Few can deny the refreshing taste of a sparkling beverage, but can something so tasty be healthy? There are many health benefits of drinking sparkling water. Making carbonated water healthy is easier than you think.
Follow along to the fantastic health benefits of sparkling water and how to recognize the ingredients with the most health benefits.
Varieties of sparkling water
Not all sparkling or carbonated water is treated the same. While they may look the same on the outside, the ingredients in the water have several key differences:
- Sparkling Mineral Water has naturally occurring bubbles that provide some carbonation. Brands will often add additional carbon dioxide to the beverage to make it more appealing and bubblier. This water usually contains natural minerals, including salts and sulphur compounds.
- Club Soda is similar to sparkling mineral water but generally contains more minerals, including sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate, potassium sulphate, and disodium phosphate.
- Seltzer Water is when carbon dioxide is added to the water. There are no other ingredients other than water and the bubbles (except if you add flavouring)
- Tonic Water is sparkling water with added sugars to sweeten the taste.
Despite their differences, they are all carbonated and get their fizziness from carbon dioxide. If you are looking for the healthiest one of the bunch, plain seltzer water, without all the added sugars, preservatives, and ingredients, may be your healthiest choice.
Is carbonated water healthy for your teeth?
Anything that passes through your mouth has the potential to harm the enamel and the overall health of your teeth and gums. When the acidity of carbonated beverages, there is some evidence that the risk of tooth erosion can occur, but generally with more extreme consumption.
According to an International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry study in the UK, carbonated water has an average PH of 2.74-3.34, which is similar or greater than the corrosion potential of pure orange juice. They note that the acidity of the carbonated beverage can increase if you add more acidic flavourings (such as lemon).
This doesn’t mean these beverages should be avoided entirely, and can be enjoyed in moderation. You can help minimize any corrosive effects on your teeth by drinking it with a straw or drinking plain water after or brushing your teeth after consuming carbonated beverages.
Is carbonated water healthy for your bones?
As we age, we worry more about our bone density. Many mistakenly believe that drinking carbonated beverages has the potential to erode bones and cause osteoporosis. This belief may be derived from research on soda beverages that contain phosphoric acid (PH of 2.5).
To test this theory, researchers compared the effects of cola beverages and non-cola carbonated beverages on men and women. Women who drunk the cola had a lower Bone Mineral Density (BMD) in their hips (men showed no difference). Those who consumed the carbonated beverage saw no significant BMD change.
This preliminary study indicates that there appears to be no immediate concern to bone density loss with average or occasional consumption of carbonated beverages. To minimize any damage, it’s good practice to rinse or brush your teeth after drinking any acidic beverage.
Is carbonated water good for hunger?
If you’re hungry, drinking carbonated water helps some people temporarily curb feelings of hunger by making you feel full. This feeling of “fullness” is attributed to the bubbles in your stomach. When they dissipate, you may start to feel hungry again.
It is only a short-term solution. It is no substitute for eating a healthy diet and consuming an appropriate amount of daily calories for your body type and activity level. But if you need help making it to your next meal or snack, or preventing you from overeating during meals, drinking a healthy carbonated beverage may help.
Is carbonated water good for gastrointestinal issues?
Carbonated water can help ease occasional gastrointestinal issues. Magnesium sulphate is a known laxative. In one double-blind study, participants who drunk 1 litre/day of sulphate-rich carbonated water saw improved bowel movements after three weeks, compared to those who drank tap water.
It’s important to note that the carbonation bubbles can contribute to bloating and gas, so closely monitor your gastrointestinal functions and cut back if you feel bloated. Your healthcare professional can advise regarding the safe consumption of carbonated beverages to ease your symptoms.
Can sparkling water hydrate?
If you’re thirsty, sparkling water is an excellent way to stay hydrated and is a much healthier choice than other high-calorie beverages. If you are trying to hydrate and are getting bored of still water, sparkling water is a near-perfect substitute to change things up. In one randomized controlled trial, researchers measured the urine output of participants four hours after consuming sparking or still water beverages. They found that there was almost no difference in output between the groups.
With so little difference between carbonated water and still water, it’s a great and tasty option when you get tired of drinking plain water. Drinking a combination of still and carbonated water is a great way to stay hydrated.
What negates the benefits of drinking sparkling water?
Water carbonated with carbon dioxide is, in itself, a healthy beverage option. The health benefits start to diminish when you start adding flavouring and sweeteners to the beverage:
- Artificial colouring is frequently used in commercial beverages to enhance flavours or as a preservative. These add unhealthy calories to your drink.
- Magnesium in carbonated drinks is good to help you regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, but too much can interfere with a low-sodium diet.
- Sugar and artificial sweeteners add calories to your beverage, and too much sugar in your diet can lead to health complications and type 2 diabetes. Don’t forget that “sugar” goes by many names in your beverage, including high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and sucrose.
Choosing healthier sparkling water beverages
If you must purchase commercially produced carbonated beverages, look for ones with lower sugar and less of the ingredients you can’t pronounce. Be mindful that just because it says things like “zero-calories” or “low sugar” doesn’t mean it is free from all unhealthy ingredients.
Since most of the “unhealthy” ingredients in carbonated beverages come from preservatives and flavourings, your best option to enjoy a healthier drink is to carbonate it yourself. Use fresh, filtered water and carbonate at home and add your own natural ingredients for flavour. Some classic flavour add-ins include lime, lemon, cucumbers, and mint, but don’t be afraid to experiment with your own natural flavour combinations.
If you choose to make sparkling beverages part of your healthy lifestyle, the SeltzaTap kitchen facet is a must-have. With the press of a button, your kitchen tap can dispense freshly filtered and carbonated water.
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