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Do We Need Minerals in Our Drinking Water?

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Our tap water contains different minerals that naturally dissolved into the water at its source. They’re not exactly bad to drink, but they aren’t really necessary either. Your tap water can have traces of iron, potassium, and sodium in it, as well as calcium and magnesium (the minerals associated with hard water). It’s those last two minerals that can really be a nuisance. Most areas in the country have water with high levels of calcium and magnesium. Without a water softener, those minerals will create water spots on your dishes. They also leave rock-like buildup on showerheads and faucets around your home.

The minerals in our water are present both before and after water goes through the treatment process. Truth be told, most are fine to drink. People turn to home water filtration for other reasons. They want to get rid of contaminants that can be left behind after tap water is treated, or remove those picked up while water travels through the pipes. Filtration can also take care of the water additives like chlorine. Treatment plants add these in to keep water “safe,” but they come with their own set of health concerns.

About RO Filtration

A reverse osmosis (RO) system is an especially effective way to filter your tap water for drinking. The RO purification process removes contaminants like toxins and microbes, as well as the chlorine and fluoride additives from the treatment plant. Of course, filters this strong also remove minerals from your water. They’ll take out any lead in your drinking water, as well as the calcium, iron, magnesium, and others.

Because RO water is completely devoid of contaminants and minerals it’s sometimes referred to as “dead” water. It’s empty of all macronutrients—and yes, the body likes macronutrients—but that’s exactly what makes RO water so pure and clean. This doesn’t make RO water bad for you, it just means you won’t be adding to your daily mineral intake by drinking that kind of filtered water. Which isn’t even a loss because we get nearly all of our minerals from food.

Your Real Source of Minerals

The Nutrient Data Laboratory did a study on tap water and minerals. They ultimately found that on average, only four minerals in unfiltered tap water contribute to the recommended daily dietary intake by more than 1%. Put another way: If you drink 1 L of tap water, you’re only adding to your “required” consumption of copper, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. So are you really missing out on anything by not having minerals in your water? Short answer: Nope.

We drink water to stay hydrated and help our bodies process the vitamins and minerals we take in from eating. Our food is what gives us nutrients—not our water. In fact, our bodies can’t even process most of the minerals in tap water. If you want to learn how to get all the nutrients you really need in your diet, check out this in-depth article on vitamins and minerals from Harvard Health Publications.

Even though reverse osmosis water doesn’t provide any minerals, the filtration offers lot of other benefits. We can get minerals from fruits and veggies, so why risk having contaminated drinking water? RO systems are powerful enough to remove nitrates and pesticides from tap water too, so they’re a super effective method for drinking only good, clean water.

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