All living organisms need water to stay alive, and one of the main ways we get water into our bodies is by drinking it.
Although you may not be able to tell them apart by taste, there are multiple types of drinking water. They include:
- Tap water
- Electrolyte water
- Purified water
- Distilled or deionized water
- Alkaline water
- Mineral or springwater
Mineral water is also known as spring water because it comes from natural springs, which are places where moving underground water comes out of an opening in the land's surface.
Mineral water can also be made artificially by adding salts to distilled water or aerating it with carbon dioxide to create more carbonation. However, mineral water is naturally carbonated to varying degrees.
The nutritional content of both natural and artificial mineral water varies greatly, but it typically has a high content of minerals like:
- Calcium carbonate
- Magnesium sulfate
- Sodium sulfate
It may also contain gases like:
- Carbon dioxide
- Hydrogen sulfide
Due to its carbonation and mineral content, mineral water is known to provide multiple health benefits, including:
Contributing to Heart Health
In one study, post-menopausal women drank 1 liter of mineral water per day for two periods of two months each. The results showed that mineral water intake lowered the levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol and raised the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol.
Lowering Blood Pressure
In one 2004 study, researchers evaluated the effects of mineral water on subjects who all had borderline hypertension (high blood pressure) as well as low levels of calcium and magnesium. After four weeks of drinking mineral water, they noted a significant decrease in these people’s blood pressure.
Relieving Symptoms of Constipation
For people with dyspepsia (indigestion) and constipation, carbonated mineral water can decrease constipation as well as significantly improve its symptoms. As an added benefit, it can also improve gallbladder function.
Although there aren't any health risks involved in drinking mineral water itself, drinking it out of a plastic bottle may pose certain risks.
Bottled water contains large amounts of microplastic, which are small pieces of plastic debris.
The majority of bottled water comes in bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), otherwise known as plastic #1. Research shows that PET can act as an endocrine disruptor, which changes your hormonal systems.
The other kind of plastic often used for bottling water is plastic #7, which contains bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA. Many countries have banned this substance due to its toxicity. Exposure to BPA is linked to:
- Fertility issues
- Problems with brain development
- Heart issues
BPA can be released in other plastic as well, especially in high temperatures or if the bottle is stored for an extended period of time.
If the mineral water you choose is highly carbonated, the bubbles in the carbonation can lead to stomach upset, including bloating. People who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), should consider avoiding carbonated beverages as a lifestyle modification to avoid making their symptoms worse.
Although drinking water is encouraged as a healthy lifestyle choice, it is possible — though unlikely — for you to drink too much. Drinking a lot of water quickly can dilute the amount of sodium in your body. Sodium is an electrolyte that helps regulate the water in your cells, and too much water can lead to an imbalance, creating a condition called hyponatremia. It’s rare, but water intoxication can lead to comas and seizures and can prove fatal.
Amounts and Dosage
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for water to be labeled as mineral water, it must contain between 1,500 milligrams per liter of total dissolved minerals. However, in Europe, any water that has mineralization is considered mineral water.
Because the mineral content varies so widely between different kinds of mineral water, there isn't a recommended daily amount.
There are, however, guidelines for how much calcium and magnesium you should get, which are the two most prevalent nutrients in mineral water. Although it varies by age, gender, and condition, adults typically require 1,000 milligrams of calcium. Men and women between the ages and 19 and 30 require 400 and 310 milligrams of magnesium, respectively.