What’s the difference between all these bottled waters?

“Avoiding dehydration is important because more than half the human body is made up of water,” says Mallory Storrs, a dietitian at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “More than 80% of our lungs are water, and the heart and brain are each nearly 75%.”

We all know that we need to stay hydrated. Drinking enough water is not only essential for survival, but also has many health benefits – from healthier looking skin to protecting your immune system.

There are many kinds of bottled water that can vary in taste and in pH levels.

According to the International Bottled Water Association:

  • Spring water is water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth.
  • Purified water is water that has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other suitable processes while meeting the definition of purified water in the United States Pharmacopoeia.
  • Mineral water is natural water distinguished from other types of bottled water by its constant level and relative proportions of mineral and trace elements at the point of emergence from the source. No minerals can be added to this product.
  • Sparkling bottled water is water that, after treatment and possible replacement with carbon dioxide, contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had as it emerged from the source.
  • Artesian water/Artesian well water is water from a well that taps a confined aquifer (a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand) in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.
  • Well water is water from a hole bored, drilled or otherwise constructed in the ground, which taps the water aquifer.

There is also alkaline water, which has a higher pH level than tap water, meaning it is less acidic.

So, what’s the difference between all these waters? Do they all have the same benefits?

Alkaline water has a higher pH than normal tap water, but there have been a number of studies showing that, while there is no evidence alkaline water has harmful effects, there is also no evidence to support the health benefits of alkaline water.

Essentially, if all systems in the body are properly functioning, the pH of the blood won’t change much anyway. That’s why health experts say the amount of water consumed is more important than the type of water consumed.

But how much should you drink?

Storrs says you should drink half your body weight in ounces per day. For example, a 150-pound person should aim to drink about 75 ounces of water a day.

“Make it a habit to keep a water bottle on you as often as you can,” Storrs says. “The results – the way you look, the way you feel – might surprise you.”

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