Is Mineral Water Good for You? Benefits and Potential Side Effects
Mineral water can benefit your health, but moderation is always good. Here's everything you need to know about mineral water.
We've all heard that drinking enough water is vital for overall good health, but are certain types of water healthier than others? Of course, making sure your daily drinking water is safe and free of toxins is the first step, whether it's from the tap or a bottle.
But can the addition of certain minerals actually make water healthier? You've probably heard some health professionals and lifestyle gurus touting the benefits of mineral water, but you might still be wondering, "Is mineral water good for me?".
Here are some of the facts about mineral water and how it can potentially affect your health.
What Is Mineral Water?
Well, obviously it's water with minerals in it. But which minerals exactly?
Mineral water contains levels of magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, iron, zinc, and some other trace minerals, which can vary by brand.
Tap water contains small amounts of most of these minerals as well, but contrary to what many people assume, the levels are nowhere near as high.
In order to qualify as mineral water, the FDA states that the water has to contain at least 250 parts per million (PPM) total dissolved solids. Those minerals have to come directly from the underground reservoir or mineral spring that the water came from; the minerals can't be added later on.
Because of this, mineral water has to be bottled at the source, meaning that mineral water generally experiences less chemical processing than other bottled waters. Some types of sparkling mineral waters are naturally carbonated, meaning they come out of the ground that way. Others have the carbonation added later.
So if you're worried about the quality of the tap water in your home, bottled mineral water could be a healthy alternative for that reason. However, it's not necessarily any better regulated than other types of bottled water.
So, Is Mineral Water Good For You?
Getting the daily recommended amounts of many of the minerals found in mineral water is essential for good health. Since the human body can't produce these minerals and many people don't get enough of them through their diet alone, mineral water could be a good supplement to help reach daily requirements.
Each of the minerals found in mineral water has unique benefits. Below are some of the specific ways they can affect your health.
It's common knowledge that getting enough calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth, but calcium is also important for the health of your hair, nails, muscles, and heart. Studies show that mineral water can be as good a source of calcium as milk is!
This makes mineral water a convenient way for people who don't consume dairy to get a little extra calcium in their diet.
Calcium deficiency causes symptoms like fatigue, muscle pain, and weakness. Long-term, it can lead to osteoporosis, cataracts, and dental problems. Daily requirements vary depending on your age and other health factors, but most adults need 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day.
Magnesium is a mineral that aids many different functions within the body. Having enough magnesium in your diet is essential for the health of your heart, muscles, and brain.
Magnesium is important for bone health by helping the body absorb calcium more effectively. It also helps regulate blood pressure.
Unfortunately, as many as half of all people in the United States and Europe don't get the recommended daily amount of magnesium. Deficiency can cause an array of health problems like fatigue, muscle weakness, and nausea.
Mineral water contains magnesium sulfate and sodium sulfate. These minerals cause the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes, which aid in proper digestion.
Bicarbonate and chloride help with digestion as well. Getting enough of these minerals helps prevent uncomfortable digestive conditions like constipation and bloating.
In general, the taste can tell you a lot about the quality of your water. Because mineral water has high levels of the right kinds of minerals, it often has a more pleasant and refreshing taste than other types of water.
Having great-tasting water can encourage you to consume more water on a daily basis. And as we've already covered, that's great for your overall health. Upping your water intake has a ton of health benefits, from improving your organ and muscle function to aiding in weight loss.
Some Important Considerations
Overall, drinking mineral water is about as safe as drinking other types of bottled water. The extra minerals can give you a little boost, helping to round out your diet and contribute to your general health.
However, there are some things to keep in mind when deciding how much mineral water you should drink. Mineral water toes the line between an ordinary beverage and a dietary supplement, so as is the case when adding any supplement to your diet, it's important to take your individual needs and overall health into account.
Be Aware of Your Mineral Intake
While getting more minerals in your diet is a good thing for many people, be aware of just how much you're getting on an average day. For example, if you take daily vitamin and mineral supplements, make sure you're not going overboard by drinking a lot of mineral water on top of that.
While all those minerals usually won't cause you any harm, ingesting large doses of some minerals can cause symptoms that range from subtle to severe. For example, too much zinc can cause nausea and diarrhea, while too much calcium can put stress on your kidneys and digestive system.
Certain prescription medications can have interactions with high levels of some minerals, as well. If you're worried about this, it's best to talk with your doctor and see if drinking mineral water could cause any complications.
Read the Label on the Bottle
Different mineral water brands vary in their mineral content. Before you buy, check the labels to make sure you're getting enough of everything but not too much of anything.
For example, some mineral water brands can go a little heavy on the sodium. So if you're trying to avoid sodium for health reasons, be extra careful. Also be on the lookout for any added sugar or artificial sweeteners, which can add calories and sabotage the health value.
Different levels of minerals can also affect the taste of the water. You might have to shop around and try a few different brands to find your favorite one.
Carbonated vs. Regular
Carbonated or sparkling mineral waters are very popular, and your local grocery store is likely to stock plenty of different kinds. They can bring a little zing to your regular water routine.
If you're trying to get away from soda pop, mineral water is a much healthier alternative. Whether the carbonation is natural or artificially added makes no difference in terms of health. It's the extremely high amount of sugar in non-diet soda that's the big problem.
While most likely fine in moderation, carbonated water does have a lower pH than regular water. Over time, this can cause some damage to tooth enamel, but it's still a lot better for your teeth than soda, though.
And as with any kind of fizzy beverage, carbonated mineral water can cause some people to have minor digestive reactions, like hiccups and bloating.
Adding Mineral Water to Your Daily Routine
Overall, mineral water is a safe and potentially healthful supplement to your regular water intake. The additional minerals it supplies can benefit your body in numerous ways.
It probably isn't necessary to drink mineral water all the time, but it also isn't likely to hurt if you do. The most important thing for your health is to be sure you're drinking enough water in general.
It's recommended that adults get at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. If you drink a lot of tap water, as long as you make sure it's clean and safe, you likely don't need to add mineral water to your diet.
As long as it doesn't contain any added sweeteners, mineral water is a zero-calorie beverage. So if you're looking for a drink that's a little more exciting than regular water but a lot healthier than a soda, mineral water is a great choice.
Stay Educated About Your Drinking Water
Staying hydrated with clean, healthy water is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Want more information about how to tell the quality of your drinking water? Check out this article to learn more.
WaterZen exists to improve your family's health by making information about the water you drink more accessible, straightforward, and easy-to-understand. We do this by providing clear, simple water-quality information for your area based on data from your local water provider, unbiased comparisons, health standards, and expert opinions.
The way we see it, when you're informed about the quality of your water and then empowered to protect your family (and your community), you've achieved "water zen".