As we are all hydro-homies reliant on minerals to stay healthy, mineral water can be an excellent way to make sure you are staying hydrated and are getting enough minerals in your diet. Drinking mineral water is great for health, but not every brand of mineral water is alike or contains the same mix of minerals.
Mineral water is classified as having a total dissolved solids value not less than 250 mg/L, and originate from an underground water source that is physically and geologically protected. Mineral water may be naturally or artificially carbonated, but no minerals can be added.
Simply put, mineral water is water that originates from mineral springs or underground aquifers. This water is said to be rich in minerals that could contribute to better health, as detailed in a study published in Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism.
How many types of mineral water are there?
Globally, there are several ways of classifying mineral water, based on the level of carbonation, the types of minerals, and the concentration of minerals. Importantly, in the U.S. mineral water must contain no less than 250 mg/L of total dissolved solids (TDS). Before looking at the types of mineral water, it is important to understand what TDS is.
The Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) value refers to the total concentration of dissolved particles in water. These substances mostly consist of inorganic salts, including those with magnesium, sodium, potassium, and manganese. It is measured in mg/L (or parts per million (ppm)).
What is the difference between spring water and mineral water?
Both spring water and mineral water originate in protected geological underground aquifers. Some mineral water springs may flow to the surface unaided, but most are underground. In contrast, all spring water must flow to the surface unaided.
According to FDA regulations, mineral water must have a minimum TDS value of 250 ppm (or mg/L). This minimum TDS value restriction does not apply to spring water. When rainwater passes through the porous rock into these aquifers, it collects minerals along the way. So while it is true that spring water also contains minerals, the minimum restriction does not apply.
Additionally, excess iron, manganese, and arsenic may be removed, but no additional minerals can be added to mineral water (except carbon dioxide, for carbonation).
What are the different types of mineral water?
Mineral water usually contains calcium, chlorine, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and micronutrients like chromium, iron, selenium, cobalt, and molybdenum in trace amounts. These minerals have been found to improve overall health in numerous parameters.
This table gives you a rundown of the minerals commonly found in mineral water, and how they are beneficial to health.
|Calcium||Bone development, muscle growth, enriching nerve impulses|
|Potassium||Muscle growth, neuromuscular enhancement, water retention, acid-base balance|
|Magnesium||Bone formation, lipid metabolism, protein synthesis, enrichment of nervous system|
|Phosphorus||Protein synthesis, ATP (energy molecule) synthesis|
|Sulfates||Cartilage growth, healthy hair, and nails, building blocks of essential amino acids|
Now, let’s look at different brands of bottled water based on their mineral concentration. They have been separated as having a very low, low, medium, or high mineral content. I’ve classified sparkling water separately, based on the process of carbonation.
Note that very low and low mineral content water is not technically “mineral water” according the the FDA. As you’ll notice, most are called spring water for this reason. If it’s true mineral water you’re after, start at the medium mineral content waters and keep reading.
Very low mineral content water
This very low mineral content water has a TDS of less than 50 mg/L. This water is not classified as “mineral water” according to the FDA, but would suit people needing low-sodium diets. It only has trace amounts of minerals like sodium, calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate salts.
- Spa Reine: Spa Reine is a still and light water with a TDS of 33 mg/L. It is slightly acidic and is sourced from fresh springs in Belgium. It is a soft water that has low sodium levels.
Price: EU 2.9 for 1 L.
Low mineral content water
These brands of low mineral content water have a TDS value between 50 and 500 mg/L.
- Mountain Valley Spring Water: Sourced from a spring in the Ouachitas, this water passes through a granite aquifer, and is rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It has a TDS value of 220 mg/L and a pH of 7.3. It is sodium-free and bottled at the source. Interestingly, this water is bottled in glass, making it plastic-free.
Price: USD 0.21/Fl Oz
- Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water: Arrowhead sources its water from springs in California, Colorado, and western Canada. It has a TDS value between 39-250 and is slightly basic (8.5). It is sodium-free and rich in calcium.
Price: USD 0.09/Fl Oz
- Evian Spring Water: Sourced from the French Alps, Evian spring water has a TDS value of 360 mg/L, with natural electrolytes aplenty. It is bottled at the source and is neutrally balanced, with a pH of 7.2.
Price: USD 0.05/Fl Oz
- Volvic Natural Spring Water: Bottled at Auvergne in France, Volvic water is sourced from a natural volcanic spring. Since it is naturally filtered through porous volcanic rock, it has a distinctive taste with a special mineral balance. It is relatively low in minerals but has a distinctive sharp, smooth taste. It has a naturally balanced pH of 7 since it is sourced from rainwater entering volcanic rock.
Price: USD 0.04/Fl Oz
Medium mineral content mineral water
Medium mineral content water has a TDS value between 500 and 1500 mg/L.
- Badoit: Collected from the springs of Saint Galmier in France, this naturally sparkling water is light, delicate, and rich in magnesium. Since this water is naturally carbonated, it is famous for its characteristic tiny bubbles and refreshing taste. It is bottled in glass. It has a TDS of 1200 mg/L and a pH of 6. However, this is on the expensive side.
Price: USD 20.99/Fl Oz
- Hildon Natural Mineral Water: Sourced from a private estate in the Hampshire countryside, Hildon’s natural mineral water is untouched; it is not purified or filtered artificially. It passes through porous rock where it is filtered naturally before it is bottled in signature Bordeaux bottles. This pH-neutral water pairs wonderfully with meals and wines. This water is smooth, crisp, and perfectly balanced. It has a TDS of 375 mg/L
Price: USD 0.33 Fl/oz
High mineral content mineral water
High mineral content water has a TDS value greater than 1500 mg/L.
- Gerolsteiner Naturell Mineral Water: This still water has a TDS value greater than 2000 mg/L. It is pleasant, soft, and crisp. It is low sodium but rich in calcium and magnesium.
Price: USD 0.11/Fl Oz
- Contrex: Originally from France, Contrex water is rich in calcium capable of providing 100% of daily calcium needs (if you drink 2 liters of it every day). It has a TDS of 2125 mg/L, with 486 mg/L calcium. It is also rich in magnesium and contains trace amounts of potassium. Since it is low in sodium, it is not too crisp. It may taste a tad ‘thick’ because of its natural hardness.
Price: USD 1.99/L
What are the different types of sparkling mineral water?
Not all sparkling water is mineral water. Sparkling water refers to water that has been enriched with carbon dioxide, giving it its distinctive fizzy and bubbly taste. Sparkling water contains no added sugar, making it a healthier alternative to sugary sodas. Technically, any water can be artificially carbonated – be it tap water, purified water, or natural mineral water. The pH of sparkling mineral water is usually 3-4, making it acidic. Here, I’ll give you the run down on the types of sparkling mineral water.
Whatever be the method of carbonation, non-sweetened sparkling mineral water is beneficial to digestion. Since there are no added sugars, there is minimal damage to tooth enamel. It may also relieve constipation and increase feelings of fullness.
Naturally enriched mineral water
This refers to mineral water with carbon dioxide naturally present from the source – underground aquifers. In addition to natural carbonation, this water also contains mineral salts and sulfur compounds. (Note: Badoit, from our list of medium mineral content water, is also a naturally sparkling mineral water)
- Gerolsteiner: Not only is Gerolsteiner water a high mineral content water, but it is also naturally carbonated. Extracted from the volcanic groundwater of Eifel in Germany, this water has a TDS of 2527 mg/L and is slightly acidic. It is naturally enriched with carbonic acid from the rock and is rich in calcium and magnesium. One bottle of this water fulfills 1/3rd of your daily calcium intake.
Price: USD 0.09/Fl Oz
- Vichy: Vichy Catalan water is bottled at the thermal springs of Calde de Malavella in Spain. The water has a high TDS value, making it very hard. It is naturally sparkling, with a slightly bitter taste from the carbonation.
Price: USD 0.21/Fl Oz
- Topo Chico Mineral Water: Unofficially hailed as the best sparkling water in Texas, Topo Chico water is sourced and bottled from Monterrey in Mexico. With a history spanning more than two centuries, this water is naturally carbonated for the most part. Additional carbonation is added for extra bubbles. This waste tastes light and smooth and has small bubbles. It has a TDS of 630 mg/L and is rich in magnesium and potassium.
Price: USD 0.19/Fl Oz
- Borjomi Mineral Water: This mineral water has a TDS value of 1100 mg/L. It travels through layers of volcanic rock as warm artesian spring water picking up minerals along the way. Borjomi is famous for its 1500 year old water and patented bluish-green colored bottles called “Georgian Green”. The Sparkling mineral water is naturally alkaline and naturally carbonated that gives it a distinct and crisp taste.
Price: USD 25.3 Fl/oz
- Ferrarelle Naturally Sparkling Mineral Water: This Italian water company finds its water from the high peaks of southern Italy. Bottled near the Roccamonfina volcano, this water arises from the only cold geyser in Europe. This naturally sparkling water is rich in small, merry bubbles and minerals like potassium, silica, and calcium. Ferrarelle has a TDS value of 1315 mg/L. Drinking 2 liters of Ferrarelle gives you 100% of your daily recommended calcium and potassium intake. Infused with natural bicarbonate, this water promotes digestion and makes mealtime feel luxurious.
Price: USD 0.22/Fl oz
Artificially enriched mineral water
In this case, flat mineral water is artificially pumped with carbon dioxide under pressure. Manufacturers may artificially add minerals to sparkling mineral water for taste and health.
- Perrier Carbonated Mineral Water: While the spring that Perrier sources its water from is naturally carbonated, the company collects the water and carbon dioxide separately, adding it at a later stage. This helps preserve the minerals from the source.
Price: USD 0.04/Fl Oz
- Arrowhead Sparkling Mountain Water: Arrowhead dissolves carbon dioxide gas into their naturally sourced spring water from mountains in California, Colorado, and Western Canada. Only their ‘Mountain’ brand water is natural mineral water, while ordinary Arrowhead Sparkling Water may be from other purified sources.
Price: USD 0.09/Fl Oz
- San Pellegrino Sparkling Carbonated Natural Mineral Water: This water is sourced from the Italian Alps near Lombardy. It is naturally enriched in mineral salts (mainly magnesium and calcium). Carbon dioxide is added artificially and the water is bottled in glass.
Price: USD 0.21/Oz
What is the best mineral water to drink?
There is no one best mineral water, as they vary in taste and flavor profile based on the mineral concentration and carbonation. Low-sodium mineral water is recommended for individuals with pre-existing high blood pressure conditions.
Is it okay to drink mineral water every day?
Yes, studies show that natural mineral water may be beneficial to health as a source of minerals. While mineral water cannot act as a supplement to minerals found in food, it is a healthy source of hydration and additional minerals. Additionally, unsweetened sparkling mineral water is a great alternative to sugary sodas.