Water is crucial to lives across the globe. However, some people choose bottled mineral over tap water, but is it always beneficial?
What is mineral water?
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), mineral water contains 250 parts per million (ppm) of dissolved solids (TDS), coming from protected underground water sources. This water contains minerals such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and bicarbonate. Beyond the above-mentioned elements, some mineral waters also contain iron and iodine whose therapeutic properties provide health benefits. This type of water is mostly used for medical purposes. Mineral water is good for long-distance travelers.
Benefits of mineral water
As mineral water contains nutrients, it can have health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, regulating blood circulation, strengthening bones and promoting digestive health. According to the National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the benefits of minerals in mineral water can be listed as the following:
- Calcium: bone development, regulation of muscle contraction and myocardium activity, blood clotting and nerve impulses transmission
- Magnesium: bone formation, nervous and muscular activities, lipid metabolism and protein synthesis
- Potassium: muscles and myocardium activities, neuromuscular excitability, acid-base balance
- Sodium: regulation of cell permeability and body fluids
- Iron: blood and muscle tissues such as hemoglobin and myoglobin
- Zinc: synthesis and stabilization of genetic material
- Bicarbonate: digestion, a lactic acid buffer during exercise
Healthy level of chemicals in the mineral water
A piece of EU legislation, which is binding for member states, indicated the healthy level of the four important minerals in the water:
- “Water with bicarbonate”, if bicarbonate content is >600 mg/L
- “Water with calcium”, if calcium content is >150 mg/L
- “Water with magnesium”, if magnesium content is >50 mg/L
- “Water with sodium”, if sodium content is >200 mg/L
Disadvantages of mineral water intake
There is nothing that suggests mineral water has negative health impacts. However, there are few disadvantages of it, compared to conventional tap or filter water.
- High cost
- Hiccups or bloating can occur due to carbonate chemicals used in sparkling mineral water.
- Some mineral water brands might add sugar and artificial sweeteners that can lead to diabetes and heart disease. Also, some bottled water can include a high level of sodium, which is not suitable for people with a low sodium diet.
Who should ingest mineral water?
It is good to drink all water as much as possible, and mineral water is no exception, especially during vigorous exercise, as water and minerals are lost through sweat. However, it is recommended to drink conventional tap water as well.
Who should not drink mineral water?
According to the Australia’s Department of Health, sodium contained in mineral water is not generally considered harmful at normal levels of intake. However, the following people should be aware of the level of sodium, or salt, in mineral water when the level is greater than 20 milligrams per litre:
- Persons who are monitoring their salt intake for high blood pressure
- Persons with cardiovascular or heart disease
- Persons with kidney problems or kidney stones
- Persons on low sodium diets