Scientific American presents Nutrition Diva by Quick & Dirty Tips. Scientific American and Quick & Dirty Tips are both Macmillan companies.

A lot of people are concerned that fruits and vegetables are less nutritious than they used to be because the soil has become depleted of minerals. (For more on this, see my article Are Fruits and Vegetables Getting Less Nutritious?)

Whether or not this is something we really need to worry about, mineral water sounds as it if might be a good idea—sort of like a vitamin supplement that you can drink. Are there health benefits from drinking mineral water? Are there any risks?

First, you should know that you’re probably already getting some minerals in your regular drinking water. Most tap water contains minerals. For example, if you drink two liters of water a day, you could be getting 10 to 15% of your daily calcium requirement and up to a third of your required magnesium just from the water you drink. (For more on drinking water, see How Much Water Should I Drink?) But the amount of minerals in tap water in different regions varies greatly.

How Do You Know What’s in Your Water?
As I talked about in my article on water contamination, if you are on a public water system here in the U.S., you should get a report every summer with details about your water quality, including mineral levels as well as any contaminants that have been found. It’s often included with your water bill. If you’re a renter, you probably never see these reports. But many are posted online on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. (Visit the EPA’s website for Local Water Quality Information.)  Checking your water quality report can give you an idea how high in minerals your local water supply is.


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