We all drink water to hydrate. Many think that as long as the water is clean and comes from a safe source, it will be fine for us. We spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of foods we are eating and have developed different tastes and preferences. However we seem to treat water as more of an afterthought.
I would like to shed some light on the magic inside of water. Each kind of water is different. The mineral content in spring and mineral waters can vary from town to town and from brand to brand. What turns me off to tap water, even though it is safe to drink, is that it does not contain enough minerals. It also contains other chemicals that are not normally found in nature. Let me equip you with the basics of minerals in water so next time you choose a water in the store you can make a better choice. I will also tell you about minerals you should avoid.
During my water tastings I have been able to get people to think more about what is in their water and to look at the water label. The European label will be a bit more descriptive compared to an American one, but a lot of mineral data can be obtained online.
The basic minerals most waters have in common are Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Bicorbonate and Silica. Most waters will have a combination of them. The amount depends on the journey the water took – from when it was rain, to the source. The overall mineral content is measured
Calcium is good for your bones. Your body needs lots of it every day. It is also good for your teeth and cell membranes, for the transmission of nerve and muscle impulses and it also helps prevent blood clots. Normally the number on the label will be less then 100 mg/l but it’s good if you find a brand which has a higher amount.
This mineral is a big part of your cells. It is needed for the regulation of muscle contractions and the transmission of nerve impulses. It also activates energy-producing enzymes. Your bones need magnesium, as it helps to expand blood vessels which lessens the risk of heart attacks. Many deficiencies such as nervousness, lack of concentration, dizziness, headaches and migraines come from not having enough magnesium in your body. A normal brand will have about 20 mg/l.
Plain old Salt. It’s interesting that salt water has a TDS of 35,000 and it is not recommended to drink salt water as it will dehydrate your body. While many foods have plenty of salt in them, we do not have to worry about not having enough salt. The opposite is the true. Most water brands will have 10 mg/l but some amazing brands like Vichy Catalan can have over 1,200 mg/l.
Our body needs about 2 – 4 grams per day. The pressure of water between cells is regulated by potassium. It plays a special role in muscle contraction and our heartbeats. A potassium deficiency can weaken skeletal muscle and make smooth muscles tired. Normally you will find 5 mg/L of potassium in most brands.
This mineral is essential for maintaining the body’s ph balance. It is also found in your stomach. Typically you will find 50 – 200 mg/l in most water brands. It neutralizes lactic acid generated by physical activity.
Most adults need between 20 – 30 mg daily. It reduces the risk of heart disease and prevents osteoporosis. It also helps to repair tissue by serving as an antioxidant. Normally you will find 20 mg/L. Some waters like Fiji and Healis will have a much higher content, which will give it a distinctive taste.
This is one mineral you do not want to see in your water. In the water industry, the level of Nitrates will give you an indication of the environment the water source is in. Water with no nitrates is considered superior and is a good one to go for. Water with 7 – 10mg is still acceptable, while the total amount should not exceed 50 mg/l.
Go and explore
With a basic understanding of the main minerals in water, now go out and explore new waters! Waters with a high TDS will have a combination of these minerals (hopefully minus the nitrates) and will give the water a distinctive taste and wellness benefits for your body. As you go through your day, it is good to have a partner with you that can help you to support your body. Keep sipping water throughout the day!