If there’s one bit of universal knowledge, it’s that drinking water is immensely important for your health. With crucial roles in aiding digestion, flushing bacteria from the body, cushioning joints, carrying nutrients to the cells, among many others, maintaining hydration is essential for feeling your best.
However, not all types of water are the same, and some offer benefits that provide more to the body than just hydration, which can make one a better choice over another. To help you choose between all these types of water, let’s take a closer look at the different types of water, what sets them apart, and what benefits they can offer.
Tap water is what is piped throughout your house, from the water that comes out of the sink to the water used when flushing a toilet.
Many claim that tap water has an unpalatable taste, but despite this, it is still considered safe to drink across much of the United States. However, it is important to note that the industry regulations used to keep harmful substances, such as lead, out of the water supply do not always work. Additionally, worldwide examinations of water have shown the presence of plastic particles in tap water.
Despite these cons, tap water is the cheapest option for drinking water, which often makes it the best and most accessible choice for your hydration.
Purified water is ground or tap water that has been treated to remove fungi, bacteria, and parasites. This makes it safe to drink, and in many countries, tap water is purified.
However, purifying water can potentially remove beneficial compounds as well, such as fluoride, which is added to tap water to help with tooth decay. Additionally, buying purified water or installing a filtration system can be costly.
Mineral water is pulled from a mineral spring and is chock full of minerals such as magnesium, sulfur, and calcium. These minerals help supplement minerals that the body otherwise cannot make on its own, providing various health benefits and promoting optimal functioning.
However, mineral water can be costly and is often unnecessary since the minerals found in this type of water can also be obtained from a varied diet.
Spring water is bottled from a spring at the source of water flow. Based on this theory, it should be clean and free of toxins. However, some spring water is unfiltered and untested, which can pose health concerns depending on what is contained in it.
Spring water also contains many of the same minerals as mineral water, providing similar health benefits, but this also comes at a higher price, just like mineral water.
Sparkling water, also known as soda water or carbonated water, is infused with carbon dioxide while under pressure. For those looking for a change from flat water, sparkling water offers a different mouth sensation. Additionally, it is a fizzy alternative with no sugars or artificial sweeteners, making it a healthier option than soda.
Sparkling water also tends to be mineralized, which offers mineral benefits. However, this, combined with carbonation, can increase the price.
To create distilled water, regular water is boiled, and the steam is collected and condensed back into a liquid. This offers a way to drink clean water when you are somewhere with a contaminated tap water supply.
However, a significant con of distilled water is that it contains no vitamins or minerals, which also means that it offers no health benefits. Even more detrimental to your oral health is that distilled water often tries to pull minerals from wherever it can, and when drinking it, this is commonly your teeth. This can then increase your risk of tooth decay and cavities.
Flavored water has been sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners through natural or artificial flavorings. This gives water a better taste, which makes it easier to drink in larger amounts. The different flavor varieties also add variation to your beverage, which keeps things interesting and can make it easier to meet your daily water goals.
However, certain flavored water varieties contain added sugar, which can lead to weight gain or be dangerous for those with diabetes. As a healthier alternative, fruit and vegetables can be added to water as a natural source of flavoring.
Alkaline water contains negative oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) and alkaline minerals, which gives it a higher pH than regular tap water. Many people believe that the higher pH of this water helps to slow the aging process or prevent cancer, but scientific evidence backing up these claims is minimal.
There are also some risks to be aware of with alkaline water, namely that it can reduce stomach acid, which lowers the body’s ability to kill harmful bacteria and could lead to infection. Additionally, excess alkaline water can lead to metabolic alkalosis, which has symptoms of vomiting and nausea.
While alkaline water is generally safe to drink, it is important to be aware of these risks.
Electrolyte water is enhanced with electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium, which are charged minerals. They are crucial for a number of roles in the body, such as controlling fluid balance, regulating blood pressure, and helping muscles contract.
Electrolyte waters are not essential to drink at all times, and are typically only needed during prolonged exercise or when sick with diarrhea or vomiting. Additionally, it is important to note that not all electrolyte drinks are created equal, with some containing a significant amount of sugar that can lead to weight gain if consumed regularly.
Water is crucial for maintaining most processes in the body, yet many people still have a hard time with drinking enough. However, with all the different types of water available to drink, there’s no reason not to hit that daily water goal of 11 cups for women and 16 cups for men, as suggested by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Whether looking for a cheap option, like tap water, or something more interesting, such as flavored water, each type of water offers a range of benefits to your body and health. While some of the healthier water options offer added minerals and electrolytes, the best water choice will, ultimately, be the one that encourages you to stay hydrated.