Being well-hydrated is one of those simple, everyday health-boosters that facilitates optimal function of our skin, joints, kidneys, bowels, blood pressure, circulation and so much more. Admittedly, though, drinking your fill every day can get dull – one of the big reasons why so many of us fall short. And, if you’re drinking getting your quota straight-from-the-tap, you’re probably doing more harm than good. So, what’s the work-around? One of our favorite ways is to add mineral water – flat or sparkling— to the mix. Think it might be time for you to get into a mineral water groove? We’d vote ‘yes.’ Here’s why:
Don’t tap out your health
You’re probably wondering, why not just drink tap? Well, although it’s better than going without, tap water, depending on your local supply, will likely contain more than a few elements nobody should be voluntarily ingesting, such as aluminum, fluoride, disinfecting agents, improperly disposed of prescription OTC drugs, industrial run-off, pesticide residues and so on. Mineral water, however, will replenish many of the minerals your body needs. Granted, water filters, particularly the high-end ones, can remove some of the problematic ingredients, they don’t trap them all, so keep tap-drinking to an absolute minimum and drink mineral water instead. Cook and make ice cubes with spring water, well water (if you’re lucky enough to have a clean, dependable source,) or filtered water. Avoid drinking spring water stored in plastic bottles, but, if that’s not feasible, transfer and store it in glass decanters to minimize BPA exposure.
Mineral water’s got history
For thousands of years, mankind has been drinking mineral water from natural springs and wells, and bathing in them too to support health and aid healing. Though the ancients may not have known exactly why ‘taking the waters’ conferred therapeutic benefits, they were onto something, absorbing minerals by drinking and soaking them in, at wells and baths. On the therapeutic ingredient list? Sulfate, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate and a number of trace minerals, some of which we don’t always get enough of from food but can absorb more easily through (naturally) mineral-infused water.
It’s the real, real thing
So what is mineral water? It’s the real deal, a product of Mother Nature. As defined by the FDA , mineral water is: “water containing not less than 250 parts per million (ppm) total dissolved solids (TDS), coming from a source tapped at one or more bore holes or springs, originating from a geologically and physically protected underground water source; mineral water shall be distinguished from other types of water by its constant level and relative proportions of minerals and trace elements at the point of emergence from the source; no minerals may be added to this water. Mineral water containing less than 500 ppm TDS must be labeled ‘low mineral content’. Conversely, if the water has more than 1,500 ppm TDS, it must be labeled ‘high mineral content’.”
It has an impressive resume
Developing a mineral water habit is an excellent, virtually effort-free way support wellness. A few glasses of mineral water a day can replace and rebalance electrolytes – good news for those who live in hot climates and outdoor exercisers. It’s a terrific calcium source, with some brands providing as much as half your daily needs from just a liter, making mineral water a great option for those who need to avoid dairy. Mineral water may even help boost athletic performance; lower bad cholesterol and raise the good; and help remove aluminum from the body, which in turn may slow the progression of cognitive decline. Sound intriguing? We think so.
What’s inside the (glass) bottle counts
By some estimates, there are thousands of brands of mineral water sold around the globe. Their contents aren’t identical, even if, minerally-speaking, there are numerous similarities. But the brew you get from Malaysia, be it flat or sparkling, will differ from what’s inside a Mexican or American bottle, as mineral contents (and regulations) vary from country to country, even state to state, so read the labels. In general though, topping your tank with a well-chosen mineral water – like Gerolsteiner, Perrier, San Pelligrino, etc.) – will add value to your water-drinking habit, beyond just simple hydration. Most mineral waters will contain upwards of 25 or more naturally-occurring ingredients, some healthier than others.
Here are a few to look for:
· Bicarbonates & chloride, to support digestive function
· Calcium, to support teeth, bones, muscle and heart
· Iron, to support healthy circulation
· Magnesium, to support healthy blood pressure, immunity and energy production
· Sulfate, to support detoxification
And here’s what to side-step:
· Mineral waters sold in plastic or cans – glass is the way to go to ensure against chemical leaching
· Mineral waters with high sodium content (like Vichy) as they can push up blood pressure
· Mineral waters with nitrates, which can be unhealthy for pregnant women and babies
· Look for low or no aluminum content – to minimize heavy metal exposure and possible Alzheimer’s link
More fizz, more fun
Though either kind is fine, ‘fizzy’ water on a purely psychological level, can feel more festive than flat, perhaps because it connects with our inner soda-loving child. As it feels more like a treat than a medicinal must-do, chances are, you’ll drink more, which equals less dehydration and more optimal function. What’s the right amount for you? Enough fizzy or flat water to keep your urine pale yellow. If it’s headed in a yellower direction, it’s a sign your body needs more fluids than you’re giving it. On the flip side, if your urine is transparent, you may be overdoing it, which can throw off your body’s mineral balance.
It’s a ‘soft’ drink that’s good for you
Another thing that gives sparking mineral water the thumbs up is what’s missing, namely sugar, artificial sweeteners, chemical additives, flavorings, coloring and all that other garbage that gets dumped into commercially-sold beverages. If you’re trying to kick a soda habit (we’re looking at you Diet Coke), a sparkling mineral water gives you some of that ‘mouth-feel’ you’re used to, plus minerals your body needs. Think of it as soda minus the crappy downsides. Need more flavor? Then add a slice of lemon, orange, lime or bitters, and optional touch of stevia to your effervescent brew and enjoy!