By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
When it comes to mineral water benefits and spring water benefits, here's all the info you need, including the best bottled water to drink for health. Also learn how to host a water tasting!
What are the benefits of water? What's the best spring water and the top mineral water? What's the best regular water to drink for health perks?
If you've got lots of water questions, you're in luck because here are answers to all your burning questions about hydration facts, the healthiest water bottle, what the heck dissolved solids are, the truth about bottled water brand names, and more.
I've recently become obsessed with water. Yes, water is the stuff of life. And the human body is made up of about 60% water, so it's something to love.
But there are more reasons to love water—specifically natural spring water and mineral water. In an article for Food Network, I wrote about how these waters can amazingly contain more calcium than milk.
The reason? Spring and mineral waters contain minerals from the earth. Drink that water, and your body can also get a crazy awesome amount of nutrients. Yup, it's that easy. Start drinking spring water now!
In a moment, I'm going to share with you a whole bunch of waters that are rich in minerals and that I suggest you try. But for now, I want to tell you how spring and mineral waters piqued my interest in the first place.
Why I Want to Try the Best Spring Water
My water obsession began with a water tasting dinner that I attended at the end of last year. Yes, you read that right! The tasting was complete with food pairings put together by water sommelier Martin Riese.
My world was seriously rocked when Riese explained that water that comes from subterranean earth sources or deep subterranean reservoirs boast minerals.
Minerals and other substances (including bicarbonate) in spring water are measured by total dissolved solids in water, or TDS.
Note that some people refer to TDS as parts per million (PPM). Most spring water tends to be higher in TDS. Purified water, on the other hand, has most of these dissolved solids filtered out.
A TDS level affects more than the nutritional gain you'll get from drinking a glass of H20. It can also affect the taste of the water you're drinking.
"The TDS level in water can be a huge factor in differentiating taste profiles in water," says Riese. "Just like pairing a wine with certain dishes, you can do the same with water by finding a brand that resonates well with your taste palate or meal."
And waters can be naturally sparkling, too, which leads to a really unique beverage, one typically with a higher TDS level. "Naturally sparkling waters have been infused by nature, meaning the elements already have been acquainted with each other and so the carbonation tends to stay in the water longer," notes Riese.
He explains that naturally carbonated water with strong bubbles usually comes from areas of the world with a history of strong volcanic activity.
"Carbonic acid from the source originates deep within the earth," he says . "Cooled magma of volcanic mass releases carbonic acid, which then permeates the natural mineral water."
Mineral Water Benefits
At the water tasting, which was hosted by FIJI Water (Riese is a consultant with FIJI), we tried five vastly different waters. They included:
- FIJI (with a subtly sweet taste)
- Vichy Catalan (a naturally carbonated water)
- Iskilde (with an earthy taste)
- Hildon (with a well-balances taste)
- Roi (a rare, high-mineral water)
Which is the best bottled water to drink for health? It might just be Roi, which comes from Slovenia and contains an extraordinary amount of both calcium and magnesium. While most other bottled waters are fairly affordable, Roi costs a mighty $50 or so.
So if we're going by price and mineral content, it might really be the best drinking water in the world! However, It is extremely difficult to get your hands on a bottle of this water.
If you want to try a high-calcium water, I suggest buying some bottles of Gerolsteiner Sprudel, which come from Germany. I just ordered a case of this water for my fiancé and I to enjoy!
When I got home from the water tasting, I was curious about how other waters compare. I got samples of several bottled water name brands, including many glass bottled water brands.
Here are the waters I tried, and you can see their mineral breakdowns and dissolved solids per liter, below. You'll see that some of these waters contain large amounts of minerals. Order a selection of bottles and host a water tasting in your own home!
When it comes to mineral water, many waters have different pH levels. But honestly, this doesn't really matter when it comes to health benefits of drinking water.
Shortly after attending the water tasting, I headed to Germany and Hungary. There, I tried several of the local mineral waters and spring waters!
Aqua Panna (Florence, Italy)
TDS: 150 mg
Calcium: 32 mg
Chloride: 7.3 mg
Magnesium: 6.4 mg
Sodium: 6.9 mg
Try it: Aqua Panna
Contrex (Contrexéville, France)
TDS: 2,078 mg
Calcium: 468 mg
Chloride: 10 mg
Magnesium: 74.5 mg
Potassium: 3.2 mg
Sodium: 9.4 mg
Try it: Contrex
Evian (Evian-Les-Bains, France)
TDS: 340 mg
Calcium: 83 mg
Chloride: 10 mg
Magnesium: 27 mg
Potassium: 1.1 mg
Sodium: .2 mg
Try it: Evian
FIJI Water (Yaquara Valley, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands)
TDS: 224 mg
Calcium: 18 mg
Chloride: 9.2 mg
Fluoride: .23 mg
Magnesium: 14 mg
Potassium: 4.9 mg
Silica: 92 mg
Sodium: 18 mg
Try it: FIJI Water
Gerolsteiner Sprudel (Volcanic Eifel, Germany)
TDS: 2,500 mg
Calcium: 345 mg
Chloride: 40 mg
Magnesium: 100 mg
Potassium: 10 mg
Sodium: 115 mg
Try it: Gerolsteiner Sprudel
Hildon Delightfully Still (Broughton, Hants, England)
TDS: 332 mg
Calcium: 98.5 mg
Chloride: 14.4 mg
Magnesium: 1.62 mg
Sodium: 7 mg
Try it: Hildon Delightfully Still
Iskilde (Moss, Denmark)
TDS: 430 mg
Calcium: 66.5 mg
Magnesium: 7.09 mg
Potassium: 2.81 mg
Sodium: 71.5 mg
Try it: Iskilde
JUST Water (Glens Falls, New York)
TDS: 72 mg
Calcium: 16 mg
Chloride: 1 mg
Magnesium: 3.8 mg
Sodium: 3.2 mg
Try it: JUST Water
Poland Spring (multiple sources, Maine)
TDS: 34-70 mg
Calcium: 4.4-7.9 mg
Chloride: 0-19 mg
Fluoride: 0-.15 mg
Magnesium: .77-1.5 mg
Sodium: 1.9-9.8 mg
Try it: Poland Spring
Roi Water (Rogaška Slatina, Slovenia)
TDS: 7,400 mg
Calcium: 510 mg
Chloride: 80 mg
Magnesium: 1,100 mg
Sodium: 1,700 mg
Try it: Roi Water
San Pellegrino (Bergamo, Italy)
TDS: 880 mg
Calcium: 150 mg
Chloride: 51 mg
Fluoride: .47 mg
Magnesium: 42 mg
Potassium: 2.1 mg
Sodium: 29 mg
Try it: San Pellegrino
Vichy Catalan (Catalonia, Spain)
TDS: 2,900 mg
Calcium: 14 mg
Chloride: 680 mg
Magnesium: 6 mg
Potassium: 44 mg
Silica: 15 mg
Sodium: 1,100 mg
Try it: Vichy Catalan
Voss Still (Vatnestrøm, Norway)
TDS: 44 mg
Calcium: 3 mg
Chloride: 5 mg
Fluoride: .1 mg
Sodium: 4 mg
Try it: Voss Still
Zephyrhills (multiple sources, Florida)
TDS: 220-250 mg
Calcium: 64-67 mg
Chloride: 15-16 mg
Magnesium: 4.3-4.7 mg
Sodium: 8.1-8.7 mg
Try it: Zephyrhills
If you're curious, in the United States the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water to make sure it's safe for drinking.
All About Water Tastings
Want to host your own water tasting? I did this when we had family friends visiting, and it was so much fun! You can do it with your own family, too. Use these pointers when drinking mineral water at a tasting:
Buy a few starkly different bottles.
Use the list above to choose four to five bottles of water to feature at your water tasting. When I hosted my water tasting, I included Voss Still, which has a very low TDS and has a very different mouth feel to the other waters.
I'd recommend also choosing a sweeter water, such as FIJI Water, as well as a naturally sparkling mineral water (like Vichy Catalan), one that's well balanced (such as Hildon Delightfully Still), and one with a high calcium level like Gerolsteiner Sprudel. In my opinion, carbonated mineral water is one of the best things ever.
Invite a small group of friends.
"Hosting a food and water pairing at home with friends and family can be a great way to discover what your specific palate prefers while giving people something to think about that they may not have before," says Riese. "You can elevate the taste of your meals by pairing foods with the appropriate waters."
Serve water at room temperature.
"Remember not to chill or ice the water as to not change the taste, and leave the lemons out of this experiment," instructs Riese.
Pour water into wine glasses.
"I prefer to do tastings out of wine glasses, but it’s totally up to you on how you prefer to execute the tasting," says Riese. Then as you would with wine, pay attention to the taste and mouth feel of the water.
Important Facts About Water
When you're taking part in your tasting—whether it's solo or with a group of friends—it's important to remember that the benefits of water aren't tied only to the liquid's mineral content.
Water is necessary for life. Whereas you could possibly live about a month without food, you couldn't survive more than a few days without water.
One of the most common questions I get as a dietitian is about the benefits of water. Here are a few more interesting facts about water. While drinking water can't cure heart disease or even high blood pressure, it can provide many health benefits. Want even more amazing facts about water?
Staying hydrated can fend off headaches and more.
When you’re thirsty, you’re likely already 1% to 2% dehydrated, according to a study in the journal Nutrition Reviews.
This is important to know, as dehydration is linked with many side effects, including possible headaches, altered mood and cognitive state—and even increased risk for urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
Drinking water can help you eat less.
Hunger is often mistaken for thirst. So if it’s not mealtime and you’re feeling hungry, try first having some sips of water. Wait a few minutes to see if the hunger subsides. And when it is mealtime? Drink up beforehand!
Here's why: A study in Obesity shows that drinking water can help with weight loss. In the study, 84 British adults with obesity were asked to drink about two cups of water before eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner every day for about three months, or to instead imagine feeling full.
The people who hydrated before the meals lost the most weight, more than 9 pounds, versus less than 2 pounds for people who didn't drink water before meals.
The study authors note that the water supplied may cause you to feel fuller and eat less at mealtimes. It’s also possible that the liquid could temporarily increase pre-meal metabolism, although more research needs to be done in this area. Previous preliminary research has linked hydration with weight loss—but the science has been limited.
Does lemon water work for weight loss? Lemon water isn’t magic, but it might help your weight-loss efforts. See what I have to say about it in this BeachBody blog post.
Taking in H20 even helps you be a safer driver.
Yup, this is strange but true! In a small study in Physiology & Behavior , researchers asked 11 men to drink either a minimum 85 ounces over the course of a day or to have just a quarter of that amount.
Then, after fasting overnight, the hydrated men had breakfast with 17 ounces of water; the dehydrated men had breakfast with almost no water. All the men then completed a two-hour simulated drive.
The results: Significantly more driving errors—including lane drifting and late breaking—happened with the mildly dehydrated men. The amount of mistakes made were about equivalent to those made by someone whose blood alcohol level is just above the legal limit for driving.
Past research has shown that dehydration can impair mental performance—reducing concentration, alertness and short-term memory.
How Much Water Do You Need in a Day?
While we're on the topic of water, you’ve likely often heard that you’re supposed to be drinking 64 ounces of water daily. But that number is actually much too low, as worldwide recommendations range from 68 to 125 ounces daily:
- 68 ounces (women) or 84 ½ ounces (men) per day: European Food Safety Authority recommendation
- 91 ounces (women) or 125 ounces (men) per day: National Academy of Sciences recommendation
- 95 ounces (women) or 115 ounces (men) per day: Australian National Health and Medical Research Council recommendation
This blog post was updated in June 2020. A version of this content was previously published on WeightWatchers.com.
- Can Water Have More Calcium Than Milk?, FoodNetwork.com
- Martin Riese, water sommelier
- Bottled Water Everywhere: Keeping it Safe, U.S. Food & Drug Administration
- Hydration Assessment Techniques, Nutrition Reviews
- Efficacy of Water Preloading Before Main Meals as a Strategy for Weight Loss in Primary Care Patients with Obesity: RCT, Obesity
- A Bottle of Water Before Mealtimes Could Aid Weight Loss, MedicalNewsToday.com
- How to Lose Water Weight (it’s Easier Than You Think), TheLuxurySpot.com
- Does Lemon Water Work for Weight Loss?, BeachBodyonDemand.com
- Mild Hypohydration Increases the Frequency of Driver Errors During a Prolonged, Monotonous Driving Task, Physiology & Behavior
- European Food Safety Authority
- European Food Safety Authority recommendation
- Australian National Health and Medical Research Council
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I'd love to hear from you! Let me know what you think about this info on the best bottled water to drink for health. Which mineral water benefits are most surprising to you? Do you prefer spring water to tap water? What's your favorite brand of bottled water?
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