Like breathing or the sun rising each morning, getting water out of the faucet is something we just take for granted. Yet as the Flint, Michigan incident showed, the public supply of H2O is vulnerable. Even without such a news-worthy problem, looking at my county's most recent water quality report made for sobering reading, with levels of disease-causing contaminants several hundred percent above safe levels. And this is in a small mountain town! Here are five reasons that you might want to switch to only drinking spring water for the good of your health.
- Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Contaminants
Most public water is treated with chlorine to kill any harmful bacteria. But most people wouldn’t choose to drink swimming pool water, which makes you wonder about the validity of using this chemical (albeit in lower levels than Katie Ledecky and her fellow Paris Olympics swimmers are training in). Water treatment plants also include fluoride in what comes out of your home’s faucets. While many dentists still insist that this prevents tooth decay, some health experts are concerned about its side effects.
If there’s a leak like notoriously occurred in Flint, Michigan, heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, can leach into the water supply, causing a dramatic spike in the incidence of certain cancers and elevating the risk of developing one or more metabolic diseases. Some areas have even had to close dog parks because of feces seeping into municipal water pipes. In contrast, spring water is obtained from pure sources that are free from such contamination, so you can rest assured that it won’t make you sick.
- Make the Most of Micronutrients
When municipalities process water, they strip out all the minerals and then sometimes add a few back in, similar to how cereal and bread companies bleach flour and then “enrich” or “fortify” it. The trouble with this is that it robs you of the minerals that are found in fresh, untreated spring water. Just like with wine, naturally-sourced spring water is influenced by the soil profile where it is bottled (known as terroir). This creates variations in both taste – which is typically better than tap water – and mineral profile.
Most spring water contains essential substances such as magnesium, sodium, potassium, and manganese. These are electrolytes much like you’d find in so-called sports drinks, which is why some integrative health specialists state spring water is more hydrating than whatever you could get out of the tap. The calcium found in mineral water can also supplement dietary sources like milk, cheese, and yogurt and strengthen your bones. A study conducted at the University of Parma in Italy found that post-menopausal women increased their bone density – which can help prevent fractures from falling, sports injuries, or collisions – by just drinking spring water.
- Improve Cardiovascular Health
Did you know that drinking spring water could help your heart? Neither did we, until we read a WebMD article that stated, “In one study, post-menopausal women drank 1 liter of mineral water per day for two periods of two months each. The results showed that mineral water intake lowered the levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol and raised the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol. Because high cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and other conditions, mineral water helps keep your heart healthy and working properly.” The author went on to cite another study that investigated the impact of drinking mineral water for a month. Participants experienced a significant reduction in blood pressure.
A review published in Nutrients noted that after assessing multiple studies of populations across several different European countries, “drinking water magnesium level was significantly inversely associated with CHD mortality.” In other words, the fact that spring water is higher in magnesium than what your local utility company provides might actually reduce your risk of developing heart disease. So drink up!