Art of health: Know your water before you drink

By: Ginger Klein Special to The Gazette
June 25, 2013
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Drinking an adequate amount of water is important, but there are so many varieties from which to choose.

Distilled, artesian, spring, mineral, tap and many more - which delivers the most bang for your buck?

The Food and Drug Administration requires that each bottle of water clearly state what type of water is inside. While that might be helpful, we must be clear on what that label tells us or we likely will be choosing based on the most attractive label or unique shape of the bottle.

Distilled water has been boiled into steam and then condensed into water through cooling, with the intention of removing impurities. It can be especially useful when impurities (minerals, dissolved solids) must be limited such as when it serves as a "base" for infant formula. Distilled water is safe to drink and, in theory, ought to have no taste.

Artesian water is produced from an artesian well and kept under high enough pressure in the aquifer to sit at a level above the top of the aquifer. Artesian water is isolated from contaminants and its taste is enhanced with dissolved inorganic salt.

Spring water comes from underground water flowing naturally to the earth's surface. Sparkling water is spring water that comes from the ground naturally carbonated and is not considered to have a specific health benefit as a result of the carbonation.

Mineral water is another type of natural water that comes from a spring or a well and contains 250 parts per million total naturally occurring dissolved solids (TDS). Mineral waters have a stronger flavor than most other waters. No minerals may be added to this water per the FDA and no specific health benefits may be claimed as a result of the mineral content, though many firmly believe those benefits exist.

Surface water has the most variability and can be the most prone to contaminants from the environment.

While options abound in the world of bottled water, tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency just as carefully, and potentially more carefully. In addition, it is generally easier to obtain a water composition report for your tap water than it is for bottled water just to be sure you know what you are drinking.


Klein is a 1st degree Black Belt in taekwondo and practices at the U.S. Taekwondo Center, serving the region for 26 years. For more information, call 488-4321.

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