For most people, drinking enough water is a constant struggle. It always seems like no matter how much water you drink, it’s still nowhere close to the recommended amount of eight glasses a day. And unless you want to walk around carrying a gallon of water all day to remind you to drink, it seems like you’ll never really get enough. In addition to worrying about how much water you drink, should you also be concerned about what type of water you drink? Some health experts argue that quality is just as important as quantity.
Mineral water claims to promote all sorts of health benefits, including lower blood pressure, better acid/alkaline balance in the body, and even weight loss. But is mineral water all it’s cracked up to be or just another gimmicky health hack that you don’t need to waste your money on? We’ve done the research and lay it all out in this article.
What Is Mineral Water?
Simply put, mineral water is water that contains several different minerals (duh, right?), such as magnesium, sodium, zinc, and calcium but it can also contain sulfur compounds. Mineral water can either be sparkling or “still” be depending on if there are any gasses added to it.
During our ancestor’s time, mineral water was usually consumed right at the source. Today, most mineral water is bottled at the source and then distributed throughout the world. Ths works better for society because you don’t have to seek an underground cave anymore if you want to consume mineral water. Research shows that there are more than 3,000 different brands of mineral water available for commercial use worldwide, so you definitely have your fair share to pick from.
Chemically speaking, the more magnesium and calcium found in mineral water, the harder it’s said to be. On the other hand, when mineral water contains lower amounts of calcium and magnesium, it’s referred to as soft. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, mineral water must contain at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids or TDS that come from a protected underground water source. You can’t add minerals to this water.
Keep in mind that some brands of mineral water refer to any bottled carbonated water or soda water, so you’ll want to make sure you know where your mineral water is sourced from. In Europe, mineral water is referred to as bottled water that has been bottled at the source. It must not undergo any treatment (or very little treatment) and it can be filtered to remove impurities as long as this process does not impact any of the water’s natural compounds.
Mineral Water Benefits
Research shows that drinking it is a good way to increase your mineral intake. In fact, you get as much as 10 to 15 percent of your daily recommended intake of calcium from tap water anyway. And because mineral water contains as much as four times the amount of minerals as tap water, you can be sure that you’re getting way more than a measly 15 percent when you drink it.
So, why are minerals important anyway? Well, even though your body only needs them in small amounts, minerals play a big role in maintaining your health. Here’s a breakdown of some of the ways your body uses the minerals in mineral water:
Most people know that they need calcium for strong bones, but did you know that you also need calcium to reduce your risk of obesity and colon cancer? Pretty powerful stuff, huh? Research shows that calcium accounts for two percent of your total body weight as an adult. Most of the calcium in your body is stored in your teeth and bones, but there are also trace amounts located in your circulatory system. These are needed to prevent hemorrhages that could turn life-threatening. Calcium has also been shown to :
● Help maintain healthy gums, teeth, and bones
● Strengthen the backbone, which can help alleviate back pain
● Keep bones in their proper shape
● Prevent osteoporosis and arthritis
● Aid in weight loss
● Protect your heart muscles
● Maintain a healthy blood pressure
● Suppress the growth of polyps that may cause cancer
● Reduce depression and mood swings associated with PMS
● Prevent kidney stones
● Contribute to acid/alkaline balance
● Transport nutrients across your cell membranes
That’s a lot of responsibility for one little mineral, and if you’re lactose intolerant or don’t eat dairy, then you could missing out. Drinking mineral water is a great way to get your calcium intake up.
If you thought your magnesium levels didn’t matter, think again. Magnesium is needed in more than 600 chemical reactions in your body, including protein formation, energy production, the maintenance of your genes, muscle movements, and regulation of the nervous system. Research shows that you also need magnesium to:
● Fight depression
● Boost exercise performance
● Protect against type 2 diabetes
● Lower blood pressure
● Reduce inflammation (which helps reduce pain and autoimmune symptoms)
● Prevent migraines
● Reduce insulin resistance
● Improve PMS symptoms
In other words, you’d have a tough time calling yourself healthy without magnesium in your diet. Sadly, research shows that as many as half of the population in the United States and Europe don’t get enough magnesium. Drinking mineral water is an excellent way to make sure you get your daily intake of magnesium in while staying hydrated, too. You’ll feel more energized, happier, and your body will work better.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral needed in small amounts only, but it has a lot of jobs, including helping with hormone production, immunity, digestion, growth and development, and disease prevention. Did you know that zinc has anti-inflammatory properties and can even fight cancer and heart disease? Yep, that’s zinc for you. If you feel run down, tired all the time no matter how much you sleep, have problems recovering from infections or wounds, or suffer from poor concentration levels, then you might have low levels of zinc.
Here are some other important health benefits of zinc:
● Cancer fighter
● Reduces oxidative stress
● Acts as an antioxidant in the body to reverse free radical damage
● Immune system booster
● Helps balance hormones
● Naturally increases testosterone levels
● Fights diabetes
● Supports healthy blood vessels to reverse heart disease
● Relieves clogged or damaged arteries
● Prevents and cures diarrhea
● Helps increase fertility in men and women
● Supports a healthy digestive system
● Helps with nutrient uptake (so that you absorb all the good stuff you’re eating)
● Helps maintain a healthy liver
● Aids in muscle growth and repair to give you lean muscle mass
You can find zinc in lots of meat-based sources, such as lamb, salmon, chicken, and eggs, but it’s also found in lots of plant-based dishes too. Some typical examples include cashews, pumpkin seeds, and chickpeas. If your diet is high in refined foods and carbohydrates, then you could be at risk of not getting enough zinc. In that case, drinking mineral water is a simple fix!
Salt gets a bad rap among people with high blood pressure and those who just want to stay healthy, but sodium is a much-needed mineral that you don’t want to be deficient in. The problem is that most people get their sodium levels from fast food and other unhealthy sources, like fried food and packaged junk. Before you go thinking that sodium is bad for you, check out what it does in the body.
As an electrolyte, sodium helps make sure that your body maintains proper fluid levels. And this is important since over half of your body is made up of water anyway. Sodium also plays a role in enzyme operations and muscle contractions. Enzymes are the starter for many chemical reactions in the body. You need them to breathe, to digest your food and to move your muscles, just to name a few key operations. Sodium is also needed for the following:
● Fluid level regulation
● Helps prevent heat stroke, which occurs when your body is exposed to high temperatures (like on a hot day)
● Assists with brain function
● Helps relieve muscle cramps
● Helps restore healthy, youthful looking skin by fighting free radicals
● Controls the rate in which glucose is absorbed
● Helps maintain an acid/alkaline balance in the body
● Controls blood pressure
● Helps regulate ions
If you don’t get enough sodium in your diet, your nervous system will quite literally begin to shut down.
You might also experience muscle weakness, low blood pressure, weight loss, confusion, dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, and lethargy. On the other hand, getting too much sodium is linked to high blood pressure, swelling of the neural nerves and tissues, and lung infections. The trick is to make sure your sodium comes from good, clean sources such as mineral water, and lay off the french fries.
Health Benefits of Sulfur Compounds
Aside from being a good source of minerals, mineral water also contains one important ingredient that is responsible for many of its health benefits: sulfate. Sulfates are salts that form when sulfuric acid comes in contact with and reacts with another chemical. Some research shows that sulfate might become just as important as nitric oxide in the body, which is a signaling molecule that disappears quickly. Nitric oxide is most notably known for helping men get and keep an erection, but it’s also needed to boost exercise performance, decrease muscle soreness, reduce blood pressure, and help manage type 2 diabetes. But enough about that. Back to sulfate.
Sulfate is the eight most common element in your body based on your body mass. It’s also the third most abundant mineral in the body. However, there is no recommended daily amount for it. Additionally, your body doesn’t make sulfates from the sulfur you eat, so you need a really good source to keep your levels up. Sulfur is commonly found in the soil where we get our food from, so you would think that our food would naturally give us the amounts we need, right? Wrong. As it turns out, we’ve damaged our soil so much that our food barely contains any sulfur at all, which is why it’s important to get it from other sources. Enter mineral water.
Sulfur acts as an antioxidant in the body, so when you drink mineral water it’s like you’re fighting free radicals right on the spot. We’re not pointing fingers, but we bet your tap water can’t do that. Because of its antioxidant powers, sulfur plays a role in the natural detoxification process of your body. One of the ways it does this is by producing glutathione, which is deemed “the mother of all antioxidants.” Together, these two antioxidants help clear the body of toxins and prevent disease, and that’s something you definitely want more of!
What’s Wrong With Tap Water?
One of the many reasons why people don’t drink a lot of mineral water is because tap water is free (kind of- you still have to pay your water bill). They don’t like the idea of going out and buying water when they can get it straight out of their kitchen sink. True, that’s one of the benefits of tap water, but consider what you’re drinking. Tap water isn’t all that clean. In fact, it’s full of some pretty disgusting stuff, including lead, arsenic, pathogens, chlorine, atrazine (a pesticide), radioactive contaminants such as rocket fuel (what?!), and even pharmaceutical drugs.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on all the ways you use tap water, shall we? If you don’t have a filtration device at home, then all the water you are exposed to is full of yucky stuff. This means that when you brush your teeth, cook your food, drink tap water, wash your clothes or dishes, and take a shower you are exposing yourself and your family to all of these potentially hazardous chemicals. While you can’t exactly bathe in mineral water or use it to run your washer, you can at least control the water that goes in your body by going out and buying mineral water.
So why do people drink tap water anyway? Well, aside from the fact that it’s convenient, tap water contains fluoride, which is recommended by your dentist to keep your teeth healthy. Here’s the problem with that: fluoride isn’t all that great for us. In fact, some research shows that fluoride may even cause brain damage, especially in children. Additionally, some research shows that fluoride doesn’t even protect against cavities at all and that consuming it is problematic. When you drink tap water, all those toxins that are found in it will eventually accumulate in your tissues and cells, which means that you’ll either have to get rid of them by doing a detox or suffer the consequences. Either way, tap water contains some questionable ingredients that most people would rather not drink.
Best Brands of Mineral Water
Picking out a brand of mineral water can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. There are lots of options and they can get overwhelming. The best thing to do is to start by trying a bunch of different brands and picking the one you like best. Remember that all bottled water doesn’t necessarily mean it’s mineral water. So be sure to check the label to make sure your water contains minerals. Here are some of the best mineral water brands out there based on several voting systems:
1. San Pellegrino
Hands down, San Pellegrino is the best-rated mineral water out there. Aside from being widely available just about anywhere, San Pellegrino contains more sulfate than other brands of mineral water, which makes it more appealing. Plus, it doesn’t contain any chemicals or sugar and is an excellent addition to any diet whether you’re vegan, keto, or anything in between. The only downside is that a bottle of this stuff can be somewhat expensive.
Research shows that it contains 459 milligrams of sulfate per liter. It also has calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium and some other trace minerals. The company has a trusted brand that been around since the 1300’s, and its mineral water comes from a basin near the bottom of a dolomite mountain. The next time you’re at Starbucks, grab a San Pellegrino mineral water to stay hydrated after you’ve had your caffeine for the day.
Perrier mineral water comes in a couple of different flavors, which is nice if you’re looking for something fruity to quench your thirst. Keep in mind that if you buy a flavored water, it might contain sugar or a sugar-free substitute, which may cause gastrointestinal upset if you drink too much of it. Perrier also offers an original kind that is flavor free if you want your water as clean as possible. You can buy Perrier in either a plastic or glass bottle, and it comes in a couple of different sizes. Their website offers some cool cocktail recipes using their product, such as their Perrier Guarana Boost, which features fresh lime juice, fresh ginger, guarana syrup and Perrier water.
Gerolsteiner is a brand of sparkling mineral water that is sourced from the Volcanic Eifel in Germany, which is known for its prehistoric volcanic activity and dolomite rock. The water is naturally carbonated through a process in which the carbonic acid allows that water to soak up the minerals of the dolomite rock, according to the website. The waters are naturally filtered through several rock layers, and they peak at the height of 200 meters. The company bottles the water at its source (and not at some warehouse) to ensure that it stays as true to form as possible. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? You can find it in various stores across the United States, such as Trader Joe’s, Meijers, Publix, Kroger, Whole Foods, and more.
According to Evian’s website, the source of their mineral water is from the heart of the Alps, which is pretty cool. They claim that the origin of their water dates back thousands of years to the birth of the French Alps. The good part about Evian water is that it comes in several different sizes and they appear to be priced better than some mineral waters. You can get a six pack for about ten dollars online or a 24 case for under $25 on Amazon. They also use recycled plastic bottles and are pretty adamant about asking you to recycle the bottles after you use them. The pH level of Evian mineral water is 7.2, which is perfect to help establish an acid/alkaline balance that prevents diseases from thriving.
5. Topo Chico
Topo Chico sparkling mineral water is carbonated and contains no calories, so it’s a perfect way to drink something with a little pizzazz without ruining your dietary goals. It comes in a couple of different flavors, including lime and grapefruit, or you can stick with the original. You can find Topo Chico at Walmart or at some local stores in Texas. It has a pretty cool story behind it.
According to the website, the daughter of an Aztec Emperor fell ill and was carried hundreds of miles to a spring in a Northern land that contained waters that flowed at high temperatures. It was said that whoever bathed in these waters would be free of all ailments. So the princess spent some time there, drinking the water and bathing in it. Then she returned home, and she was vibrant and healthy again. We’re not sure if the story is real or not, but it makes for a great marketing piece!
What To Look For In Mineral Water
Of course, the most important thing to look for in mineral water is its mineral content. Some brands of mineral water won’t readily say how much of each mineral is in its water, so you may have to do some snooping around. Check on the back of the bottle’s label to see if any ingredients are listed. All mineral water is assumably natural, which means that you won’t really find an ingredient list unless it contains added flavors. In that case, you might see the ingredients but not necessarily the mineral content. Some companies will list this information on their website, so you can check there if you’re really curious.
Keep in mind that mineral water is different from sparkling or bottled water. These types of water might be carbonated or filtered, but they might not have minerals in them. Always look for the words “mineral water” to make sure your brand actually contains minerals and you’re not getting duped. Another thing you might want to keep an eye on (especially if you have high blood pressure!) is sodium content. As we mentioned above, sodium from good, clean sources aren’t as bad for you as the fast food you had for lunch, but you may still wish to find a brand that’s low in sodium if you’re sensitive.
Should You Drink Mineral Water? The Bottom Line
Given that mineral water has numerous health benefits and tap water contains some sketchy ingredients, does that mean that you should switch to mineral water stat? It sort of seems like a no-brainer, but before you make the switch, consider that you could easily get the minerals you’re lacking from your diet by investing in a whole-food supplement and eating a healthy diet. Making dietary changes to include lots of lean meats, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains should be all you need to get your mineral levels back up if they are low.
Vitamins and minerals are killed off when you heat your food to high temperatures, so try to eat foods that are as minimally processed as possible. Keep in mind that eating inflammatory foods damages your gut and impairs your ability to absorb nutrients, so you’ll want to avoid these as well. You can always use mineral water as a supplement to your already healthy diet when you need a boost. Or if you’re out and about and need some water, ask for mineral water whenever possible.
The bottom line is that we like the idea of using mineral water as a supplement, but there’s no reason to spend the money on it if you don’t have it. You can easily get what you need by eating a healthy diet that includes lots of minimally processed foods and taking a multivitamin. And if you’re worried about what’s in your tap water, you can find out here. Also remember that drinking lots of water each day should be your first priority, so make sure you’re getting enough first and then worry about supplementing with mineral water!