Sure: water is vital. But do you also know why it is so healthy? We explain which substances make mineral water so valuable. In addition, says Prof. Dr. Nicolai Worm, why no other drink can match mineral water.
There are over 500 different mineral waters in Germany. They differ in their origin, their taste and the ingredients. The latter make mineral water not only a thirst quencher, but also a valuable food. For example, one liter of mineral water contains twice as much magnesium as a banana. The advantage of mineral water: The minerals are already dissolved and can therefore be absorbed by the body more quickly.
Minerals in mineral water
The three most important minerals in water are magnesium, calcium and sodium. Our bones and muscles need magnesium above all else. From a content of 50 mg per liter, mineral water can be described as containing magnesium. With the help of calcium, our body strengthens bones and teeth. If a mineral water contains more than 150 mg per liter, it is called calcium-containing.
Sodium regulates the water balance in the body. Water may only be called “sodium-containing” if it has a concentration of 200 mg per liter or more. If you don’t know what the mineral content of your favorite water is, you can read it here.
That is why the body needs water
But not only the minerals make mineral water so healthy. The fluid itself also has important functions in the body: it regulates the blood circulation and body temperature. In addition, water transports nutrients and degradation substances. Although the body consists of 80 percent water, it has only small reserves. This explains why you can only survive four days without drinking.
A healthy person excretes up to two and a half liters of water every day, without any stress. When we exert ourselves, sweat, or are sick, the loss increases. To make up for the water lost, we need to drink about one and a half liters a day. We ingest the rest of the amount through our food. As soon as the body lacks water, just one liter is enough, the ability to concentrate and endurance decreases. At four liters the circulation gets problems: the pulse rises and the blood pressure falls.
Interesting facts about mineral water
- Water fountain nearby: Mineral water from the region is very environmentally friendly. Because short transport routes mean lower CO emissions. You can find out which fountain is near you here.
- Bottom up! We are drinking more and more mineral water: in 2011, the per capita consumption was 135.5 liters. Our neighbors drink less mineral water: in Switzerland it is 111 liters and in Austria it is only 89 liters.
- Cooking with mineral water: Not just for drinking: You can also cook and bake with mineral water. The carbon dioxide makes cake batter, scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes loose. And vegetables lose less color when steamed in mineral water. Instead of oil: Meat and fish can also be fried in water in a coated pan. To do this, pour a glass of sparkling mineral water into the hot pan. When the water starts to steam, you can add the meat to the pan. The water should not evaporate completely; add a little more if necessary.
- This can happen when storing mineral water: plastic bottles cannot be stored as long as glass bottles. The reason: after about six months, the acetaldehyde substance from the plastic gets into the water. That then tastes fruity-sweet. However, these small amounts of acetaldehyde are not toxic. Another disadvantage of plastic bottles: Since plastic is not completely leak-proof, the carbon dioxide escapes faster than with glass bottles.
- Glass? PET? Just because you pay a deposit for a bottle doesn’t necessarily mean it is recycled. Textile fibers are mainly made from PET bottles. Reusable plastic bottles are a bit more stable and cost a deposit of 15 cents. They can be filled up to 25 times. Glass bottles are filled about 50 times before they are melted down.
- How long can mineral water be kept? Every water bottle has a best-before date – this is required by law. It’s usually two years. But actually water can be kept indefinitely. It’s a little different with opened bottles. You should drink these up within a few days. Meanwhile, store the mineral water in a cool, dark place. When opening or drinking from the bottle, microorganisms can get into the water and multiply there. In the worst case, these can be harmful to health.
- No lemon in the glass: A slice of lemon in the glass gives mineral water an extra kick of freshness. But be careful: the peel of the fruit is often chemically treated. Better to take a squirt of lemon juice or use organic fruits.
“Nothing is as important as water”
But water also comes from the tap: Can’t I drink that? Of course you can also drink tap water because it is also subject to strict controls. However, this is water that has been treated and purified by the waterworks and is not a natural product like mineral water.
And it usually has little mineralization. Why is mineral water so healthy? Mineral water is a purely natural product and comes from deposits that are protected from contamination.
It has many important minerals and trace elements that the body cannot produce itself. In addition, mineral water does not contain any calories, caffeine or artificial additives and is as pristine and pure as no other drink.
Mineral water even requires official labeling. Can you drink too much mineral water? If you drink a lot, the body has to excrete a lot of water again. If the drink is low in minerals, this could mean that important electrolytes, especially sodium, potassium and magnesium, are deprived of the body over time.