Mineral water: Is it good for your health?

Mineral water: Is it good for your health?

There is quite a bit of debate among scientists and health experts about the different benefits of minerals in water. The answer is clear, but maybe it is different from what you expected. First of all, we are going to study the basic aspects of minerals and mineral water.

Minerals

Minerals are inorganic substances (like rocks, for example) found in the earth's strata. When we talk about organic substances, however, we are referring to plant or animal matter.

Like vitamins, minerals help the body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to carry out different functions, from creating strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to create hormones or to maintain a stable heart rate.

But there are different types of minerals. Some are very healthy for the human body, such as calcium, magnesium, or potassium. Others, such as lead, arsenic or barium, are less recommended.

Mineral water

The minerals described above can be found in mineral water and tap water whose original source is mountains, rivers, groundwater or aquifers. However, they are present to a much lesser extent in water whose initial origin is rain or the sea (purified through a desalination process).

Yes, you read that correctly, tap water can contain as many minerals as mineral water. This means that you could be getting mineralized water for almost free through your home tap.

However, the amount and type of minerals contained in both tap and bottled water depends on the original source and the purification process followed. Therefore, it is worth checking the local water report (for tap water) and the bottle label before purchasing water.
Agua mineral: ¿Es buena para la salud?

Health benefits of mineral water

So let's go back to the initial question: Is mineral water good for health?

If you drink two liters of water a day, you could get between 10 and 15% of the recommended daily dose of calcium and up to a third of the recommended dose of magnesium simply through water.

For this reason, researchers from the World Health Organization warn about the risks of drinking demineralized water: “There is sufficient evidence to confirm the consequences of drinking water deficient in calcium or magnesium. Many studies show that water rich in magnesium is related to lower chances of suffering from cardiovascular diseases” (quote translated from English.) See original here.

This contradicts what many self-proclaimed water experts or water filter experts indicate about the benefits of drinking purified water with a low TDS (total dissolved solids). It also means that some filtration systems that remove minerals from water such as reverse osmosis, distilled water, and some weakly mineralized bottled waters may not be as healthy. Learn more about why TDS is not an optimal way to measure water quality here.

There is similar evidence from studies in Israel on desalinated water indicating that the absence of magnesium in tap water could cause deficiencies depending on the diet people eat.

But consuming mineral water is not the only way to obtain these beneficial inorganic substances. For example, calcium can be easily obtained through dairy products or fruits and vegetables.

Bottled mineral water

There is no scientific evidence to indicate that bottled water is healthier than tap water in cases where both have a similar mineral content.

To find out the mineral content of your tap water, you can check your local water report. If you live in Barcelona, you can find it here. In the case of bottled water, you can look at the label. If your water does not contain the minimum recommended amount of calcium (20 mg/L) or magnesium (10 mg/L), make sure you are getting these minerals some other way.

What if I don't like the taste of tap water?

If you want to drink tap water as a source of minerals but don't like the taste, you can use a water filter like TAPP 1, which absorbs more than 70 contaminants such as chlorine, heavy metals and pesticides, but lets the minerals through and leaves a good taste.

Additional sources (in English):

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