What is contained in mineral water?
All health experts champion the benefits of drinking at least one-and-a-half litres of water a day and many recommend that you should choose bottled mineral water.
Natural mineral water provides your body with essential minerals such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium and iron. However, drinking some mineral waters also provides your body with some less healthy minerals and by-products, including high levels of sodium.
If you choose to drink mineral water daily at home and work, reading and understanding mineral content analysis labels will lead you to a healthier choice. If you just drink bottled mineral water while you are on holiday, choosing one with high levels of otherwise healthy sulphates may provide an unwelcome and inconvenient laxative effect.
When choosing a bottled mineral water compare and contrast the milligrams per litre of the following substances.
These may be found naturally in water or may enter water supplies through a number of sources including fertilisers and animal waste. High nitrate-containing water is a serious health concern for pregnant women and infants under the age of six months. Bacteria in infants' digestive tracts may convert the relatively harmless nitrate to nitrite. In turn, the nitrite combines with the haemoglobin in blood to form methemoglobin, which cannot transport oxygen. This can lead to blue baby disease. To protect those at risk, the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for nitrate in water is 45mg/l as nitrate or 10mg/l as nitrogen. The MCL for nitrite is 1mg/l.
Whether aluminium in the diet can cause Alzheimer's disease remains unknown and controversial. A preliminary study found that Alzheimer's disease patients are more likely to have consumed foods high in aluminium additives compared with people without the disease.
Current research suggests that high levels of toxic aluminium in mineral or tap water may pose an increased risk of dementia, however research into the link continues. Incidentally, other research suggests that high silica levels may lessen the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Many people unknowingly exceed the recommended daily intake (RDI) of sodium. Drinking two litres of mineral water with high sodium combined with a diet high in hidden sodium may take your intake beyond the recommended limit. Many mineral waters contain high levels of sodium and should be avoided by those on low sodium diets, especially by sufferers of high blood pressure.
These occur naturally in groundwater combined with calcium, magnesium and sodium as sulphate salts and have important health-giving properties including healthy skin and cells, detoxifying the liver, aiding digestion, increasing blood circulation and reducing muscle cramps. However, sulphate content in excess of 250-500mg/l may give water a bitter taste and have a laxative effect on individuals not adapted to the water. If you only drink mineral water on holiday and experience loose bowels on holiday check the levels of sulphates on your bottled mineral water - it might not be Delhi belly after all.