Types of Drinking Water: Which is Healthiest - Nutrisense Journal (2023)

Did you know that water comprises about 50-60 percent of your total body weight? That’s right—in fact, every system in your body needs water to function and survive.

While it may be common knowledge that drinking enough water is important, you may have noticed that there are dozens of different types of water available these days. From tap water to purified water to distilled water, you have more water options to choose from than ever before.

But do certain types of water have more health benefits than others? And are there any you may actually want to avoid?

In this article, we’ll explore the many different types of drinking water and their potential benefits and downfalls. Read on to learn more!

What is the Best Type of Water to Drink?

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Water supports the function of all of our organs. It’s critical for:

  • Removing waste from your body
  • Regulating your body temperature
  • Maintaining your blood pressure and blood volume
  • Lubricating the joints and aiding in digestion
  • Helping to absorb and transport nutrients throughout the body
  • Supporting skin health
  • Assisting in the chemical reactions of your metabolism

There are dozens of different purification methods and filtration systems for drinking water out there. Some types of water may contain a higher mineral content, which can be beneficial to your health, while others may increase your risk for certain conditions.

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At this time, there is no one “healthiest water” variety, and as long as your water is clean and safe to drink, the best water type for you may depend on your specific needs and what type is available to you.

But, there are many water brands out there that claim that they provide the healthiest variety of water, so let’s break down each of these common types and the benefits they may provide.

1) Tap Water

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Tap water is the municipal drinking water that’s typically piped into homes and businesses from a central water treatment facility and comes out of your faucet. Depending on the water supply where you live, some types of tap water can have added fluoride and the water taste may be distinct.

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The water quality, purification, and treatment process may vary depending on your community and location, but it typically consists of these treatment steps that add minerals, remove solids, filter, and disinfect the water:

  • Coagulation
  • Flocculation
  • Sedimentation
  • Filtration
  • Disinfection

2) Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water

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Reverse osmosis, or RO, is a method that passes water through a semipermeable membrane to remove minerals, molecules, and other impurities from drinking water. This purification process removes a high percentage of these compounds, which may include essential minerals like magnesium and calcium.

For this reason, some researchers have expressed concern about the potential negative health effects or environmental consequences of this demineralization of water. Some RO treatment systems will “remineralize” water by adding some beneficial minerals back into the water, but it has varying levels of efficacy.

3) De-ionized (DI) Water

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De-ionized water has been treated to remove all ions, which are particles with a negative or positive electrical charge. Typically, that means all of the dissolved mineral salts in the water have been removed.

This treatment was initially used to create more controlled conditions in laboratory settings for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. As with reverse osmosis treatments, there may be some reason to consider potential health concerns associated with demineralization of water.

4) Alkaline Water

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Alkaline water is a type of water that has a higher pH level than regular drinking water. Normal drinking water generally has a neutral pH of seven, while alkaline water typically has a pH of eight or nine.

Drinking natural alkaline water such as spring water is generally considered safe because it contains natural minerals. While certain health claims have been made in favor of alkaline water, there is currently little to no strong evidence to support them.

Although a variety of bioactive functions have been reported in animal studies, the effect of alkaline water on lifespan and longevity in the human body is still unknown. One Japanese study, however, reported positive effects on digestion and exercise performance in humans from alkaline water use.

Despite this, it’s important to note that researchers reported a conflict of interest: they received funding from one of the companies that produces the AEW water devices. Other similar studies have received funding from the manufacturers of these alkalizing water systems.

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5) Mineral or Sparkling Water

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Mineral water typically comes from a “natural” source like a natural spring and can either be flat or naturally sparkling. According to the FDA, this type of water comes from an underground source and contains at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids.

Sparkling water has a “fizzy” quality to it, usually imparted by a process of carbonation. This carbonation can be added to tap water with manufactured carbon dioxide or by the addition of ''natural'' carbon dioxide.

Either type of carbonation can also add a bitterness to the taste of a water. Beverages labeled as containing sparkling water, seltzer water, soda water, tonic water, or club soda aren't included as bottled water under the FDA's regulations. These beverages are instead considered to be soft drinks.

6) Spring Water

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According to the FDA, spring water is derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface. This water must be collected only at the spring or through a borehole that taps the underground formation feeding the spring.

Spring water can be bottled and sold under many names, including naturally occurring mineral water or alkaline water. Natural spring water is generally considered safe to drink and contains only the minerals that were naturally present in the spring as the water was extracted.

These components are typically made up of electrolytes like calcium, magnesium, or trace amounts of sodium. Mineral water may have these components as well, but they may be added during processing, unlike spring water.

7) Well Water

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According to the FDA, well water comes from a hole bored or drilled into the ground, which taps into an aquifer. Well water may have varying degrees of purity depending on the location, and may require regular testing to ensure its quality.

Well water can also have varying pH levels depending on what geographic features, like rock types, are nearby. Some people will use in-house water purification systems to further purify their well water.

Getting Enough Water: How Much Is Enough?

As you know, drinking enough water is important to keep your body functioning. Proper hydration can positively affect things like your skin, cognitive performance, digestion, and kidney function, among many other things.

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Staying hydrated is also associated with higher energy levels. Chronic or severe dehydration, on the other hand, can cause high blood sugar, low blood volume, urinary and kidney problems, and even seizures, among many other health problems.

So, how much water should you be drinking? According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy adults should be drinking 11.5 to 15.5 cups of water, or seven and eleven (12 ounce) glasses of water per day. These recommendations include water and fluids from foods you eat and other beverages you drink throughout the day, like tea and coffee.

However, these recommendations may not always be so straightforward. Certain factors can also influence how much water you need to drink, such as:

  • How much you exercise
  • The weather
  • Whether or not you are pregnant

Talk to your doctor about how much water per day is right for you and your unique needs.

Other Common Questions About Water

So, now that you know all about the different types of drinking water and how much water you should aim to drink daily, let’s get into a few other questions you may have about the different qualities that each water variety may have.

Does pH Matter?

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Some types of drinking water can vary in their pH balance. The pH scale measures the acidity or basicity of a liquid solution. Here’s how it works:

  • The lower the pH, the more acidic it is
  • The higher the pH, the more basic it is

Regardless of the pH of drinking water, your body has natural self-regulating systems that tightly control the pH of different fluids such as blood, urine, and saliva. The lungs and kidneys are two primary sources of pH regulation in the body, and they run a tight ship.

So, whether or not your water is slightly acidic or slightly alkaline may not have as much impact on how your body as a whole regulates pH. However, the mineral content of some waters may offer a benefit for certain people, especially those who consume relatively lower levels of those minerals, like calcium or magnesium, in their diet.

If you think you may benefit from drinking a type of water with a higher or lower pH, consider consulting a doctor or a dietitian for further guidance.

Does Mineral Content Matter?

As we’ve mentioned, mineral-rich water that may contain calcium, potassium, or magnesium or other minerals that can run low in some diets may offer some benefit to health for certain types of people.

However, if you are not already deficient in these minerals and are meeting your mineral nutrient needs through your diet, it may be unlikely that consuming these minerals through your water will offer additional benefits.


What Contaminants Are in Your Water?

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There are a few different types of contaminants that may be found in certain types of water. While each of these types of contaminants can have negative health effects, the human body can fight off many of them before they cause any need for concern.

Certain pollutants in water can vary depending on geographic location and water source, but the Environmental Protection Agency breaks them down into four categories:

1) Physical Contaminants

These contaminants include sediment or organic materials suspended in the water of lakes, rivers, and streams due to soil erosion.

2) Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contaminants may be naturally occurring or man-made. They can include nitrogen, bleach, salt, pesticides, metals, toxins produced by bacteria, and human or animal drugs.

3) Biological Contaminants

These organisms are also referred to as microbes or microbiological contaminants. They can include bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and parasites.

4) Radiological Contaminants

These are chemical elements that can emit ionizing radiation. Examples include cesium, plutonium, and uranium.


What is the healthiest type of water to drink? ›

What Is The Healthiest Water To Drink? When sourced and stored safely, spring water is typically the healthiest option. When spring water is tested, and minimally processed, it offers the rich mineral profile that our bodies desperately crave.

What are the 3 types of water? ›

What Are The Three Forms Of Water
  • Solid water – ice is frozen water. When water freezes, its molecules move farther apart, making ice less dense than water. ...
  • Liquid water is wet and fluid. This is the form of water with which we are most familiar. ...
  • Water as a gas – vapor is always present in the air around us.

What are the healthiest types of bottled water? ›

Mineral water: usually the healthiest bottled water choice. Contains beneficial minerals. Alkaline water: has a high pH, which has been associated with certain health benefits.

What is the best water for kidneys? ›

Pure, naturally-filtered water is the best thing you can drink for good kidney health. And installing a cost-effective, energy-efficient, and convenient bottled water cooler can be the best way to get it.

What is the purest bottled water? ›

Sourced directly from Iceland's legendary Ölfus Spring, one of the world's purest ecosystems, this water has a low mineral content and a naturally alkaline pH of 8.4. There are no harmful minerals, silica, or heavy metals, and no bacteria either.

Why is alkaline water good? ›

Alkaline water has a higher pH level than that of plain tap water. So proponents say that it can neutralize acid in your bloodstream. Some say that alkaline water can help prevent disease, such as cancer and heart disease.

What is the difference between purified water and spring water? ›

Spring water and purified water are popular and excellent choices. Spring water is naturally filtered underground. It's collected from springs or boreholes. Meanwhile, purified water is any type of water that has undergone a controlled filtration and purification process to remove impurities and contaminants.

What is the number 1 bottled water? ›

1. Fiji. Since 1996, Fiji has offered clean, rainforest water to 60 countries. Sourced from an ancient artesian aquifer surrounded by dormant volcanoes, its purity is simply due to the fact that it's naturally filtered by volcanic rock.

What bottled water is best for kidney disease? ›

However, there are brands and types of water that are high in minerals like fluoride and calcium, which may contribute to kidney stone formation, and other diseases.
The Best Bottled Water Brands for Healthy Kidneys
  • My Own Water. ...
  • Evian Water. ...
  • Voss Water. ...
  • Fiji Artesian Water. ...
  • AQUAhydrate Electrolyte Enhanced Water.
Nov 29, 2022

What is the #1 best drink for your kidneys? ›

Water: Water is simply the best drink you can have! Water is a zero-calorie, perfectly hydrating, cheap drink. If you are in the earlier stages of kidney disease, choosing water most of the time to quench your thirst will keep your body and kidneys functioning well.

What is the number one drink for kidneys? ›

The lowdown

While plain water is the best drink for your kidneys, other fluids are perfectly acceptable, including coffee, green tea, low-potassium juices, and infused water. Avoid sweetened, carbonated beverages and coconut water.

Does lemon water help kidneys? ›

Lemons contain citrate, which helps prevent calcium from building up and forming stones in your kidneys. Interestingly, the benefit doesn't seem to be present in oranges, making lemon a unique tool in kidney stone prevention.

What is the most purest drinking water? ›

Distilled water is the PUREST drinking water possible.

Distilled water is the PUREST form of water.

Who has the best water in the US? ›

The top 10 states with the cleanest water in 2021 are:
  • Rhode Island.
  • South Dakota.
  • Minnesota.
  • New Hampshire.
  • Connecticut.
  • Vermont.
  • Kansas.
  • Missouri.
Mar 11, 2022

What is the purest drinking water on earth? ›

While there are a few places that boast extremely clean water, such as Canada, Iceland, Antarctica, or even Upstate New York, the team of scientists determined that the cleanest water in the world was in the Patagonia region of Chile, Puerto Williams.

Who should not drink alkaline water? ›

If you have a kidney condition, or are on any medication that could alter the function of your kidney in any way, drinking alkaline water could cause the minerals to accumulate in your body. Drinking too much alkaline water could also lead to metabolic alkalosis and could disrupt your body's normal pH levels.

What happens if I drink alkaline water everyday? ›

A: Drinking a bottle of alkaline water every other day won't significantly affect your body. However, if you drink a gallon of alkaline water daily, your body has to work hard to maintain its pH and that means that over time, your body will produce more gastric juices and digestive enzymes.

Which is better alkaline or purified water? ›

Alkaline vs purified water - Conclusion

If we are to go into more specifics, we can say that purified water is better for people with kidney conditions. The reason for this is that the high pH level of alkaline water doesn't match well with this condition, and it can actually cause some damage.

Why is spring water the best? ›

High-quality spring water is rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, and other trace minerals. It is naturally more alkaline than tap water, which can create an environment in the human body less vulnerable to disease proliferation.

Is purified water better than natural? ›

Purified water is considered to be the healthiest type of water, which is why it comes with many notable health benefits. Even though standard tap water is usually safe to drink, this water can still consist of trace amounts of contaminants, which is why it's recommended that you opt for purified water.

Is Poland Spring good water? ›

Short answer. Poland Spring water has repeatedly been found to contain contaminants and is the defendant in a lawsuit claiming that it is not "spring water" at all. Poland Spring water can be safe to drink, but anyone drinking it runs a risk of ingesting harmful chemicals.

Is it better to drink purified or spring water? ›

While spring water has been naturally filtered through underground aquifers, purified water also goes through a strict treatment and filtration process for purity. So both are excellent sources of hydration, but while purified water is classed as 'pure', spring water can be better for you.

What water should you drink everyday? ›

About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men. About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

Can you drink distilled water everyday? ›

Is it Safe to Drink Distilled Water? The distillation process is a natural process, much like the Earth's water cycle, that removes impurities from water, leaving water in its purist form. As no potentially harmful disinfectants or other chemicals are added during the process, it is considered safe to drink.

What is the purest water on earth? ›

Rainwater is the purest form of water. The rainwater directly comes from the condensation of water in the presence of the sun. The water evaporates from the lakes/rivers/seas. During the vaporization process, the impurities get removed, and then waterfalls directly into the earth in the form of rain.

Is spring water the most healthiest water to drink? ›

Again, the healthiest water to drink is water that's free of pathogens and contaminants, yet rich in key minerals. But, if there was one water option to pick, it's likely going to be spring water or clean artesian water—water that still contains healthy mineral content and is free of pathogens.

Is purified the same as spring vs mineral water? ›

Unlike spring and mineral water, purified water doesn't necessarily come from a natural source. The name purified simply means the water has been filtered or processed to remove impurities like chemicals and other contaminants.

Is Alkaline water better than spring water? ›

For most people, alkaline water is not better than plain water. Bottled water sold as alkaline water, which is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, might have nutrients added to it to achieve an alkaline pH. Alkaline water has a higher pH level than that of plain tap water.

What is the best water to drink all the time? ›

Without a doubt, spring water is the winner. It is considered the best water to drink, providing vital nutrients as it moves through the body. This is, of course, spring water that is bottled at the source and proven to be actual living spring water.

What is the best water in the world? ›

1. Switzerland: With strict treatment standards and superior natural resources, Switzerland ranks number one for best EPI. In fact, Swiss tap water is as pure as its bottled water – but 500 times cheaper.

Which is better distilled or purified water? ›

Purified water is usually a good option since the purification process removes chemicals and impurities from the water. You should not drink distilled water since it lacks naturally-occurring minerals, including calcium and magnesium, that are beneficial for health.

Can you drink rain water? ›

Germs and other contaminants are found in rainwater.

While useful for many things, rainwater is not as pure as you might think, so you cannot assume it is safe to drink.

How long is distilled water good after opening? ›

Distilled Water Shelf Life
Opened bottle of distilled water9-12 months3 days-1 week
Unopened bottle of distilled water2+ years2+ years

Who has the purest water in the USA? ›

The top 10 states with the cleanest water in 2021 are:
  • Rhode Island.
  • South Dakota.
  • Minnesota.
  • New Hampshire.
  • Connecticut.
  • Vermont.
  • Kansas.
  • Missouri.
Mar 11, 2022

Which brand has the purest water? ›

Best Bottled Water Brand You Can Get In 2022
  • SMARTWATER. Smartwater's vapor-distilled water is famous for their range of hydrating electrolyte water drinks. ...
  • AQUAFINA. ...
  • EVIAN. ...
  • LIFEWTR. ...
  • FIJI. ...
  • VOSS. ...
Mar 30, 2022


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