It wasn’t that long ago I remember the bottled water selection being pretty basic.
Though sparkling mineral waters like Perrier were around, they seemed to be reserved for the bougie, even though they didn’t cost more than a soda.
Long gone are those days, as we now have aisles of wonderful waters to choose from.
I’m happy to see that soda sales are steadily declining while alternative beverages such as bottled and sparkling water are enjoying growing sales figures.
In fact, Americans bought 11.7 billion gallons of bottled water last year.
And La Croix – the sparking water company that’s gained somewhat of a cult following – has seen sales double in the last two years, up to $225 million.
These sales are cutting into soda’s profits and I’d say that is a win all around.
With this abundance of selection comes the following question:
Which of these waters is the best and why?
Today, we are going to check out the different waters on the market and figure out which are best.
Instead of breaking this down into a long comparison of each brand, I’m going to cut right to the chase and tell you which waters I recommend and why.
But first I want to talk about the three major categories of waters and give you a little background into the philosophy behind each: Mineral, sparkling, and pH.
I’ll also touch on major brands and give you my two cents, even if they don’t make the best-of-the-best list.
So, let’s get started.
First, the differences between mineral, pH water, and sparkling.
While tap water can contain some minerals, every water supply varies greatly. There is growing concern surrounding other nasty stuff floating around in our water too, such as pharmaceuticals, but I digress.
Mineral water is more than a refreshing bubbly drink for you to enjoy, it’s also underestimated as a health supplement. High in mineral content, these waters contain:
- Calcium – Strengthens bones
- Magnesium – Great for your immune system and over 300 biochemical processes in your body
- Sodium – Regulates blood pressure
- Potassium – Regulates blood pressure and your body’s electrical impulses
- Sulfates – Supports nervous system, joints, muscles, and helps detox your body
- Iron – Delivers oxygen to your organs
- Chlorides and bicarbonates – Balances your digestive system and reduces acidity in your body
Mineral water supports natural detoxifying processes, replenishes electrolytes, and truly quenches thirst.
So, next time you’d like to order a delicious bottle of sparkling mineral water, there’s no need to feel like you’re splurging because these bad boys actually support your health and are tasty too.
You may or may not be familiar with the health claims regarding the acidity and alkalinity of water. Acidic water has a pH between 1 and 7 (7 is neutral) and is thought to be not too good for you. This is mostly observational and theorized because acidic substances corrode materials, can harm other species of animals, and tumors are acidic.
Alkaline water, on the other hand, has a pH between 7 and 12 and has been loosely associated with a myriad of health benefits. Some of these benefits include immune system support, anti-aging properties, Improved skin health, and weight loss.
The jury is still out on the scientifically backed benefits of acidic versus alkaline water. But, full disclosure, I drink alkaline water after sauna and working out on occasion and have come to love the taste. In fact, I am so intrigued by the concept I recently purchased an Ionizer Plus from High Tech Health for our infrared sauna room for staff and patients to drink during and after their infrared sauna sessions in order to enhance detoxification and elimination of toxins. If you love alkaline water, you may consider purchasing the same unit for your home. Mention Dr. Jill to Emery at High Tech Health to get my patients-only discount too. 🙂
Sparkling water that isn’t mineral water is mostly just fun and bubbly. Though it can be an excellent replacement for sodas and many use it to wean themselves off pop.
You can buy bubbly waters or you can make your own carbonated water at home. Making your own water can actually be a lot of fun because you can add your own fresh flavoring. I like to crush up blueberries and mint with a splash of lemon. If you like a bubbly water, you will get much more health benefit by drinking mineral waters if you have the choice.
Next, here are my top four favorite waters.
Mineral Water – Gerolsteiner
When compared to most other mineral waters, Gerolsteiner blows their mineral content out of the water (pun intended).
Except in sulfates, see San Pellegrino below. Plus, I really like the taste of Gerolsteiner. It’s bubblier than San Pellegrino and has a slightly stronger taste.
|Gerolsteiner||348 mg (35% DV)||108 mg (27% DV)||11 mg (<1% DV)||118 mg (5% DV)|
|San Pellegrino||200 mg (20% DV)||52 mg (10% DV)||4 mg (<1% DV)||36 mg (2% DV)|
|Perrier||170 mg (17% DV)||6 mg (2% DV)||1.5 mg (<1% DV)||12 mg (<1% DV)|
*Please note – these numbers naturally have slight variations
I’d say the only drawbacks to Gerolsteiner are that it has fewer sulfates than San Pellegrino and is a bit more difficult to find, though it’s gaining popularity.
pH Water – Essentia
If your goal is to get more alkaline substances into your diet, then Essentia is the way to go. In a simple pH comparison of over 20 brands of water, Essentia came in with a pH of 9.
It is also reverse osmosis filtered, ionized water, and has minerals added for taste. It tastes delicious and smooth.
Sparkling Water –
La Croix is a great sparkling water because of its low cost and wide variety of. It tastes great and is replacing sodas for a lot of people, which is something I can get behind.
I sometimes worry when I see labels that simply say, “natural flavors” but La Croix appears to address this on their website. They state the natural flavors are derived from “essence oils” extracted from the named fruit and do not contain any sugars or artificial sweeteners.
Honorable Mentions – Mineral Water
San Pellegrino, my personal favorite, has 445 mg of sulfates compared to Gerolsteiner’s 38 mg. While I don’t think this alone is enough to justify it being a better option than Gerolsteiner, I do think it makes it an amazing alternative that is available nearly everywhere, especially if dining out. It is widely believed that ingesting food or beverage that contains sulfur is good for the hair, skin, nails and connective tissue.
If you haven’t heard of Topo Chico yet, it’s wonderful for those who absolutely love bubbles as main ingredient. It’s by far the most carbonated of the bunch.
Derived from a spring in Mexico, Topo Chico naturally has mineral content including sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese.
Topo Chico mineral content isn’t available anywhere I could find online though, which is a shame, because I’d really like to see how it stacks up.
Honorable Mentions – Regular ol’ Water
With a pH of 7.5 I’m going to recommend Fiji water as a great option for a regular ol’ bottle of water. It’s also a great option because pH water isn’t widely available and Fiji often is the only thing to come close and fill that void.
It also is a great bottle of water overall because it contains some natural minerals and electrolytes from the volcanic rock it runs through before being pulled from the underground aquifer on the island of Viti Levu in Fiji.
At the end of the day, your preference in water will come down to what you like the taste of best. However, I do encourage you to add a mineral water to your day or week. And above all, if you can replace your soda intake with sparkling or even better, mineral water, that’s an excellent choice for your body and overall health.
I hope you enjoyed this article over a nice, refreshing glass of healthy bubbly. Appropriate as we come to the end of our summer. Share this article with a friend who loves bubbles and see how their favorites stack up against mine.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.
I’m surprised you didn’t mention plastic bottles vs. glass?
we did! Gerolsteiner is in glass and so is large Pellegrino! 😉
Always great to see these kinds articles from you Dr. Jill. Thanks for sharing! Muah!
What about water flowing naturally from the Earth? Structured water. Perrier is owned by Nestle btw. Dr,Mercola did a great interview with Dr.Pollack on structured water and health benefits.
Do any of these types of waters naturally contain more trace lithium content than other?
no I do not think so…
Can drinking too much of water with high calcium in the water end up in calcification your ateries etc?
No that is unlikely – Parathyroid and Vitamin D control calcium homeostasis, it’s not much related to intake.
what about drinking Distilled water, which True North in Santa Cruz CA believes is the best water? Actually, I love my San Pallagrino and just regular water. I will definitely be trying the Mineral Water. Thanks for the great info!!
Distilled water is an excellent clean source of water, too
The primary question and issue I have with alkaline waters is that they can lower the acceded state in the stomach, which is supposed to be acidic.
Also, doesn’t the stomach pretty much neutralize the alkaline water but virtue of its acidic nature?
Yes, they can… it is best not to drink alkaline water with meals for that reason
I drink a Reverse Osmosis water that I Refill at Whole Foods in a BPA free 2 galloon jug. Whats your take on Reverse Osmosis water?
it is clean but mineral depleted. Suggest taking a mineral supplement to replete deficiencies
What I am understanding to your article, “At the end of the day, your preference in water will come down to what you like the taste of best. However, I do encourage you to add a mineral water to your day or week.” So, in other words, we can continue to drink our tap water from home as our water preference YET add a mineral water everyday or week. Tap water is so available and inexpensive for many people. Thank you!
Thank you! Are you concerned about BPA from the cans of La Croix or other brands of seltzer water?
yes, best to avoid canned beverages if possible
Thank you for your work! I’m on the Western Slope of CO and am just beginning to work with a Functional Medicine practitioner here to discover the roots of my 63 year old chronic health concerns! We are testing for genetic issues and looking into CIRS. I have trouble with increased heart rate and palpitations when I ingest sulfites in meds or preserved foods. My doctor is putting me on a very strict no-sulfite diet for 3 weeks for investigative purposes. So, all that to get to my question about the mineral waters you recommend that contain sulfates – would they create a problem for me? Thanks for your time – I LOVE sparkling waters!
No they should be ok, suggest using Gerolsteiner which may be the lowest
Hello Dr. Jill,
I cannot thank you enough for this article; you changed my life as I’ve known it for close to a decade. I’ve been suffering with a digestive system that is so sensitive it considers most foods as invaders and thus is in a BIG hurry to eliminate them—if you get my drift. It’s most pronounced after breakfast (or the first meal of the day) and particularly disturbing when that meal is enjoyed (?) in public.
I’ve tried a couple dozen well-respected brands of probiotics, enzymes, digestive aids/supplements (peppermint etc), even homeopathic remedies and almost all have failed miserably. As you might glean from that list, I do everything in my power to heal without resorting to pharmaceuticals or even OTC meds as I’m the poster child for side effects.
That all changed about a week after I began ingesting Gerolsteiner. WoW! I certainly wasn’t expecting this from a mineral water, especially since I’ve visited dozens of medical professionals (naturopaths among them) over the years and none suggested this.
All I do is drink one 8-ounce glass with a tablespoon of organic lemon juice every morning upon waking. That’s it! And that’s all it took to change my life.
Is it possible I’m alone in this sea change? I’ve told everyone I know about it, even longtime IBS sufferers none of whom have ever heard that it could be a remedy. And to think this outcome is just what I’m “seeing.” No telling what positive things are happening inside my belly. Time may tell but for now I’m content if this is all I ever know for sure.
In any case, I simply can’t thank you enough for this post.
Wow this is wonderful, Susan! Thank you so much for sharing 😊
I’ve reviewed over 500 fine Waters of the world, and Fiji has the highest content of silica at 93 mg/l. There are a few that come close also originating in volcanic rock, but none exceed that value. Read the research on silica’s ability to pull aluminum out of the body, and you’ll be convinced of its benefit.
Rather than spend upwards of $10/Liter for a sugary caffeinated drink, spend $2-$3/L on a healthy water. As water makes up upwards of 75% of our body, it’s unbelievable how few know anything about TDS, nitrates, etc., in their water.
Thank you for this comprehensive and concise research. We’ve been drinking Gerolsteiner for years at the urging of our family in Germany. It gives me a great alternative to soda as you have said, and I have some specific health benefits when drinking it. Europeans have so many options of still and sparkling mineral water to choose from. I wish we had more here in the US. However, many of the options there are more regional and derived from local springs and alpine water sources. Gerolsteiner is available at our Trader Joes. They carry the 750ml bottles. Costco is carrying San Pellegrino.
I love Topo Chico. Happy to have it accessible in CA now!
Their mineral analyses are available:
Topo Chico mineral content:
As far as I know, these water analysis reports have to be made available in the US.
I’m curious about your take on silicon/silica in waters that help remove aluminum. Professor Exley out of the UK has many published papers…
Provocation testing with orthosilicic acid (found in high-silica mineral waters) has been demonstrated in Chris Exley’s lab and published in clinical trials giving a standard amount of orthosilicic acid to Alzheimer’s patients and controls. PMID: 22976072 PMID:16988476