Much has been written about eating a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of water. One hydrogen molecule plus two oxygen molecules, water is, quite literally, life itself. Our bodies are almost 80% water. Water is so essential to life that we can live far longer without food than we can without water. Water companies have long touted their products’ free-from status – that is, free-from chemicals and other elements that stem from our grungy modern lives. More recently, water companies have begun to express a new measure of differentiation from the competition: their alkalinity level.
What is alkalinity in water? And should we give a damn?
Alkalinity generally refers to water’s ability to neutralize acid. Instead of giving a sixth grade science lesson about pH levels, let’s just say that our bodies are slightly alkaline and prefer to stay that way for optimum health. The more alkaline the water, the more effective it will be to counteract the effects of high acid foods. Our on-the-go lifestyles demand foods and beverages that help our bodies get back into balance. Water, especially water that is naturally alkaline, can help. (Tap water is usually between 7 and 8 pH). A few water companies are at the bleeding edge of water, sourcing from places as obscure as they are interesting. Here’s what’s new in this essential drink that we often take for granted.
Kona Deep’s water takes an epic 1,000 year journey from the glaciers of Greenland and Iceland through the deepest parts of the world’s oceans to Hawaii’s Big Island. Along the way, it picks up an abundance of trace minerals and electrolytes, including potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium, all alkaline minerals. Reverse osmosis desalinates the water after it is pumped to the surface, giving Deep Kona a pH of 6.7, or slightly below the neutral 7 pH.
Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water
After flowing down from the 14,000-foot heights of Mauna Loa volcano, Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water picks up enough minerals to measure a pH of 8.8. For an upset stomach, the high level of natural bicarbonate that contributes to the higher pH can be beneficial to relieve some symptoms.
Mountain Valley Spring Water
Pulled from a natural spring in the Ouachita Mountains of western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, Mountain Valley Spring Water has a pH of 7.8 and it rivals Waikea for its support of digestive health. Though the company does not specify mineral levels in its water, it does state that its waters are sodium free.
Aqua Carpatica Water
Sourced from the Carpathian Mountains of central Europe, rich in magnesium and calcium from the rocks that sustain those craggy peaks, Aqua Carpatica has an alkalinity pH of 8.2. That’s also above 7, the pH considered neutral. The boost comes from the high level of alkaline minerals in the water, calcium and magnesium. (Sodium and potassium are the other two alkaline minerals.)
Water from the bottom of an ancient Mongolian lake? You bet. Trapped under the Sayan Mountains for millions of years, this water is mineral-rich, including significant sodium, an essential alkalinizing mineral. The company states its water is either neutral or slightly acidic “depending on the soil cover around the wells.”
Crystal Springs Water
Crystal Springs family of brands includes VOSS Water from Norway. VOSS still water has a 6 ph. Crystal Springs’s FIJI Water is filtered through volcanic rock and has a 7.3 ph.
Higher alkalinity equates to a smoother mouthfeel, attributed to the higher mineral content, especially silicia, of more alkaline water. And, though tap water is free and generally clean, it does not contain the mineral content of these bottled waters. Certainly not bicarbonate. But that comes in a little yellow box…