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Wellness 3 minutes 20 May 2017

Is Mineral Water Good For You?

From bottled spring water to sparkling carbonated H2O, here's our guide to what goes into the making of each of them.

drinks Healthy wellness

Step into a supermarket and you'll see rows displaying a wide variety of water, from the mineral water up in the Alps to sparkling carbonated H2O. Each bottle comes with its own glorious back story; for instance, the Queen loves Royal Deeside’s natural mineral water for its supposedly anti-aging and smaller molecular structure, making it easier for the body to absorb. Some brands also name their own water as organic to gain an edge in the competitive market, while others go the extra mile to package Norwegian glacier water that’s sold at €80 a bottle.

Here, we take a closer look behind these marketing spiels to study the pros and cons of different waters.
Natural Mineral Water/Natural Spring Water

In this era of man-made products, the label "Natural" comes across particularly reassuring.

Both are unprocessed groundwater, with a key difference: minerals. Spring water is named so because of its lower mineral content, giving it a smoother taste.

How do we know minerals in mineral water are authentic? Check the labelling for the source of the water, tectonics, mineral content, pH value, and other relevant information. Nutritionists recommend using these two types of water in tea brewing and broth making for a better taste and nutritional value.

Pros: Many ancient documents record the healing powers of natural mineral/spring water; it was even viewed as sacred water in Ancient Rome.

Cons: Mineral content varies from source to source; water too rich in minerals strains the bladder and kidneys. Experts note that people with high blood pressure, chronic nephritis or heart disease should be judicious in their consumption.
Mineral Water

The most common type of bottled water. This is rich in minerals usually added after purification. There are no rigorous regulations on either the source or mineral content of manufactured mineral water.

Pros: More affordable, clean and safe, tastes better than natural water.

Cons: If the water source is unknown, it is not unequivocally safer than tap water. Does killing bacteria and adding minerals really make it more valuable? Some experts have their doubts if the human body can really absorb the added minerals.

Distilled Water

Biggest selling point: its purity. It originates as spring or tap water and is boiled, evaporated, condensed and filtered. This ensures all harmful substances are eradicated; it is so pure that it does not even contain minerals. Many consumers are enamoured by its ‘100% pure’ label, a sure contender for ‘Best Marketing Strategy’.

Pros: Pure water is the best, as the human body cannot absorb minerals in water; it also enhances detoxification.

Cons: Its detoxification effects are short term; long term and frequent consumption leads to the possibility of high blood pressure and osteoporosis, due to the high dissolving capacity of pure water. Minerals and trace elements already in your body would simply dissolve into the water.

Alkaline Water

Alkaline diets have been trending, luring countless followers under the banner of ‘neutralising your body’s acids and activating your cells’.

Of course, water manufacturers have taken this chance to produce alkaline water, otherwise known as ionised water with a pH value of 8 or above. With a higher oxygen level than normal water, it is touted as a drink that can seemingly cure all diseases.

Pros: It improves your blood circulation and metabolism, has anti-oxygenation effects, reduces pain and tiredness in acidic bodies and its smaller mineral ions mean better absorption.

Cons: Merely marketing strategy with no scientific evidence.
Alkaline water, or ionised water, with a pH value of 8 or above, lures followers with promises to neutralise bodily acids
Alkaline water, or ionised water, with a pH value of 8 or above, lures followers with promises to neutralise bodily acids
Reverse Osmosis

Abbreviated as RO, it is currently the most technologically advanced and effective water treatment. The process involves applying pressure to reverse the natural flow of a solvent, which then goes through a membrane and becomes purified water. This technology originates from a pilot program in 1960s USA, and has expanded into fields such as medicine, desalination and the massive market of drinking water.

Pros: It is a type of purified water, and the manufacturing process removes all bacteria, viruses, microorganisms, chemical pollutants, radioactive particles and heavy metals. While the human body absorbs minerals mainly from food, with a balanced diet, consuming RO water will not lead to severe mineral deficiency.  

Cons: Long-term consumption of water with no minerals leads to malnutrition.

Oxygenated Water

Injecting more oxygen into our drinking water to increase life expectancy seems to make sense. But there are also those who question the need to pay more for oxygen that is supplied by our Mother Nature for free.

Pros: Replenishing oxygen from drinking water helps soothe the pain and exhaustion that come from oxygen deficiency, and hastens recovery after intense exercising. Oxygenated water also enhances detoxification.

Cons: The idea that drinking water can increase oxygen intake is not supported by science. Even if the digestive system can miraculously absorb oxygen, there is a limit to the amount of oxygen soluble in water – the oxygen above that limit will exist in the form of gas.
Sparkling Water/Soda Water

Also called fizzy water or carbonated water. Some insist that only water with naturally occurring carbonation can be called sparkling water; those that have carbon dioxide added later are called soda water, like Coca-Cola without flavour.

Carbonated spring water dates back to Ancient Greece and Rome and and has become a symbol of taste today. The Japanese even see it as a diet drink as it makes the drinker feel full.

Pros: Don't worry about there being too much carbon dioxide; there is a limit to its solubility. The amount of carbon dioxide in carbonated drinks is far lower than what we metabolically produce. Some medical experts have pointed out that it improves blood circulation, diminishes fatigue and helps with poor digestion and constipation.

Cons: It causes bloating. Experts have warned that over consumption reduces the ability to absorb calcium from food, which would in turn affect bone development and growth.

Artesian Water

This is groundwater from between layers of impermeable rocks, which cause positive pressure. When it is drilled through, the water gushes out without contacting the surface. This means the water is clean and uncontaminated by pollutants and microorganisms.

Pros: It is natural, contains minerals and no harmful substances.

Cons: Some experts insist that natural water is not really healthier than tap water, and the former costs a few hundred, or even thousand, times more than the latter.

Wellness

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