The mineral water comes from underground reservoirs. Unlike regular drinking water, mineral water does not undergo chemical processing. As the name suggests, mineral water contains high amounts of minerals, especially magnesium, calcium, and sodium. But is mineral water better than regular water, and what are its benefits?
Mineral water vs. regular water
All living organisms need water to survive. Not only does water support essential physical functions, it also provides vital nutrients that the body does not produce on its own. While most people have access to clean drinking water, many people choose bottled mineral water for its perceived purity and potential health benefits.
How does mineral water compare to regular water? Based on current evidence, the differences are not very significant. Both types contain minerals and undergo some type of processing. However, by definition, mineral water must contain a certain amount of minerals, and the bottling process takes place at the source. We discuss the differences between tap water and mineral water below.
The water in household taps comes from either surface or underground sources. Tap water must meet the standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in your country. These regulations limit the amount of contaminants present in the water supplied to households.
Public water providers transfer water from its source to treatment plants, where it undergoes chemical disinfection. Clean water is eventually delivered to homes through an underground plumbing system. Tap water contains added minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Hard tap water has higher mineral contents, which some consider to be healthier. However, minerals in hard water form deposits that can corrode pipes or restrict flow. Additionally, despite the best efforts of public water providers, contaminants from rusted or leaking pipes can contaminate drinking water.
Mineral water comes from natural underground reservoirs and mineral springs, which give it a higher mineral content than tap water.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), mineral water must contain at least 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids. The FDA prohibits these manufacturers from adding minerals to their products. Minerals that are often present in mineral water include:
- Baking soda.
Unlike tap water, mineral water is bottled at the source. Some people prefer mineral water because of its perceived purity and the lack of chemical disinfection treatments. However, mineral water can undergo some processing. This can include adding or removing carbon dioxide gas (CO 2) or removing toxic substances, such as arsenic.
CO 2 helps prevent oxidation and limits the growth of bacteria in mineral water. Naturally carbonated water gets its CO 2 from the source. Manufacturers can also infuse their water with CO 2 after extraction. The following sections discuss five potential benefits of drinking mineral water.
1. A source of magnesium
Both bottled mineral water and tap water can be sources of magnesium. This nutrient plays essential roles in regulating blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and nerve function.
Some sources have more or less magnesium than others. The amount of magnesium in water can vary from 1 milligram per liter (mg / l) to more than 120 mg / l, depending on the source. The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is as follows:
- 310–320 mg for adult women
- 400–420 mg for adult men
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, most people consume less than the recommended amount of magnesium.
Below are some symptoms of magnesium deficiency:
- Loss of appetite
- Muscular weakness.
- Nausea and vomiting
A severe deficiency can cause some of the following disorders:
- Numbness or tingling
- Muscle cramps.
- Low levels of calcium or potassium.
- Humor changes.
- An irregular heartbeat.
2. Lower blood pressure
Having low magnesium levels can contribute to high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and conditions that cause an irregular heartbeat. Therefore, mineral water rich in magnesium can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
A small-scale study involving 70 adults with borderline hypertension and low magnesium levels found that drinking 1 liter of mineral water per day lowered their blood pressure.
3. Regulation of blood circulation
Mineral water can contain large amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, all of which promote blood circulation. Calcium is necessary to build and maintain strong bones. It also regulates the frequency and rhythm of the heartbeat.
4. Strengthening the bones
Mineral water contains calcium, which helps promote strong bones. When bone tissue breaks down, the body deposits new bone in its place. During adolescence, new bone is deposited faster than old bone breaks down. However, after age 20, bone loss can begin to outpace bone formation, which can lead to brittle and weak bones. Regular exercise and diets rich in calcium can strengthen bones and prevent bone loss.
The authors of one study compared how the body absorbs calcium from milk, calcium supplements, and mineral water. They concluded that mineral water with high amounts of calcium can, in fact, improve the body’s calcium supply.
Magnesium also supports strong bones. Results from a large-scale cohort study suggested that older women with a high magnesium intake of more than 422.5 mg per day had higher bone density than those with a lower mineral intake.
5. Promote digestive health
Getting enough magnesium in your diet can help prevent constipation and improve digestive system health. Magnesium draws water into the intestines, which improves the consistency of the stool. It also relaxes the intestinal muscles, supporting regular bowel movements.
According to the findings of a randomized controlled study, drinking mineral water containing magnesium sulfate and sodium sulfate led to more frequent bowel movements and a better quality of life among people with constipation.
Mineral water is generally safe to drink. Very little research points to any immediate negative health impacts associated with consuming plain mineral water. Carbonated mineral water contains carbonic acid, which can cause hiccups or bloating. However, mineral water and other bottled waters can contain specific contaminants. By definition, mineral water must contain a minimum amount of microbes. Also, mineral water cannot undergo the same disinfection process as tap water because it is bottled at the source, so the variety of microbes can vary.
Many plastic containers contain bisphenol A or BPA. This chemical can interfere with normal hormonal function. Microplastics, tiny plastic particles, are another potential concern. Scientists have identified microplastics in food and beverages, as well as seafood products, beer, and table salt.
The researchers published a systematic review of current data on plastic toxicity. While acknowledging that more research is needed, the authors report that microplastics in bottled mineral water do not appear to pose a safety risk.
Carbonated water damages teeth
Sparkling or carbonated water can damage tooth enamel. Carbonated water has a lower pH than regular water, which makes it slightly acidic. According to a recent study, sparkling water made by a soda carbonator significantly reduced enamel hardness on teeth in a laboratory setting.
However, carbonated water still has less of an impact on your teeth than drinking soda. One study showed that flavored water and sparkling water pose a lower risk to tooth enamel than soda.