First and foremost, it’s important to stay hydrated. Our body needs water to run efficiently, and it needs more of it than you might think. But different waters come with different benefits – or drawbacks. Here’s a breakdown of what we’re sipping on, and what we’re not.
Mineral water is water that comes from a natural source, and contains trace minerals that the body can’t create itself. While you might not hit your recommended intake by downing bottles of artisanal mineral water, added minerals do help your body maintain healthy hydration. In fact, it can be extremely beneficial to add trace minerals back into filtered water that’s lacking them (more on that later).
Haters will say seltzer water like La Croix doesn’t hydrate you as well as still water — but science says they’re wrong. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined how effectively still water was able to hydrate compared to 13 other beverages, including seltzer water, and found that all beverages hydrated comprabaly. The only downside? Seltzer water that includes flavoring in addition to carbonic acid (a common substance used to create effervescence) can damage tooth enamel if you drink it too frequently. So, it may be best to cool off on the Pamplemousse once in a while, and stick to plain seltzer with no additives.
Tap water quality varies greatly depending on where you live, but tap water goes through such a rigorous sanitation and testing process that all tap water is considered safe for healthy adults to consume. If you live in an older house, however, your pipes may contain lead or other contaminants that can make their way into your tap water. You can mitigate this by running the tap for 20 seconds prior to drinking, and by avoiding using hot water straight from the tap. Of course, you can also filter your water to remove any straggling contaminants.
REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER
Reverse osmosis is a process that removes contaminants, solids, large molecules, and minerals from water using a pressurized filter. This improves the quality and taste of water — but it’s not suitable for long term consumption. We need some minerals in our water, otherwise the lack of electrolytes can actually dehydrate us and deplete our electrolyte stores. If your tap at home is filtered by reverse osmosis, adding trace minerals (or a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sea salt) is a good way to help your body absorb hydration.
When it comes to hydration, your body isn’t very picky. With the exception of large quantities of distilled or reverse osmosis water, just about everything you drink is keeping you hydrated. The real consideration is whether or not what you’re drinking has long-term benefits for your body (like mineral water), or whether it’s slowly causing problems (like flavored or sweetened seltzers).