Drinking water analysis: How good is our water?
Water quality under the magnifying glass
WATER IS THE BASIS OF OUR NUTRITION
An adult on average needs 2-3 litres of water a day, with a third of it coming from food and the rest supplied by drinking water. But what water should we be drinking? Is tap water good enough to optimally supply our body with minerals and nutrients, or should we be drinking bottles water?
STIFTUNG WARENTEST JUDGES
A renown institute for consumer research investigated this question and found that water from our mains pipe is in no way inferior to mineral water. Therefore, if you want to support the environment and save on your wallet, tap water is the best advice, because it is delivered directly to your home, without packaging waste or transport costs, at an unbeatable price.
The institute also suggests that it would be useful to mineralise tap water. Increasing the content of calcium, sulphates, magnesium or hydrogen carbonate is health-promoting and necessary for certain groups of people.
INVENTORY: WHAT IS CONTAINED IN OUR DRINKING WATER?
Our drinking water flows through many layers of rock on its way to source. It enriches itself with valuable minerals. However, many other substances also accumulate in the water. Impurities and germs must be filtered out before consumption along with heavy metals. Organic substances from agriculture, hormones or drug residues are home-made pollution that is due to our modern lifestyle.
Sometimes tap water contains an increased concentration of bacteria or viruses, normally in areas with heavy rainfall. Waterworks tend to treat this with increased levels of chlorine. The amount used is harmless, but sensitive tongues can detect the change in taste. Chlorine can also be filtered out at home – and residual stocks of pathogens can be filtered out at the same time.
The situation is somewhat different for heavy metals in tap water. Even though the suppliers deliver the water in perfect quality, it can still be burdened by an outdated house installation. Lead, copper, nickel, iron and zinc are found in uncontrolled concentrations and in extreme cases, uranium, mercury or cadmium have been detected.
Heavy metals accumulate in the body and are not excreted by the liver or kidney. High levels of these have been linked to triggering diseases such as cancer. Therefore, a water filter is a very sensible investment, especially for residents of an old building. In new buildings, there are no more pipes that can discharge heavy metals into drinking water. However, plastic pipes are mostly used, which can transfer microplastics and such their problems too.
Maximum permissible concentration per litre
WHICH INGREDIENTS IN THE WATER ARE DESIRED?
If our water were to consist only of what its chemical formula H2O says – namely, two parts hydrogen a part oxygen – it wouldn’t be enough for our body. Minerals make water a valuable food and also influence its taste. When minerals in water ionize, they dissolve and they become highly bioavailable. This means that they are fed to our body in such a way that they can be transferred directly into the bloodstream. The blood then transports them to the places where they are needed. The body can therefore deal with mineralised water much better than food with minerals in.
These minerals are important for our health:
|Mineral||Function in the body||Daily intake|
Important for building bones
|1.000 - 1.300 mg|
Ensures good function of the muscles
Balances the water in the cells
Prevents the formation of bladder and kidney stones
Regulates water balance
Has an acid-regulating effect in the stomach
Source: German Society for Nutrition
SPECIAL NEEDS FOR CERTAIN CATEGORIES OF PERSONS
For certain target groups it is worth taking a closer look. Athletes, for example, have a higher need for magnesium, sodium and potassium. Pregnant women also need more magnesium for the healthy development of their child.
Infants and people with impaired renal function, on the other hand, benefit from a lower mineral water. Sometimes too many minerals is unhealthy, for example in the case of sodium, which promotes the excretion of potassium. Without potassium, however, the body's own water regulation no longer works optimally, the body stores water and edema develops. Magnesium, on the other hand, is responsible for transporting potassium into the cells. Therefore, this mineral must also be present in sufficient quantities. It is therefore important to have a balanced ratio of minerals in the body.