While much of what’s out there in the health food market is relatively new, there are a few healthy drink options that have been around for a very long time.
Take green tea, for example, which predates the American health food craze by, oh, a couple millennia. Another healthy drink that’s been around awhile is mineral water.
While many people use the term “mineral water” to refer to any bottled or carbonated water, in the strictest sense the term refers to water with a particular amount of dissolved solid minerals in it. These minerals vary based on the spring, but generally include many of the same kinds of minerals found in your average multivitamin. Which is to say, the kinds of minerals your body needs to stay strong and healthy.
In ancient times, the only way to get mineral water was by traveling to the spring where it came from. Often resorts and spas would develop around these springs, allowing people to come and enjoy the benefits of the mineral water. (Fun fact: one such spring was in Spa, Belgium, which is where we get the word “spa.”) Nowadays visiting such springs is unnecessary because companies bottle it at the source and ship it around the world.
But the question remains, what are the health benefits of mineral water? Well, let’s break it down a little and look the two main ingredients in mineral water:
First and foremost, mineral water is water. These days, far too few of us actually drink the amount of water we need. Instead we drink sodas and other artificially enhanced drinks that can often leave us feeling thirstier than we were to start with. The end result is that many of us walk around in a state of very mild dehydration, which can leave us feeling lethargic. Increasing our water intake – whether mineral water or plain old tap water – can actually give us a boost of energy, as well as promote a feeling of overall healthiness.
Like I said above, the particular mix of minerals in mineral water can vary from spring to spring – or from brand to brand. Some of the most common minerals found in mineral water are sodium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, copper, iron, manganese, selenium, and others. While at first glance some of these might surprise you – who wants to drink copper? – the fact is that your body needs to maintain a certain quantity of all of them in order to keep you healthy. That’s why all those minerals are also found in your average multivitamin.
Additionally, one of those minerals stands out from the others: calcium. For most of us, our primary source of dietary calcium is dairy – milk, cheese, yogurt, and the like. Many adults, though, are lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t consume dairy without getting sick. For them, mineral water is an excellent source of calcium. Some studies suggest that mineral water may be better for calcium intake than dairy product.