At last! The answer to the puzzling question - what's the difference between spring and mineral water, and which is better?
With the recent water shortage and decreasing water quality in South Africa, you might find yourself navigating away from tap water and drinking more bottled water these days. Now that you've set sail in a different direction, do you find yourself staring at the bottled water in the grocery store, pondering whether you should go for the mineral or spring option?
Spring vs Mineral Water
You would think that all bottled water is the same, right? It's actually far from it, differing in source and in the treatment of the water.
Spring water is collected from a natural source, such as an underground spring emerging naturally to the surface. A spring occurs when an underground aquifer (a body of rock) is filled with water and overflows onto the land surface as a result. From here, the spring water goes through a filtration system, and is treated to disinfect and preserve the water before the bottling process. Minerals found in spring water include bicarbonate, sodium, nitrates, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
This type of water goes through a sterner and longer process before the bottling stage. Similarly, mineral water is sourced from underground, however the water flows over and through rocks, gaining traces of minerals on its journey. Mineral water must undergo two years of micro-biological testing to be officially recognised by local authority. It contains more minerals than spring water - as many as 250 dissolved solids.
Which is Better for You?
Now that you know the difference between the two, you might be wondering which results in a clean bill of health. There is a fine margin between deciding which water is best. It's argued that spring water contains the essential nutrients needed for your body, and is presented in a more natural state, whereas mineral water contains additional minerals that are not necessary for the human body. It can also often have a distinct taste that can be off-putting when consumed. It seems that spring water is the winner, however it is recommended that you do thorough research on its source and how many times it is tested for contaminants. The more natural the better!
Put a Spring in Your Step
If you are a tea and coffee lover, this one's for you. Do you often have tea at your favourite cafe, and when you return home and make it yourself it tastes completely different? It's not all in your imagination! The source of water you use to brew your daily dose is critical to how it tastes. Often 'hard' mineral water or tap water can add a funky metal taste to your tea, and you'd be better off opting for water with a neutral Ph (such as spring water). For all the parents out there, you can use bottled spring water for your baby's formula, however first make sure it has no additives.