From seltzer to mineral water, there’s no shortage of hydration with a twist of flavor both on the shelves and on our feeds. But, if you’re anything like us during this thirst-quenching movement, you might have found yourself wondering which fizzy third quencher is the healthier option while cracking open another can (we just can’t stop drinking them!). Ahead, we investigate mineral water vs. seltzer water to find out the benefits of each, plus which one has a more positive impact on our health.
What Is Mineral Water?
Mineral water is derived from underground reservoirs and doesn’t go through chemical processing like regular drinking water. While we might first consider mineral water to be sparkling, it is actually available in flat and sparkling. Much like its name suggests, mineral water contains a lot of minerals, specifically magnesium sulfate, calcium carbonate and potassium, which is a “similar amount of minerals as natural water sources,” says Sabrina Russo, a registered dietitian based in New York. “The water must contain at least 250 parts dissolved minerals per one million units of water to be classified as mineral water,” she adds.
As far as the health benefits of mineral water are concerned, Russo says the magnesium found in mineral water (and in general) “can help lower blood pressure, regulate circulation, and aid in digestive health.” Calcium is known to help strengthen bones and can also help nerves and muscles function. Potassium aids in “nerve function and muscle contraction, as well as maintaining a regular heartbeat,” Russo adds.
What Is Seltzer Water?
Unlike mineral water, seltzer water typically doesn’t include minerals as those get filtered out during processing, much like regular drinking water. Many people find that seltzer tastes much more like “natural spring water” than sparkling mineral water or club soda. While mineral comes in flat and sparkling, Russo says seltzer is “always infused with carbon dioxide to create bubbles.” Seltzers often come with natural flavors like lemon or peach. This is not something that sparkling mineral water and club soda can do because the minerals take over the taste of the other waters.
The health benefits of seltzer start with hydration, as it is considered a great source for quenching thirst. It “can also benefit digestion and help you feel fuller, longer,” says Russo. In addition, seltzer is a great alternative to sugary, calorie-laden sodas.
Because of its fizz, Russo says “some individuals might feel gassy or bloated after drinking seltzer.” And, if you’re watching your salt intake, it’s a good idea to read the label. Seltzer water might be processed to remove minerals, but it still has some and is known to contain higher levels of sodium, which can add to overall salt intake. In addition to sodium, Heather Hanks, a nutritionist with Instapot Life, says store-bought seltzer “can have added flavors, sugars, oils, calories, or carbs.”
Mineral Water vs. Seltzer Water
While both mineral water and seltzer water have their health benefits — especially in terms of hydration — the minerals can provide electrolyte benefits. However, if you have a health condition, such as chronic kidney disease, that requires you to “limit mineral intake” in general.
Another reason why mineral water is considered healthier is because of seltzer sodium and carbonation. With mineral water, you have the option to select flat instead of bubble water, but seltzer is always fizzy, which can lead to bloating and gas.
Much like regular water, Hanks says seltzer hydrates the body, which can lead to “better skin, improved digestion, curbing hunger, and increased concentration levels.” When shopping for seltzer water, Russo recommends looking for “options with the lowest sodium content and no natural or artificial sweeteners,” to reduce the impact of gassy side effects and unnecessary additional sugar (which can also impact health in a negative way). Hanks says to also be mindful of oils, flavors, and carbs as they “can contribute to weight gain and inflammation.”
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