Water is the world’s most popular drink – and for good reason too. There are numerous benefits to drinking water, from preventing dehydration to ensuring normal bowel functions.
According to doctors, an adult should drink at least eight glasses of water daily. This way they can reap benefits from it.
When picking which water to opt for, you have tons of options – the two most popular options being spring and purified.
Let’s break down the purified water vs spring water debate, so you can pick which one you feel is better for yourself.
Why Isn’t Filtered Water Included in This Debate?
You are probably wondering why we are only discussing purified and spring water and leaving out filtered water.
Well, it’s simple – all bottled water is filtered. Even the ones labeled purified and spring.
The filtration process removes sediments and other impurities, making the water appropriate for consumption.
Why Is Water So Important, Anyway?
Water, once consumed, provides you with the following benefits:
- Can help control calories: Water won’t magically help you lose weight, but it can help limit your intake of calories. Drinking lots of water will result in you not being as hungry throughout the day. It will also reduce your cravings to have sugary drinks that are filled with calories.
- Balances your body fluids: Did you know that 60% of your body is water? Water contributes to the normal functioning of your body in many ways and aids in the process of digestion, blood circulation, saliva creation, and maintenance of body temperature.
- Energizes your muscles: Water re-energizes muscles that would get fatigued without the presence of water. Cells that makeup the tissues of the muscles don’t function without adequate fluid. This is why it is recommended you drink plenty of water after exercise.
- Aids the proper functioning of the kidneys: The kidneys play a vital role in cleansing the body of toxins, such as blood urea nitrogen. They’re only able to do that if you drink plenty of water, since water is linked with the urine you produce. Not drinking enough can result in kidney stones, which is very painful.
The more water you drink, the more benefits you reap from it. However, you want to make sure that the water is fresh and clean.
Otherwise, you risk introducing impurities to your body that can lead to problems such as diarrhea, stomach infection, and urinary tract infection.
Purified Water vs Spring Water: Understanding the Two Types
In order to pick between these two types of water, you need to be able to distinguish between them.
What Is Purified Water?
Purified water goes through a purification process that removes many impurities. Most bottled water brands on the market claim to be purified. They can only claim that once the level of impurities in the water is below 10 ppm (parts per million).
The purification process relies on ion exchange, reverse osmosis, or a combination of both. The water doesn’t contain added substances and is free of ammonia, heavy metals, carbon dioxide, and oxidizable substances.
The purification process removes up to 99% of impurities in the water, leaving you with the purest and safest of water.
How Is Purified Water Different from Distilled?
Distilled water is a form of purified water that goes through a distillation process. The process is fairly simple: the water is boiled, the steam it produces is captured, and is then turned back into H20 through condensation.
During the process, impurities are removed from the water. Typically, distilled water contains less than 2 PPM of total dissolved solids (TDS), which puts it under the same category as purified water.
The processes might differ, but both purified and distilled water leave you with clean, drinkable water that would be termed pure by market standards.
What Is Spring Water?
Spring water is a common alternative to purified options. You may also find brands label their water as well water, artesian, or groundwater, which all fall under the umbrella of spring.
The requirement for any water to be labeled “spring” is that it is sourced from an underground aquifer, a natural source.
You can find natural springs running alongside many mountain valleys and hills. The path they take serves as a natural filtration process.
The mountain rocks and surfaces they come in contact with add minerals while removing impurities and microbes. Many individuals prefer spring water due to its natural, enhanced taste.
Depending on the brand, spring water may or may not go through intensive treatment before it is packaged for distribution. The reason why this particular water appeals to the public is due to the abundance of natural minerals and limited man-made contaminants.
It does have a higher level of “excess” particles in PPM when compared to purified water. But people that prefer spring water will tell you that the particles are mainly minerals that benefit you. There is no requirement for spring water to meet a specific PPM for its content.
Can You Drink Water from Any Spring?
While you can drink any bottled spring water, you want to be wary of drinking directly from a spring. Water quality in springs will vary and change daily.
Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t drink directly from a spring, unless it’s an emergency:
- Contamination: Springs are generally surrounded by land, and the area where the water seeps through into the ground is referred to as the “recharge” area. There isn’t a lot of filtration in this particular area since the water doesn’t move much here. The sources of contamination vary from petroleum leaks, landfills, old dumps, and fertilizers.
- Contains disease-causing organisms: Spring water samples need to be sampled in order to make sure they are safe for consumption. Most springs contain bacteria, viruses, and microbes that can cause diseases. Spring waters can have a higher level of nitrate-nitrogen, especially if there is animal waste or sewage nearby. This makes it a breeding ground for bacteria and other microbes which can be harmful to your body.
While the process of going down the spring and coming in contact with rocks does filter the water, it may not get rid of bacteria, microbes, and viruses.
For that to happen, the water requires a certain temperature and amount of sunlight. This is why you should think twice and not drink water from just any spring you come acress.
How Does Tap Water Differ from Spring and Purified Options?
Tap water is still commonly consumed in homes in America and Canada, as it is available in every home and sourced from the public water supply.
The water goes through a purification process at a local water filtration facility, but the standards are not as high when compared to bottled water, in general.
We already discussed that purified water must be below 10 PPM in TDS, but for tap and public drinking water the PPM ranges between 100-400. Don’t worry though, the water is still safe to drink, just not as pure.
Summarizing the Differences Between Spring and Purified Water
Here you’ll find a summary, in points, of the differences between spring and purified water:
- The water is sourced from anywhere. The only requirement is that it is purified after extraction.
- The process of purification includes either ion exchange, reverse osmosis, or a mix of both.
- Water is considered to be purified only if it has impurities less than 10 PPM.
- The water originates from a pure source or an underground aquifer.
- Being from a natural source, the water has fewer man-made additives. It also has a higher content of natural minerals, all of which are beneficial for your body.
- Be cautious of drinking spring water directly from a spring, because it may contain viruses, bacteria, or microbes.
Which of the Two Types of Water is Better?
There is no right answer to the purified water vs spring water debate. The answer is subjective to your preference. If you value taste above everything else, then spring water is generally a better choice.
Spring water has a natural freshness that you won’t find in purified water. However, if you want water that is pure and goes through rigorous testing to ensure purity, then you should opt for purified water.
Keep in mind that spring water does contain more minerals and can be more beneficial for your body in comparison to purified, since minerals are removed during the purification process.
No matter which of the two options you go with, you will end up with safe water that you can consume. Also, both purified and spring water are likely to be purer and safer to drink than your local tap water. This is because bottled water, no matter its source, must pass numerous tests before it is put out onto the market.
What to Consider When Buying Bottled Water?
When buying bottled water, whether it is spring or purified, there are certain things you need to consider. These include the following:
You buy bottled water because it is supposed to be healthier, in the sense that it is purer than tap water. Therefore, you want to make sure that it contains certain nutrients.
You should look out for the following nutrients in your bottled water:
- Sodium: Sodium maintains your blood volume and pressure, controls fluid levels, regulates pH levels, and allows nerves and muscles to function normally. The level of sodium in bottled water is relatively low, so it won’t be harmful to you, ranging between 20 mg/l and 200 mg/l. You require around 500 mg of sodium per day, so we recommend you opt for water that contains around 20 mg/l because you will likely consume sodium through food.
- Magnesium: Our body already produces magnesium, but it doesn’t hurt to consume more of it since the mineral is part of numerous biochemical reactions. It helps your nerves and muscles function, regulates heart rate and blood glucose levels, and is part of the process that produces protein and energy.
- Calcium: Water isn’t necessarily high on calcium, but it’s still a source for it. The mineral plays a role in strengthening your teeth and bones.
- Nitrate: You want to make sure that there is no nitrate present in the water. If the content of nitrate is higher than 10 mg/L, it can result in the iron-oxidizing in your blood cells, inhibiting the cell. Luckily, bottled water companies ensure that nitrate levels are very low in the water they package.
Most people don’t pay attention to the type of bottle used, but you should. Especially when it comes to plastic bottles, because the plastic can release chemicals into the water.
- High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE): These two types of plastics are safer than others. They don’t release any harmful chemicals into the water after being exposed to sunlight, even when exposed for a longer period.
- Polypropylene (PP): PP is a form of durable plastic used in bottles. But when exposed to a warmer environment and high temperature, it releases a chemical that can lead to hormonal imbalances. You want to make sure that if you opt for a bottle made out of PP, you store it in a cool space.
- Polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC): Any bottle that incorporates this particular plastic should be avoided. It is inexpensive, which is why water companies may use it. However, it can release numerous chemicals including lead, mercury, and cadmium, which are very harmful.
If possible, try to avoid plastic bottles altogether and stick to ones made out of glass.
That covers all of the aspects of the purified water vs spring water debate. Remember that both types of water are clean and consumable. They only differ in terms of how they are processed and the minerals and other contents they contain.
As far as which of the two is better, that is based solely on your preferences.
Be sure to check out our other reviews and buying guides for more water-related information!