The human body is 80 percent water, which means that is requires a constant intake to function properly. The general rule of thumb for drinking water is to consume eight 8-ounce glasses per day, which equals about half a gallon. Choosing the best type to drink helps maintain optimal health. With so many options on the market, how do you know where to begin? Understanding the difference between distilled and mineral water will help you make an educated decision about the kind that you put into your body.
Distilled water is made by boiling municipally sourced water and collecting the steam as it condenses. This process ensures that minerals, chemicals, and contaminants with a higher boiling point than water get left behind. Distilling is an effective practice for wiping out minerals, nitrates, heavy metals, and most microorganisms (i.e. fungi, bacteria, viruses). There are a few chemicals that have a lower boiling point. These chemicals include benzene and chlorine, which do get left behind unless they are filtered out with charcoal. As distilled water is mineral free, it is quite acidic. The lack of minerals also tends to give it a flat taste. When this liquid is stored in plastic containers for extended periods, it often leaches the plastic. In most situations, distilled water is optimal for short-term use to rid the body of toxins. While the long-term effects are unclear, some experts believe that extended consumption can pull critical electrolytes and minerals from the body.
In many cases, mineral water originates from the same sources as distilled and purified types. However, this liquid contains a set amount of trace minerals, including calcium and magnesium, which are key for good health. Both sparkling and non-sparkling mineral water contain a higher mineral concentration than either well or spring options.
As mineral water must meet certain guidelines, there are a select number of sources that qualify. The majority of popular mineral waters are bottled in Europe, which means that they are expensive in the United States. Due to the higher cost and limited availability, generally this product is considered more of an occasional treat than a daily source of hydration, even though it does offer key health benefits. Some people find the taste to be harsher than more common drinking waters. With flavored varieties, this drink is often more palatable. Regardless of the type that you consume, you should always seek out drinking water that is mineral rich, contamination free, and electrolyzed. While water that contains minerals promotes healthy living, it should not contain viruses, bacteria, or synthetic chemicals. Water that is deemed micro-reduced or clustered has small groups of molecules, which can aid in cell hydration and nutrient absorption on the cellular level. Your drinking water should also contain antioxidants and have a balanced pH. Ionized water is able to create negative oxidation reduction (-ORP), which can neutralize the body's free radicals while slowing down the aging process. Ideally, the water you drink should have a pH level of 6.5-7.5 so that it is not too acidic or alkaline.