So we all know that water is essential for our survival. Still, while that’s well understood, far too few of us truly recognize the importance of staying well-hydrated for optimal health; and even more feel somewhat in the dark regarding the overall safety of drinking the water that flows from our taps.
The debate between tap water and mineral water has been ongoing for years, with both sides presenting valid arguments. Proponents of tap water argue that it is safe, affordable, and accessible, while advocates of mineral water highlight its health benefits and unique taste. While both sources can adequately support our essential hydration needs, the question remains, is there a real difference between them?
Tap water is water that comes from the municipal supply and is treated to remove impurities and contaminants. Tap water is generally considered safe to drink and suppliers are legally obligated to meet a fairly strict set of quality standards issued by regulatory bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Water from the tap is certainly a convenient option, and readily available in most households, and while it’s not free, it’s dirt cheap compared to its bottled competitors.
Despite the rigorous treatment process it undergoes, however, tap water can still contain trace amounts of contaminants. Nasties such as chlorine, fluoride, lead, and even human hormones are commonly found in many tap water supplies, and prolonged exposure to these contaminants can be harmful to our health. In some areas, the water supply may also be contaminated with agricultural or industrial runoff, which can further affect its quality and safety.
Tap water can also vary in taste and quality depending on the location and the specific treatment process it has run through. In some areas, tap water can have a distinct taste or odor, often due to the presence of certain minerals or chlorine.
Mineral water, on the other hand, comes from natural springs or wells and is rich in – you guessed it – minerals! It naturally filters through rocks and underground layers, giving it a unique taste and mineral composition. Mineral water is safe to drink and, unlike tap water, often doesn’t require any additional treatment to make it safe for human consumption.
‘Mineral water is a premium source of natural hydration that contains minerals that are essential for our health. It’s rich in magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which can help support our bones, muscles, and overall health,’ says Jess Grelle of JUST Water, a sustainable brand that offers 100% natural mineral water in eco-friendly packaging.
One of the standout advantages of mineral water is its purity. Since it comes from protected natural resources, mineral water is significantly less likely to be contaminated with harmful substances. Mineral water also only undergoes minimal treatments, which means it retains its natural mineral composition, making it a healthier option compared to tap water.
Moreover, mineral water comes in a variety of flavors, which can add a refreshing element to your daily hydration routine. From lemon, lime, mint, and even natural fruit extracts, there are endless possibilities for mineral water infusions, and these can also be made at home.
There are plenty of good things to say about mineral water in general, but it’s important to note that the mineral composition can vary greatly depending on the source and the brand. Some mineral waters may comprise higher levels of minerals than others, which may not necessarily be beneficial for our health. Additionally, some mineral waters contain high levels of sodium, which isn’t ideal for health and should certainly be avoided by anyone who suffers with high blood pressure.
While mineral water has several inarguable health benefits, the packaging waste that it generates is one of its main downsides, as well as the added expense of buying it. Single-use plastic bottles are the most common packaging material for mineral water, and we’re all waking up to the colossal impact that these are having on the environment. These bottles take hundreds of years to decompose and end up in landfills and oceans, harming precious aquatic life and polluting our planet.
Choosing a sustainable brand of mineral water can help reduce the environmental impact of packaging waste. An increasing number of water brands now offer eco-friendly packaging made from renewable materials and resources, such as sugarcane and other plant-based materials. Many sustainable water brands are also committed to protecting and responsibly managing natural water sources and pledge funds to support local communities and ecosystems.
The bottom line
Both tap water and mineral water have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on personal preference and individual health requirements. While tap water is a convenient, affordable and basically safe option, mineral water is undoubtedly a healthier choice due to its natural mineral composition.