Water is the essence of life. This colorless, tasteless, and odorless liquid forms a crucial part of our bodies and supports countless vital functions. But with an array of options available, what really is the healthiest drinking water? This blog post dives into the science of hydration to help you make an informed choice.
Tap Water: Accessible and Regulated
Despite often being underrated, tap water in many parts of the world, especially developed countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and many parts of Europe, is a safe and healthy choice1. It’s subject to rigorous quality testing and complies with local health department standards. Plus, it’s enriched with essential minerals like calcium and magnesium, and fluorine for dental health.
However, tap water’s quality can vary depending on the region. Some locations might have contamination issues, or the water might have an unpleasant taste due to chlorine treatment.
Filtered Water: Cleaner and Tastier
Filtered water is an excellent alternative for those skeptical about their tap water. Filters, whether installed on your tap or used in a pitcher, can remove many potential contaminants and improve taste2. The choice of filter can depend on the specific contaminants you want to remove. It’s crucial, however, to maintain these filters correctly to ensure their effectiveness.
Spring and Mineral Water: Nature’s Bounty
Mineral and spring water are derived from natural sources and are rich in minerals. The primary difference between the two lies in their mineral content – mineral water contains more minerals and trace elements, as regulated by law3. These waters can be an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, and other beneficial minerals.
However, be mindful of the sodium content, particularly if you’re on a low-sodium diet. Always read labels before purchase.
Alkaline Water: Balancing pH
Alkaline water, with a pH level above 7, is touted for its potential health benefits, including neutralizing acid in the body4. Some studies suggest it might help with acid reflux, high blood pressure, and diabetes. However, more research is needed to confirm these claims. Drinking alkaline water occasionally can be part of a balanced diet, but it should not replace regular water intake.
Distilled Water: Pure but Lacking
Distilled water is treated to remove all minerals and impurities, making it very pure5. While it’s a good option for specific uses (like in your iron or car battery), it’s not the best choice for regular drinking due to the lack of minerals.
Bottled Water: Convenient but Environmentally Costly
- (https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/public/index.html) ↩
- (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/water-filters/faq-20058473) ↩
- (https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/labeling-bottled-water) ↩
- (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/alkaline-water) ↩
- (https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/distilled-water-and-its-uses) ↩