All of us have grown up hearing the age-old adage of drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day. Our loved ones always keep telling us to drink more water. Of course, remaining well-hydrated has many health benefits, including better brain function as well as higher energy levels. However, the fact is that every individual has a different requirement for water. While one person can be hydrated in just six glasses of water, for another, even ten glasses of water a day may prove to be less. At the same time, now this may come as a surprise to many, but not all water is the same. Some water provides more nutrients than others and some are more expensive than others. We take a look at the 9 types of water you can drink and the pros and cons of each.
9 Types of Water You Can Drink & Their Pros and Cons
Tap water is everywhere. This is the piped water supply that comes to every home from the government. From the water that flows into your kitchen sink to the water that flushes a public toilet, tap water is truly everywhere and it is easily available.
Pros. Most people are wary of drinking tap water due to safety concerns and issues with taste as well. However, in some countries like the United States, tap water is actually perfectly safe to drink. Medical experts in the US have certified tap water to be perfectly safe for drinking, but the added advantage is that it is also cheaper than having to buy different types of bottled water.
Cons. Though there are many types of stringent industry regulations governing the quality of tap water, sometimes the process simply doesn’t work. One of the biggest regulation in place involves keeping lead and other harmful chemicals and substances out of tap water and steps are generally in place to prevent the contamination of a city’s water supply. One of the biggest examples of this failure in managing regulations is the water crisis that happened in Flint, Michigan in 2014. Due to insufficient water treatment, thousands of residents were exposed to lead contamination that leached from the lead water pipes and into the drinking water supply. As of January 2019, many residents and officials still remain in doubt about whether the tap water in the city is really safe to drink or not.
Another big concern with drinking tap water is that there is a lot of research that shows how plastic particles have contaminated tap water supplies. Plastic water supplies are likely to also contain aluminum, pesticide residue, and other harmful and undesirable substances. If you are worried that your tap water is not safe for drinking, then putting in place a home water filtration system for cleaning the water is a good idea.
Mineral water is typically water that has been extracted from a mineral spring. As the name states, mineral water is supposed to be full of minerals such as calcium, sulfur, and magnesium. These are all minerals that are beneficial for your health.
Pros. Mineral water definitely does have some health benefits as it provides the body with these vital minerals that the human body is unable to manufacture by itself. Mineral water is also known to have a role in aiding digestion and some people also prefer the taste of mineral water over the taste of tap water.
Cons. The biggest drawback to buying mineral water is the cost associated with these branded water bottles. The fact is that instead of spending so much money on buying mineral water bottles, you can simply obtain the same minerals from having a healthy and varied diet that includes different colored fruits and vegetables.
Glacier or Spring Water
Glacier or spring water are typically bottle waters that claim to have been bottled at the very source from where the spring/glacier where the water is flowing from.
Pros. Glacier or spring waters are, in general, cleaner than the other sources of water. They are not only clean but are also free of toxins. At the same time, glacier or spring waters contain a lot of beneficial minerals that are good for your health, similar to the ones found in mineral water.
This type of water is also readily available in most stores under the brand names of Arrowhead and Evian. They are also found in different bottle sizes, making it easily accessible and comfortable for use.
Cons. If you want to regularly drink glacier or spring water, then it could become a pricey habit, particularly when you compare it to tap water. Also, some types of spring water are also sold unfiltered and raw, and they remain untested as well. This can pose a significant health threat.
Distilled water is a type of water that is boiled, after which the steam is collected and then condensed to bring it back to the liquid form again.
Pros. Distilled water is a viable and great option if you are going to a place where the tap water is likely to be contaminated and unsafe.
Cons. There are no added minerals and vitamins added to distilled water, so there are no health benefits associated with drinking distilled water. On the other hand, there is a chance that distilled water can prove to be harmful to your health because non-mineralized water can pull minerals from other sources such as your teeth or your body.
Sparkling water is also known as soda water or carbonated water. To make it carbonated, carbon dioxide under pressure is infused into sparkling water.
Pros. Sparkling water is preferred by many people due to the distinct taste, which is different from flat water. This is a good option for those who want to drink something fizzy but without the addition of artificial sweeteners and sugar.
However, if you prefer to buy flavored sparkling waters, then these are also available, though they contain certain types of artificial sweeteners. Apart from this, sparkling water is also mineralized, providing you with the additional benefit of healthy minerals.
Cons. While some amount of minerals are present in sparkling water, they are not present in sufficient quantities to be actually beneficial for your health. Additionally, these are way more expensive than bottled water and can cost you a hefty sum if you want to consume them regularly.
Alkaline water is a type of that has a higher pH level than your normal tap water. This water also contains negative oxidation reduction potential (ORP) along with alkaline minerals.
Pros. Alkaline water has a higher pH level and many believe that this helps to neutralize the level of acid in your body, helping slow down the process of aging and also preventing cancer. However, there is no scientific proof regarding this.
Cons. While it is considered to be safe to drink alkaline water, but over a period of time, it can reduce the acidity of your stomach, lowering the ability to inhibit harmful bacteria.
Infused or Flavored Water
Infused or flavored water is water that has been sweetened with artificial sweeteners or sugar. It contains natural or artificial flavorings.
Pros. Brand names such as Propel and Hint are popular flavored waters that offer a flavored alternative to plain water. The flavor makes it more appealing, making it easier to drink this type of water in larger amounts.
Flavored water also adds a variation to your usual water intake. You can also add flavor yourself by infusing vegetables and fruits, or you can purchase infused or flavored water from stores as well.
Cons. Flavored waters usually contain artificial sweeteners or added sugar, which are both bad for your health. Too much of added sugar can cause weight gain and is also likely to have a negative influence on people who have diabetes.
Some people also have a negative reaction to artificial sweeteners.
Purified water refers to any type of water that has undergone a treatment process to remove all harmful substances such as parasites, bacteria, and fungi. This means that drinking purified water is the safest bet.
Pros. If you have a doubt that your water source may be contaminated, then purified water if your best choice. However, many countries choose to purify their tap water, so you are drinking purified water itself from the tap.
Cons. Since the purification process removes a lot of harmful substances, at the same time, it also removes any potentially beneficial substances as well that might be added to tap water such as fluoride, which is known to help reduce the occurrence of tooth decay.
Furthermore, purchasing purified water or installing a purification or filtration system at home can prove to be quite expensive.
Well, water is derived straight from the ground and can also be referred to as groundwater. It is untreated and it can be very risky to consume well water without treating it first.
Pros. If you live in an area where there are many wells, then you have convenient access to a source of fresh well water.
While many people firmly believe in the benefits of drinking raw and untreated water, it is doubtful that the benefits of well water outweigh the numerous risks associated with drinking untreated water.
Testing your well water yearly for nitrates, pH levels, and for bacteria is a good idea to still ensure that the water from the well is suitable for drinking. It is also possible to now install a filtration system in the well.
Cons. Since this water has not been treated, there is a high chance of contamination, especially from parasitic infections like giardia and other bacteria.
Everyone has their own personal preference about which type of water tastes best, and there is really no one type of water that promises to be better than the others or provides better benefits than the others. As long as you are drinking water that is pure and clean and you remain hydrated, any type of water should be okay for consumption.