We all know water is important, no crucial for both our bodies and minds (75% of our brain does consist of water after all while water makes up 65% of our body) but have you ever paid attention to the differences you can find in water? For example, are there really such things as healthier water or is it all simply H2O? Do all those bottled water brands that we see taking up space in every grocery store and corner store really differ from one another? Does it really make a difference to our bodies or general health if we consume water from the tap or not? After a little research, and many years of skeptical eye roles at the growing number of “artisan” labeled water brands, I have now come to the conclusion that actually, yes! Water does differ and come in many different varieties with many different combinations of chemical and molecular makeups, other than the common core component, H2O. While these differences are minute and arguably largely ignorable, over time they can make a difference in one’s health. Especially since some H2O varieties lead to semi toxic build ups of heavy metals in one’s bloodstream, liver, and kidneys, and can have a negative effect on our bodies natural cellular PH levels.
The recently established “water movement” has led to a new level of “connisourism” within the organic food community. Water companies have begun to market their water with everything from names such as the famous Smart Water brand and have even stretched to include slogans such as “you can live without love but not without water.” This fad seems at first sight to be just that, another marketing scheme intent on leaching you of every penny, but in fact these different branded waters do contain different varieties of the same core chemical compound we all know as H2O. Sadly, some of these branded bottled water sources are better than others, so much in fact that while some may improve your health and truly hydrate your body, others may fill it with toxins and leave your kidneys and liver caked in a fine layer of heavy metals after prolonged consumption, consumption over many many years.
Arguably the best kind of bottled water you can purchase is Natural Mineral Water. Although this kind of bottled water may be pricier than the other larger brand name bottles there are many benefits to drinking it and in the long run the lasting benefits far out way the costs. Natural Mineral Water is different from your average bottled or tap water for many reasons a few being:
- It contains unique mineral salts and nutrients vital to your physical health and hydration that most bottled waters lack.
- It is obtained directly from a natural or drilled source that is environmentally protected from outwardly negative influences such as human activity i.e. pollutants and other external forces that may have an impact on the waters chemical or physical makeup.
- Has a specific chemical composition and therefore natural stability within its discharge and the temperature at which it is found.
- It is bottled close to where the water emerges, directly from its natural source, with particular hygienic and environmentally friendly and safe precautions.
- It is not subjected to any treatment or “enhancement” other than those permitted by the International Natural Mineral Water Standard 108-1981, which specifically states that permitted treatment only includes the separation of water from unstable constituents such as compounds containing iron, manganese, sulfur, and arsenic which may only be removed through decantation, filtration, and if necessary accelerated by previous aeration.
- It is collected under conditions which guarantee the original microbiological purity and chemical composition of the mineral waters essential components i.e. PH level and mineral composition.
All in all, you might notice that mineral water seems to be the organic version of water. It is collected using environmentally friendly means from a sustainable location and is completely toxic/pesticide free.
Yet another thing that makes Natural Mineral Water beneficial to your health is that all Natural Mineral Water is Alkaline, or neutral to slightly basic on the PH (Potential Hydrogen) scale. Enriched Hydrogen water is yet another health craze that has become increasingly popular within societies all over the globe. But as we’ve seen in all these new age health fads there are good examples of this product and those that can actually be more harmful than helpful.
Hydrogen water, water in which hydrogen is dissolved, works as an antioxidant, oxidative stress reducer, and supposedly promotes health through inflammation reduction, although little research has been done on either of those last claims. What it does do is help our bodies maintain a neutral PH. Most of our bodies are actually acidic at a cellular level (between numbers 0-6 on PH scale) PH level. By consuming alkaline or hydrogen enriched water our bodies are given the minerals and components needed to increase this PH, making our cells and body more basic on the PH scale and as a result healthier.
The minerals primarily used to increase the PH balance are Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, and Silica. Keep in mind that the minerals most commonly found in water are Magnesium and Calcium. The best and most natural way in which to enrich water with hydrogen is through lava rock filtration. When water filters through lava rock it becomes enriched with natural electrolytes such as Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, and Silica that naturally occur in the lava the mineral combination that, as we already know, makes water more alkaline. However, the majority of hydrogen enriched or alkaline bottled waters that we find on the shelves of supermarkets across the globe is made more alkaline through processes such as electrolysis, ionization, or through the addition of minerals and electrolytes such as baking soda or other mystery additives.
During electrolysis water ionizers split apart water molecules using electricity to artificially create alkaline water, while in ionization tap water is run over platinum and or titanium plates which then causes an exchange of ions between the water molecules and plates that make the water more alkaline. In either case you are left with falsely alkaline water. When consuming falsely alkaline water your body thinks that it actually IS consuming the essential minerals that are found in naturally alkaline water and begins releasing those minerals collected in your body’s own mineral reserve throughout your bloodstream and kidneys. However, when the body is then ready to replenish those reserves it finds that no such minerals can be found in your bloodstream or digestion track which can potentially lead to a depletion of your necessary mineral reserve and result in a mineral deficiency throughout your body.
Alkaline water machines are also used to make water alkaline and enriched in hydrogen, however these machines replace good minerals (such as Magnesium and Calcium) with small amounts of platinum and titanium (both heavy metals) which are found in the plates that water, frequently tap water, runs over during the ionization process. These metals are not only toxic but also easily pass through commonly used carbon water filtration systems (a system normally found in the average household and used in the filtration of tap water) coupled with chlorine, fluorides, aluminum, and pesticides, all of which can be incredibly harmful.
So, if the majority of bottled water is lacking in important minerals and nutrients and most hydrogen enriched water marketed as such yet not created in a natural or nutritional way, what water is truly safe? This leads us back to Natural Mineral Water, water that truly hydrates your body and mind. Within this niche market the choices are abundant. This is where the connoisseur within truly gets to raise its curious head for the choice it really up to you. There are of course certain companies that produce Natural Mineral Water that are maybe more environmentally or health conscious than others, or possibly even have a more holistic or spiritual message behind the brand. My personal pick is Balian Water.
A Balinese brand originating from Mount Agung, an active volcano and the highest point in all of Bali at 3142 meters above sea level, Balian Water was created as a tribute to the mountain itself and to the Balinese legend that Mount Agung was created from a fragment of Mount Meru, the mountains that’s considered to be the spiritual axis of the universe. So, there’s your spiritual message, but what about the actual product. Balian water stands out as a unique brand for many reasons, one being its mineral content. Its PH is an even 7.28, an almost totally neutral PH. Within each bottle you will find:
- 20.6 mg/l Calcium: Which helps stabilize one’s bone structure, teeth, cells membranes, and ensures nerve and muscle impulses are properly transmitting as well as helps prevent blood clots.
- 12.6 mg/l Magnesium: Which plays an important role in regulation of muscle contractions and transmission of nerve impulses. A lack of magnesium has been proven to lead to increased nervousness, lack of concentration, dizziness, headaches and migraines, all emphasizing its importance as a mineral that should be consumed daily.
- 27.7 mg/l Sulfate: Which helps detoxify the liver and aids the body in digestion.
- 5.5 mg/l Potassium: Which aids in cell growth and plays a unique role in muscle contraction including the beating of your heart.
- 16.4 mg/l Sodium: Which affects your hearts metabolism.
- 179 mg/l Bicarbonates: Which are essential for maintaining our bodies PH balance.
- 36.3 mg/l Silica: Which helps repair tissue by serving as an antioxidant as well as strengthens one’s hair and nails.
All the crucial and healing minerals found in this water explain why Balian chose its name which in Balinese means the traditional healer, which is exactly what water should be. Balian water is created in an aquifer located underneath the many layers of volcanic rock that make up Mount Agung. That means that Balian has become Hydrogen enriched through lava rock filtration, the best and most natural kind of water filtration and hydrogen enriching filtration there is.
Just to give you an idea on how different Balian water is compared to most popular bottled water brands let’s do a little comparison. Take Dasani water for example, the most popular bottled water brand found in the U.S. Within a bottle of Dasani you will find:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Potassium Chloride
- Magnesium Sulfate
- Trace amounts of salt
Dasani undergoes a filtration process using reverse osmosis filtration, a filtration process commonly associated with the purification of salt water into drinking water. This process also famously removes the majority of calcium and magnesium. After this process, the water is enhanced with a special blend of minerals owned and copyrighted by the Coca-Cola company. Dasani’s PH can be measured at 5.6 due to additives put into the water.
The first thing I noticed when I tasted Balian water was its smoothness. There’s truly no other way to describe it. The texture and refreshing feeling that it provided was like no water I had ever tried before. The differences between Balain and other Natural Mineral Waters may be minute in a larger respect but if you’re particularly health conscious or are interested in replenishing your body with more than just your average H2O, then this is the water for you. Even more important than this specific brand however is the awareness that we should all have on what can be found in your average bottle of drinking water. Water should be healing, not damaging to our bodies, and while seeking out Natural Mineral Water may sound like more work, and costlier, then it’s worth, in the long run both your body and your mind will thank you.
Dasani. “About Us.” About Us | Purified & Mineral Enhanced | DASANI®, CocaCola , 2002, http://www.dasani.com/about-us/.
Marktl, Wolfgang. “Gesundheitliche Bedeutung Natürlicher Mineralwässer.” Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2009, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19890742.
Mizuno, Kei, et al. “Hydrogen-Rich Water for Improvements of Mood, Anxiety, and Autonomic Nerve Function in Daily Life.” Medical Gas Research, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 22 Jan. 2018, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5806445/.
Standards, CAC. “CODEX STAN 108-1981 Standard for Natural Mineral Waters.” CODEX STAN 108-1981 Standard for Natural Mineral Waters-CAC Standards-International-Food Laws & Regulations-Documents-Global FoodMate, CAC, 12 May 2013, files.foodmate.com/2013/files_1171.html.
Water Company, Balian. “Bali’s First Natural Mineral Water From Mount Agung.” Balian Water, Balian Water, 3 Feb. 2015, balianwater.com/.