Discover the truth about spring water vs. purified water to determine the healthiest choice for hydration. Registered dietitian explains the facts.
In the quest for the healthiest water to drink, there are a multitude of options available: spring water, purified water, mineral water, alkaline water, the list goes on. But which one is truly the best for your body? According to registered dietitian nutritionist Caroline West Passerrello, the answer may surprise you. While there may be buzzwords surrounding certain types of water, the bottom line is that as long as it is safe to drink and you can afford and access it, any type of water will suffice. The important thing is to drink enough of it, with the recommended daily intake for adults being about 100 ounces, or between nine and 13 cups. Beyond that, the majority of your essential vitamins and minerals should come from food rather than water. So, the choice is yours – grab a bottle of your preferred water and start hydrating! https://www.youtube.com/embed/IlhtPEEubzA
Water is water
Water – it’s a simple concept, yet there are so many different kinds available for purchase. There’s purified water (tap water that’s been stripped of nutrients and may be added back in later), enhanced waters with minerals and electrolytes, alkaline water, and spring or natural water. With all these options, it can be overwhelming to determine which is the best and healthiest water to drink. However, the truth is, when it comes to hydration, water is water. As long as it’s safe to drink and accessible for you, that’s what your body needs.
According to Caroline West Passerrello, a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the most important factor is that you’re drinking enough water. The general guideline for adults is about 100 ounces a day, which is equivalent to around nine to thirteen cups. While you may also get some water from the fruits and beverages you consume throughout the day, it’s recommended that between a third to a half of your daily water intake should come from plain water. If you’re not intentionally adding water to your day, there’s a good chance you’re dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to various health issues, such as fatigue, constipation, muscle cramps, and headaches. Therefore, it’s crucial to develop a habit of drinking enough water every day.
Enhanced water and nutrition goals
While water is the best choice for hydration, enhanced water can be beneficial if you have specific nutrition goals. For example, mineral water often contains added sodium, potassium, or calcium. These minerals can be beneficial for athletes or individuals recovering from illnesses. However, it’s essential to pay attention to the nutrition fact panel to determine the quantity of added minerals in the enhanced water. Ideally, if you want these minerals in your diet, aim for around 20% of the recommended daily value. On the other hand, if you don’t want excessive amounts of these minerals, ensure that it’s lower than 5%. It’s important to note that while enhanced water can provide some additional benefits, the bulk of your vitamins and minerals should come from a well-balanced diet consisting of whole foods.
Understanding alkaline water
Alkaline water is another type of water that has gained popularity in recent years. It has a higher pH level compared to normal water, and some believe that it helps to maintain the body’s pH balance or provides superior hydration. However, according to West Passerrello, your body is already equipped to maintain its pH balance, primarily through the liver and kidneys. Alkaline water is not necessary for hydration, and it’s best to rely on regular water for your daily water intake. It’s important to note that the claims surrounding alkaline water’s benefits are not scientifically supported.
Safety of tap water
Tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is generally safe to drink. The EPA has guidelines for contaminants in drinking water based on the Safe Drinking Water Act. These standards vary by municipality, but as long as the tap water meets these guidelines, it is considered safe. Municipalities will often issue alerts if there are any issues with the water quality and advise residents to boil tap water or refrain from drinking it. It’s essential for the municipality to provide information about the water quality and any potential risks to the public.
Concerns about PFAS in tap water
One of the current concerns regarding tap water is the presence of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.” PFAS are highly persistent in the environment and have been linked to various health effects, including cancers, thyroid disease, and pregnancy-related issues. A study from the U.S. Geological Survey revealed that nearly half of the tap water in the U.S. is estimated to contain at least one type of PFAS. Urban areas are particularly at risk. The EPA has stated that any detectable amount of PFAS in drinking water is unsafe for consumption. It’s crucial to stay informed about the water quality in your area and take necessary precautions, such as using water filters or seeking alternative water sources if needed.
Promoting water consumption
Drinking enough water on a daily basis is crucial for maintaining good health. However, developing a habit of drinking more water can be challenging for some individuals. According to West Passerrello, it’s helpful to find something that you do habitually every day and incorporate water into that routine. For example, you can keep a reusable water bottle in your car cup holder or drink a glass of water before scrolling on social media. Adding water as a habit to an existing routine is often less challenging than creating an entirely new habit. By making water easily accessible and integrating it into your daily activities, you can ensure that you’re consistently drinking an adequate amount of water.
Examining vitamin water
Vitamin water is another type of enhanced water that has gained popularity in recent years. It claims to provide additional vitamins and minerals, offering potential health benefits. However, experts have mixed opinions on the effectiveness and necessity of vitamin water. While it can provide some supplemental nutrients, it’s important to remember that the best source of vitamins and minerals is a well-balanced diet consisting of whole foods. Food contains larger amounts of these essential nutrients, making a more significant impact on your overall health.
There may be potential drawbacks to consuming excessive amounts of vitamin water, such as an increased intake of sugar or unnecessary calories. Additionally, many commercially available vitamin waters may not contain significant amounts of vitamins. It’s important to read the nutrition fact panel and assess the quantity and quality of the added vitamins and minerals before consuming vitamin water. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can help determine if vitamin water is a suitable addition to your diet.
Additional health tips for a balanced diet
While water is essential for hydration, it’s just one component of a healthy lifestyle. To maintain overall health and well-being, it’s important to focus on a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. Aim to incorporate a rainbow of colors into your meals, as different fruits and vegetables offer unique nutrients and health benefits.
Nuts are also a valuable addition to a balanced diet. They provide essential fatty acids, protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. However, it’s important to consume them in moderation due to their high-calorie content. Incorporating a handful of nuts into your diet as a snack or adding them to salads and other dishes can provide numerous health benefits.
It’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to create a personalized and balanced diet plan that suits your specific nutritional needs and preferences.
Understanding different food choices
When it comes to making food choices, it’s essential to consider the nutritional value and health impact of the foods you consume. Opting for whole, unprocessed foods is generally the best choice for a healthy diet. These foods are rich in essential nutrients and free from additives, preservatives, and excessive amounts of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats.
It’s important to read food labels and be mindful of the ingredients and nutritional information. Look for foods with minimal added sugars, trans fats, and artificial additives. Aim to include lean protein sources, whole grains, and a variety of fruits and vegetables in your meals. It’s also beneficial to incorporate healthy cooking methods, such as grilling, baking, or steaming, to preserve the nutritional content of the foods.
While occasional indulgences are part of a balanced diet, it’s important to prioritize whole, nutrient-dense foods for optimal health and well-being.
Exploring other common health questions
In addition to water and food choices, there are numerous other common health questions that individuals may have. Whether it’s about the benefits of apple cider vinegar, the suitability of Pilates as an exercise, or understanding concepts like “ambient gaslighting” or “main character energy,” it’s essential to seek reliable information and evidence-based answers.
It’s always a good idea to consult with healthcare professionals, registered dietitians, or trusted sources for accurate information regarding health-related questions. Staying informed and asking questions can empower you to make educated decisions about your health and well-being. Remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a continuous journey that involves making informed choices and seeking professional guidance when needed.