Tap water is used by about 4.2 billion people around the world. Yet, many don’t know what’s present in their drinking water. Over the past few years, bottled water has risen to the top since it’s considered safer.
But is that true? Let’s talk more about it and what minerals are in tap water. Let’s dive right in!
What is A Mineral?
Before we determine what tap water consists of, it’s sensible to understand what minerals are.
Minerals are naturally occurring, inorganic substances that often form crystals, but in water, they’re dissolved. As water travels from the ground up, some salts and minerals can get dissolved into the water.
What is in Tap Water?
According to a USDA study, 2 liters of tap water have only 4 minerals that make up more than 1% of the US daily value in water. Here are the 4 main minerals in water and why they’re essential for our bodies.
Cooper makes up 10% of the mineral composition of tap water. Since most water pipes are made of copper, it gets picked up along the way. Copper is most useful for producing red blood cells and the immune system too.
Calcium makes up about 6% of the mineral composition, and it’s essential for strong bones and healthy teeth. It also aids in blood clotting, the production of hormones, and cell health in general.
5% of the mineral composition is made by magnesium, which is needed for metabolism and the proper functioning of your muscles.
Usually, sodium makes up 3% of the composition but depending on the region you live in, it can differ. This mineral is most important when it comes to regulating your blood pressure!
Other than these 4 main minerals, there are several trace elements found in very small quantities. Some of these are as follows:
As we all know, iron is known for producing blood cells and transporting oxygen. Other than that, it’s also essential for several metabolic processes.
Selenium acts as an antioxidant that’s responsible for protecting cells from damage. It’s also essential for a healthy and functioning thyroid gland.
This trace element helps cells update insulin and also aids in the production of energy.
Zinc’s main job is in the production of proteins and the growth of tissues. It also regulates your metabolism and the immune system.
Much like sodium, potassium also plays a key role in the management of fluid balance, blood pressure, glucose level, and in nerve impulses.
Phosphorus has been known to aid in combating fatigue by converting sugar to energy.
Fluoride naturally occurs in some water bodies. Other times it’s added intentionally to help avoid tooth decay.
Is Tap Water Healthy?
The long-asked question about just how healthy tap water is has always been relevant.
Tap water is usually supplied from a large well, lake, river, or reservoir and often has to go through a water treatment plant. Most countries regulate their water by station limits on several contaminants such as lead and other heavy metals.
Many community water sources have added fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. Drinking tap water can actually help you keep your mouth clean of bacteria!
You might have heard that bottled water tastes better than tap water. But when this myth was tested in a blind taste test, people couldn’t tell the difference between bottled water and tap water.
In short, tap water is generally healthy if your government has been regulating it. It all boils down to the region you live in.
Too Many Minerals?
Since many things can determine the number of minerals in the water, it’s only natural to wonder if there can be too many minerals in tap water at times.
When the amount of magnesium and calcium in water is higher, the water is said to be “hard.” Water softening systems lower the concentration of these minerals.
Should I Filter Tap Water?
Even though hard water does not have diverse effects on your health, it can still cause problems for your hair, skin, and even your pipes.
Hard water leads to limescale buildup on pipes and kitchen appliances. Often, people want to filter their water since it helps avoid mineral deposits due to hard water and corroded pipes, which can lead to rusty water.
If you’re thinking of filtering tap water, there are 2 main ways you can do so.
- Water Softeners
Water softeners can turn hard water into soft water by an ion exchange method that replaces magnesium and calcium ions and produces potassium or sodium ions.
- Reverse Osmosis
Another method is reverse osmosis. This processes any large mineral molecules that are bigger than water and pushes the water flow through a highly specialized membrane. The membrane filters out any sort of contaminants, impurities, or toxins.
When to Stop Drinking Tap Water
If you’re concerned about the safety of your tap water, there are many water quality test kits to ease your restlessness. Other than that, here are a few surefire signs that it’s not safe to drink your tap water.
- Cloudiness: If your water is anything from completely clear and odorless, it could mean either the water system of your area or your water pipes at home aren’t working right.
- Yellow-brown color: When you see a muddy yellow/brown color in your water, it could be a sign of iron, manganese, copper, or lead buildup.
- Green-blue color: A greenish blue color in your water means it has a high concentration of copper which can be caused by corroded pipes.
- Bleach smell: If your tap water smells a lot like bleach, it means there’s excess chlorine in your water system.
- Rotten eggs smell: If your water smells like sewage or rotten eggs, it means hydrogen sulfide has dissolved into it. This compound is usually found in groundwater.
- Fishy smell: Water with a fishy smell could be a sign of excess barium or cadmium.
Water should always be odorless and clear. If your water is anything other than that, contact your water supply services. Minerals in an adequate amount don’t alter the taste or smell of your water. In fact, they’re good for you. Happy hydration!