We’ve all heard of mineral water, but many people don’t actually understand what that means. After all, virtually all of the water we drink, whether it comes from the tap or an expensive bottle, contains minerals. What makes “mineral water” special, and is it actually healthier for you than the water you get from the faucet?
What Is Mineral Water?
According to most definitions, mineral water refers to water that has been drawn from sources known to be rich in certain minerals. These often include elements and compounds such as potassium, iron, calcium carbonate, magnesium sulfate, and sodium sulfate — but any water containing more than 250 parts per million of dissolved minerals can technically meet the United States Food and Drug Administration’s standards for mineral water. The FDA also regulates the presence of certain elements in bottled water in order to ensure a standard level of purity and safety.
Certain brands of bottled spring water trade on the notion that, unlike tap water, their product is unprocessed. This can be true sometimes, but in most cases, mineral water does receive some level of processing. This is mostly to ensure that harmful elements, like arsenic or lead, are not present in significant amounts. Still, mineral water does tend to go through less processing than typical municipal water.
Many people also associate mineral water with carbonation. While this is not a requirement, some mineral waters do contain high levels of CO2, making them naturally carbonated. Bottlers may also add some carbon dioxide during processing to make the water fizzier.
Additional minerals can also be added to water to enhance its minerality, but most people are thinking of “pure” spring water rather than artificially enhanced options when they talk about mineral water.
Is Mineral Water Healthier?
One of the primary reasons that many people spend money on mineral water is the assumption that it is healthier. While the overall health effects of drinking mineral water may not be as dramatic as advertising leads us to imagine, there are some real, documented potential benefits to drinking mineral water, depending on which minerals it contains.
Fundamentally, all humans need to maintain a consistent intake of minerals to stay healthy. Most of these come from sources like the food we eat, but drinking mineral water can be one way of getting additional nutrients. Magnesium, potassium, and calcium are particularly notable examples of helpful elements commonly found in mineral water. Increased intake of these minerals (in healthy moderation) has been shown to improve blood pressure, circulation, bone strength, and a variety of other essential body functions. One study even found that drinking mineral water improved the cholesterol levels of post-menopausal women.
However, bottled water can be costly. And it’s also worth noting that, while there are no inherent health risks to drinking FDA-approved mineral water, drinking water from plastic bottles has been linked to a number of environmental and health concerns.
What Minerals Are in Tap Water?
While we wouldn’t typically consider the water from our faucets to be “mineral water,” typical tap water does also contain a variety of elements and compounds. Most of these come from the water’s source. In the United States, most tap water comes from groundwater sources, but each type of water source has its own set of commonly found minerals.
These minerals tend to show up in lower concentrations than they do in bottled spring water and are commonly referred to as trace minerals. Calcium, magnesium, copper, and iodine are all commonly found trace minerals in our tap water that can benefit your health. While not nearly as rich as certified mineral water, drinking tap water can still confer a host of benefits for a fraction of the environmental and financial cost of bottled alternatives.
Hard Water vs. Soft Water
While the minerals in your home’s water are generally safe, not all minerals are good news. For example, tap water that contains elevated levels of calcium is often referred to as “hard water.” While not dangerous, hard water is often seen as less desirable for household use compared to “soft water.” Over time, using hard water can lead to cause buildup in plumbing, shorten the life of appliances, and dry out your skin and hair.
Likewise, even though municipal water needs to be safe to drink by federal law, each area has different standards for water treatment. Tap water can be an excellent, affordable source of reasonably mineral-rich water, but it may not be as delicious or healthy as you want it to be if you rely on local public water treatment alone.
Installing a home water filtration system is often the best way to ensure that you get to enjoy the best aspects of drinking water without having to compromise purity or spend big on pricy spring water. Home filters can improve the clarity, taste, and smell of your tap water and eliminate any harmful contaminants without depriving you of beneficial elements. Despite the perception that only spring water is clear and refreshing, properly filtered water can sometimes taste even fresher than bottled water.
The Science of Water
At The Science of Water, we assess and install water filtration systems to meet your unique needs. Using filtration technology backed by NASA and the EPA, our advanced water systems purify your water supply to the highest standard. Whatever you’re looking for in a water filtration system, we can help you enjoy tap water in your home that’s clear of contaminants and safe to drink.
We even offer free water quality testing and consultations. When you need answers about the safety of your local water supply, our technicians can assess your situation for waterborne threats and recommend the perfect filtration system to suit your needs and budget.
You don’t have to choose between expensive bottled water or underwhelming H2O from the tap. Get your water tested today to protect your household with pure, clean water that can be relied on. For more information about The Science of Water or to book your free water test, just get in touch with our team today!