Minerals are naturally occurring inorganic compounds essential for human health. In fact, they are responsible for a host of vital functions, from controlling bone growth to regulating fluids and normalizing nerve and muscle activity to promoting healthy skin and growing connective tissues. Minerals are found in many different foods and drinks, including water. In fact, some studies suggest that drinking mineral water may offer certain health benefits.
However, the minerals found in tap water differ greatly depending on where you live. To determine this, consumers can check their local EPA website for reports on water quality, which often contains information about the mineral content of their area’s tap water.
Tap water is usually delivered to homes through public supplies that move it from its source to treatment plants, where it undergoes chemical disinfection, before being distributed to households via underground pipes. In some areas, the water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium, which give it a hard taste. This can be problematic as the minerals can clog pipes, which can lead to contaminants and limited flow.
Despite these issues, public water suppliers try to maintain healthy water. They add fluoride, which prevents tooth decay, and regulate the level of minerals in drinking water, ensuring that no single mineral is too low or too high. However, these public suppliers cannot control the amount of minerals that enter the supply from rusty or leaking pipes. For this reason, bottled water that comes from natural underground reservoirs and mineral springs is often considered better for one’s health.
While mineral water can sound tempting, consumers need to consider how much they need these minerals in their diets. For example, a study in the journal Nutrients suggests that drinking a liter of most North American mineral waters will fulfill only a small percentage of the recommended intakes for calcium and magnesium for adults. On the other hand, some of these waters may fulfill a significant proportion of these dietary requirements, depending on the brand in question.
In addition to these minerals, many bottled waters also contain trace elements, which are necessary for carrying out several important body functions, like protein synthesis and cellular metabolism. Some of these trace elements are even more crucial for those who do not eat enough meat and dairy products.
Moreover, recent research, such as a study published in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease in 2019, shows that drinking mineral water can have beneficial effects on metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by a high blood pressure, triglyceride and cholesterol levels and low HDL-cholesterol. Lastly, most bottled water brands fortify their products with electrolytes, vitamins and minerals, and botanicals to improve their taste and nutritional value. Nevertheless, these additives should be consumed in moderation, as excessive intake of these nutrients can increase the risk of health problems. In order to get the optimal benefit, consumers should opt for natural and wholesome drinking water that is free of synthetic chemicals and is sourced from geologically protected underground sources.