Have you ever been out to eat and asked for a glass of water, only to have the server ask you if you would prefer tap water or mineral water? They both have the same basic components, 2 parts hydrogen to one part oxygen. Restaurants don’t usually charge for tap water, but most mineral waters often cost at least a few dollars. Some people claim that mineral water tastes better, but aside from that, are there any benefits to drinking mineral water?
Just What Is Mineral Water?
The FDA regulates all bottled water, including mineral water. According to their standards, natural mineral waters must:
- Contain no less than 250 parts per million (ppm) total dissolved solids
- Come from a geologically and physically protected underground water source
- Contain no added minerals
- Have a constant level and relative proportions of minerals and trace elements at the point of emergence from the source
This means that manufacturers must bottled mineral water as it comes out of the earth. They cannot add any other minerals.
Where Does Mineral Water Come From?
Mineral water is water that has been sourced from a mineral spring where the water has absorbed naturally occurring minerals from the ground. Some mineral water springs have gas that is infused into the water creating carbonation. This is referred to as sparkling mineral water, while nongaseous mineral water is called flat or still.
Today there are over 4,000 different brands of mineral water on the market around the world. With its popularity, most of the sources of mineral water are commercially owned. This means that manufacturers can bottle their waters right at the source. However, there are still some areas in the United States, like Eureka Springs in Arkansas, where you can sip your mineral water right from the source for free.
The Minerals in Your Mineral Water
Mineral waters contain exactly what their name implies, minerals. Some of the most common minerals that you’ll find in mineral water are sulfates, magnesium, sodium, zinc, calcium, bicarbonate, and a number of other trace minerals. All of these minerals make up an important part of a balanced diet.
The calcium contained in many mineral waters is comparable to the calcium found in dairy products. Some speculate that it may even be better than other forms of calcium because it is it accompanied by other minerals that aid its absorption.
The sulfates can help with digestion. One of the more common elements found in the human body is sulfur. The body has difficulty producing sulfates from most foods. However, the body can easily utilize the sulfates in mineral water.
Magnesium is one of the minerals that the body can absorb from food. Extensive farming is depleting the magnesium in our soil. Because of this, it is less available in the produce we eat. Drinking mineral water is an excellent way to supplement magnesium. Your body needs magnesium to control muscle and nerve function, regulate blood sugar levels, and maintain healthy blood pressure.
Mineral Water Versus Tap Water
You may be wondering if your tap water contains minerals similar to mineral water. It may contain some, however, municipalities typically filter and purify their water. This process can strip water of many of the naturally occurring minerals. There are also other elements added to the water that wouldn’t be found in natural mineral water. These include fluoride and disinfecting agents like chlorine.
There are some situations where mineral water may not be the best water. Some brands may contain a high amount of sodium. People who have high blood pressure should check with a doctor before consuming large quantities of mineral water.
What’s Really in Your Mineral Water?
You can easily find a variety of mineral waters on your grocery store shelves. Many may contain at least 25, and sometimes more, natural minerals that are easy for the body to absorb. Recent research shows that adding mineral water to a healthy diet is an effective way to increase your daily mineral intake.
If you’re a skeptic, you might not be ready to believe the hype about mineral water. It’s easy to put these waters to the test. With a home testing kit, you can test your favorite brand of mineral water. You can even test a few brands to find out which has the highest mineral content. With a testing kit like the ones from TestAssured, you can quickly find out which brand has the most healthy minerals and the least contaminants.