When it comes to choosing drinking water, a common question arises: “Can you drink distilled water?” This question is more than just about safety; it’s about understanding the implications of distilled water on our health and wellness. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of distilled water. We will explore its production process, compare it with other types of water, and discuss its effects on our health. While distilled water is celebrated for its purity, you need to be aware of several nuances and considerations. You should be aware of these before incorporating it into a daily routine.
Understanding Distilled Water
What is Distilled Water?
Distilled water is the result of a purification process known as distillation. This involves boiling water to produce steam, which is then cooled and collected as a liquid. The distillation process effectively removes contaminants and minerals, resulting in highly pure water. But, is this level of purity beneficial for everyday consumption?
The Distillation Process Detailed
The journey of making distilled water begins with boiling. As the water boils, it turns into steam, leaving behind impurities, such as bacteria, chemicals, and minerals. This steam then moves to a cooling area, where it condenses back into liquid water. The result is incredibly pure, almost sterile water. While this might sound ideal, the absence of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and fluoride is not great. They are naturally found in other types of water and their absence raises important questions about the impact on our health.
Comparison with Other Water Types
Compared to tap, spring, or mineral water, distilled water stands out for its lack of impurities and minerals. Tap water, for instance, often contains chlorine and other chemicals used for purification, along with minerals beneficial to health. Mineral water, as the name suggests, is rich in minerals which not only contribute to its taste but also offer health benefits. The stark difference in mineral content between distilled and other types of water is a critical factor to consider when answering the question, “Can you drink distilled water?”
Nutritional Deficits in Distilled Water
The purity of distilled water, while initially appealing, comes with a significant drawback: the absence of essential minerals. Regularly consuming distilled water can lead to a lack of minerals. They are vital for maintaining bone strength, heart health, and overall bodily functions.
Impact of Mineral Deficiency
The human body relies on a regular intake of minerals to function optimally. Distilled water, devoid of these minerals, does not contribute to this dietary need. Over time, relying solely on distilled water could potentially lead to mineral deficiencies, affecting everything from bone density to muscle function. While the body does obtain these minerals from food, water is an important supplementary source.
Comparing Mineral Content
When we compare distilled water with mineral or spring water, the contrast in mineral content is stark. These waters not only hydrate but also supply a variety of essential minerals. The absence of such minerals in distilled water is a point of concern for nutritionists and healthcare professionals, especially when considering its long-term consumption as a primary drinking source.
Potential Health Risks
Beyond the nutritional deficits, there are other health risks associated with drinking distilled water, especially when you drink distilled water exclusively over a long period.
Acidity and Body pH
One concern is the neutral nature of distilled water. When devoid of minerals, water tends to push the human body towards a more acidic pH, which can disrupt the natural pH balance. This disruption, over time, could potentially lead to health issues such as increased acidity in the stomach, affecting digestion and overall gut health.
Absorption of Atmospheric Gases
Distilled water, being highly pure, has a unique ability to absorb atmospheric gases, which can alter its composition. When exposed to air, it can absorb carbon dioxide, making it even more acidic. This change in composition can further impact its interaction with the body’s internal environment.
Potential for Leaching Minerals
Another risk factor is the potential for distilled water to leach minerals from the body. Due to its lack of mineral content, distilled water can pull minerals from wherever it can, potentially including the body’s own stores. This phenomenon could exacerbate the issues arising from its lack of minerals, leading to further depletion of essential nutrients in the body. A great way to avoid these issues is by looking at appliances such as Soda Tap Systems which can dispense great-tasting water without any chemicals.
The Taste Factor and Aesthetic Concerns
The lack of minerals in distilled water not only impacts its health benefits but also its taste. Many people find distilled water to taste flat or bland. This is because minerals like calcium and magnesium play a key role in enhancing the flavor of water.
Cooking and Beverages
When used in cooking or making beverages like coffee or tea, distilled water can alter the taste of these foods and drinks. It may not extract flavors as effectively as mineral-rich water, leading to less palatable culinary experiences. Additionally, the flat taste of distilled water might not appeal to everyone, potentially affecting overall hydration if it becomes less enjoyable to drink.
Environmental and Practical Considerations
The distillation process is energy-intensive, making it less environmentally sustainable than other water purification methods. Additionally, the cost of distilling water or purchasing distilled water can be higher compared to using tap or filtered water. From a practical standpoint, relying on distilled water for daily hydration can be less convenient and more costly, both financially and environmentally.
Can Distilled Water be Made Potable?
An intriguing question you might wonder about is whether distilled water, already pure, can be made ‘potable’ in the sense of being more suitable for regular consumption.
Effort vs. Practicality
The process of remineralizing distilled water to add back essential minerals is both complex and somewhat counterintuitive. Considering the effort and resources required to first distill and then enhance the water, it becomes a less practical choice for daily consumption.
A more efficient approach would be to take available water and make it safe through filtration and boiling. These methods can effectively remove harmful contaminants while retaining the beneficial minerals naturally present in the water. Such practices strike a balance between ensuring water safety and maintaining its nutritional value, making them a more practical solution for daily hydration needs.
Conclusion: Can you drink distilled water?
While you can drink distilled water, it’s essential to consider its lack of minerals, potential health risks, taste differences, and environmental impacts. It offers little to no benefits over types of water generally used for drinking. Distilled water has its uses but as far as drinking is concerned, it should only ever be considered an option if no other form of clean drinking water is available or there is no access to the different methods of disinfecting regular water.
Drinking distilled water out of curiosity or once in a blue moon won’t cause any issues. However, it will become dangerous if it completely replaces your water intake. Given the lengths you have to go to make distilled water, the answer to this question is a pretty straightforward NO!
The great thing about the times we live in is that technology has come so far that you can get the best drinking water in the comfort of your home without breaking the bank. A good quality water filtration system can remove potentially harmful contaminants and improve taste, whilst still leaving essential minerals and elements.