What are the benefits of drinking water? What is the difference between the kinds of water available for consumption? Is one kind the best among the others? While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the best water to drink, knowing the difference between each kind helps you make a more informed decision to better benefit your body or your goals. Integrative health coach Amelia Ball shares some pointers when it comes to drinking water.
Almost everyone has access to tap water. This type of water is clean enough to wash your drinkware and dishes, and to bathe your body. However, “in some places, tap water is not clean enough for human consumption,” Ball said. While in the United States tap water is considered safe to drink, studies show that it may carry substances such as plastic particles.
Mineral water contains substances such as calcium, magnesium, and sulfur, which are very good for the body. It provides minerals that the body cannot create on its own and they also give it a distinct flavor. Mineral water is more costly than tap water and has beneficial properties.
Spring or Glacier Water
Water from springs and glaciers is considered very clean, as this is where the water first flows. In theory, this water is free of toxins and contains the same substances as mineral water. This type of water is usually pricier and comes in bottled form. “It’s important to take into account how our drinking water is stored,” Ball said. “When choosing bottled water, a glass container is best, followed by others that explicitly state free of substances such as BPA.”
Sparkling water is also known as carbonated or soda water. It contains carbon dioxide gas and has a fizzy feel. Some sparkling water is lightly flavored or sweetened. This kind of water is pricey compared to others and it does not contain enough minerals to be considered beneficial for the human body.
This kind of water is the collected vapor from boiled water when it condenses. Distilled water is very low cost but it has no added minerals. As non-mineralized water, it pulls minerals away from the body and from your teeth.
Purified water is treated ground or tap water to remove harmful substances like fungi, parasites, and bacteria. This is one of the safest water choices you can have and is considered the best option for drinking. Purified water undergoes unique processes like deionization and reverse osmosis. Getting a filtration system can be quite costly, but it pays off in the long-term when you can have quick and direct access to purified water right at home.
Alkaline water has a higher pH level compared to regular tap water, and it contains alkaline minerals with a negative oxidation reduction potential. Alkaline water is said to help neutralize acid in the body and fight off cancer. This kind of water is generally safe but it reduces stomach acidity, which makes it weaker in killing off harmful bacteria. Excessive intake of this liquid may cause metabolic alkalosis that produces symptoms like vomiting and nausea.
Well water comes straight from the ground, is untreated, and might carry many risks. If you live near a well or you have it in your backyard, it can be convenient and cost-free. To drink well water safely, you can install a filtration system and check your water for bacteria, nitrates, and pH levels every year to be safe.
When choosing which kind of water to drink, it may come down to price or convenience. While some options contain added minerals that are considered beneficial, the most important thing is to hydrate your body.
“Staying hydrated is crucial for our bodies to function: Physiological processes can occur to keep us balanced, our kidneys get rid of toxins and maintain our pH level, our brain and muscles need water,” Ball said. “To the very microscopic level, every single cell uses water to live and function properly.” She recommends drinking a steady amount of water throughout the day — not all at once. Signs of dehydration include headache, tiredness, irritability, and little or no emptying of the bladder. Every kind of water described above achieves the goal of hydration, and picking the best one for your body or goals is a personal choice — one secondary to staying hydrated.