones. Iron is vital for blood health and combating anemia. Silica has been shown to assist the body in detoxification, including speeding up the excretion of toxic aluminum. While these minerals are present in some foods and supplements, the dissolved minerals present in mineral water are often more easily absorbed by the body, making their health-related properties quickly available.
Add Mineral Water to Your Daily Water Intake
Experts recommend consuming 11 to 15 cups of water each day. This water can come from various food and beverage sources, but research has suggested that sugary, caffeinated drinks can have undesirable health effects. Furthermore, many types of bottled water are no different from what comes out of the tap—which can contain harmful contaminants and trace residues of chemical purifiers. So what’s the best source of hydration? While clean water is a great place to start, water that includes health-boosting minerals is even better. Best of all, of course, is a combination of clean and mineral-rich—like Primus water, which has been filtered by nature over thousands of years, complete with the naturally-occurring minerals your body needs. Do ditch the sodas high in sugar and artificial flavorings as well as the municipal water that’s been chemically treated, and enjoy the taste of water created by nature’s perfect process.
Did You Know This About Bottled Water Treatment? Bottled water can go through myriad different treatments to get it up to mandatory standards of cleanliness for drinking. These treatment processes differ from brand to brand, depending on the quality of the water source and the typical local contaminants. Here are a few types of treatment your water may have undergone before it made it to your lips:
—Coagulation and flocculation. Coagulant chemicals are added to water, causing particles in the water to bind together and form larger clumps. These clumps settle to the bottom of the treatment tank, leaving clear water behind.
—Filtration. This step often directly follows coagulation and flocculation. Water is passed through layers of sand or earth to remove remaining impurities, such as viruses, bacteria and protozoa.
—Reverse osmosis. This process may be used for water sources that include brackish or overly salty groundwater. Reverse osmosis forces water across a membrane that separates dissolved salts, minerals and most contaminants from the water.
—Chlorination. Most water treatment plants use chlorination at some point in the treatment process. Chlorine gas is added to the water to effectively kill most bacteria and viruses, often leaving a strong taste.
—Ozonation. Another disinfectant for water is ozone, a gas formed from electrically charged oxygen. Some treatment plants use ozonation because it is more effective than chlorination and eliminates odor and taste from water as well.
—UV disinfection. Ultraviolet light at a specific wavelength can destroy bacteria and viruses in water without chemicals. UV treatment is not a standalone treatment option, as it does not kill all microbes that may be present in water. It is often used as a final stage of purification.
Written by Amy Smith
Amy Smith is a Pennsylvania-based writer and educator, producing informative, research-based online content for a variety of clients in the fields of natural living, health and wellness, family and parenting.