Drinking water is healthy

Water is our most important food. It keeps your metabolism hydrated and helps regulate your body temperature. Drink tap water or bottled water – is it just a matter of taste or are there differences? What are the types of water? What do you need to know about it.

Is it enough to drink tap water?

“Yes, all you need is tap water,” says Harald Seitz of the Federal Nutrition Center (BZfE). “The tap water in Germany is of very good quality.” It is the best monitored food in this country. This is ensured by the Drinking Water Ordinance.

Stiftung Warentest also sees a clear advantage of tap water. In some cases, it even contains more minerals than mineral water.

So you can drink tap water without hesitation. “It’s a calorie-free thirst quencher, unrivaledly cheap and always fresh,” says Seitz. However, still water will not appeal to everyone. But there are many alternatives.

The best monitored food is tap water. Picture: Monique Wüstenhagen / dpa-tmn

What are the types of water?

Whether still or sparkling water, different types of water have to meet legal requirements.

Overview of the different markings:

  • Potable water – Tap water – in Germany, two-thirds comes from groundwater and one-third from surface water.
  • Mineral water comes from groundwater well protected against pollution. It must be bottled directly at the source, just like healing or spring water. Mineral water is the only officially recognized food in Germany. It is the subject of extensive research and inspection. The Mineral and Table Water Regulation (MTV) specifies exactly what constitutes natural mineral water and how it should be labeled and packaged.
  • healing water it is also subject to the Medicines Act. The benefit must be scientifically proven.
  • table water it can be a mixture of different types of water and other ingredients. Mixtures of drinking water, mineral water, natural brine, sea water and the addition of minerals and carbonic acid are allowed.

By the way: According to the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), the term sparkling water can only be used when mineral water is gushing from the spring under the natural pressure of carbonic acid. Still mineral water ”is a natural mineral water with a low content of carbonic acid.

How many types of mineral water are there in Germany?

According to the Association of German Mineral Springs (VDM), almost 200 German mineral springs offer more than 500 different mineral waters and 35 healing waters.

The Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety regularly publishes a list of over 800 natural mineral waters recognized in Germany. This also includes imported mineral waters which are recognized in Germany.

List of more than 800 types of mineral waters. Picture: Silke Heyer / dpa-tmn

What types of water are the most popular?

In total, companies sold around 13,088 million liters of water in 2020, according to an industry report by VDM. Medium sparkling water was the best seller. About 60 percent of all water sold was in PET bottles.

How much water should you drink per day?

Regular drinking protects the body against dehydration. According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), adults should drink at least 1.5 liters every day – preferably water.

The demand for water increases with:

  • very hot climate
  • very low outside temperatures
  • physically demanding work or sports
  • Illness with fever, vomiting or diarrhea.

Guidelines for the daily consumption of water:

How much water you should drink also depends on your age. Example: A 15-19 year old needs approximately 2,800 milliliters of water per day. About 1,530 milliliters come from drinks and about 920 milliliters from solid food.

Explanation: Oxidizing water is water that occurs during the physiological combustion of essential nutrients in cellular metabolism. This explains DGE.

By the way: If you are not a fan of tables, you can also determine your reference value using the online tool on the EFSA European Food Safety Authority website.

How do you recognize thirst?

If you are thirsty, it is too late. “Thirst is a signal and a sign of dehydration,” says dietitian Astrid Donalies of DGE.

The first signs of dehydration are:

  • tiredness
  • lack of concentration
  • limited physical capacity
  • Headache
  • confusion in the elderly
  • constipation

If you are only feeling a little thirsty, make sure you drink enough.

DGE recommends the following drinking habits:

  • Drink a glass of water throughout the day.
  • The best thirst quencher is mineral water, unsweetened herbal and fruit teas.
  • Mix the juice with the water. Spritzers with three parts water and one part juice are suitable as a healthy source of fluid.
  • Stimulants such as coffee or black tea should be drunk only in moderate amounts, about three to four cups a day.

By the way: “Too much fluid is not harmful to a healthy body,” says Dobalies. “Healthy people just excrete excess fluid through the kidneys.”

What does water do in the body?

More than half of the human body is made up of water. Water is therefore essential for humans, it plays a key role in the body. Its most important tasks according to BZfE:

  • When building material it is part of all body cells and fluids.
  • When solvent supports metabolic and transport processes.
  • When reaction partner takes part in biochemical reactions.
  • When cooling liquid helps to regulate body temperature.
The best thirst quenchers: water, tea and spritzers. Picture: Robert Günther / dpa-tmn

What nutrients in water are important?

The label tells you which nutrients and minerals the water you are buying contains. It says something like containing calcium.

Basically, we primarily absorb minerals from other foods, such as vegetables and fruits. According to the consumer center, you can quench your thirst with any water.

“Anyone who is intolerant to milk or dairy products, for example, or does not want to eat them, can improve their supply of this mineral with mineral water with lots of calcium,” says Seitz.

Tip: If you have high blood pressure or kidney disease, it’s better to avoid sodium-based mineral water. Instead, take water labeled “suitable for a low sodium diet.”

Athletes excrete many minerals. Therefore, according to the initiative “IN FORM – German initiative for healthy eating and more physical activity”, particularly large amounts are important to them:

  • Calcium: approximately 200 milligrams per liter
  • Magnesium: approximately 100 milligrams per liter
  • Sodium: 50 to 100 milligrams per liter minimum

Is water from plastic or glass bottles healthier?

According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, drinking from plastic bottles is not a health risk based on the current state of knowledge. The Consumer Advice Center advises against leaving PET bottles in the sun. Heat and UV radiation can release unwanted substances from the plastic.

Does drinking water help you lose weight?

In 2013, a research team from the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin conducted a comprehensive meta-study to see if drinking water could help with weight loss. To this end, researchers evaluated studies published in specialized journals that looked at the relationship between water and weight loss.

The analysis shows that whether increased water consumption also makes you leaner still needs to be scientifically proven. It’s likely that drinking water before a meal just fills you up faster.

Another hypothesis: drinking water increases energy consumption and increases basal metabolism. Basically, the secret to losing weight is very simple: “Only those who take in less calories than the body consumes lose weight,” says Astrid Donalies.

DGE recommends long-term weight loss, essentially based on a combination of dietary changes and increased exercise.

The World Health Organization recommends that adults up to 64 years of age should exercise at least 150 minutes a week – in such a way that the pulse clearly increases.

When we exercise, we sweat a lot of minerals. Picture: Christin Klose / dpa-tmn

In particular, it is about the following sports activities:

  • Ride a bike
  • Trip
  • Go for a walk
  • jogging or too
  • Dance

However, when losing weight, you should drink more than usual as your body also gets less water from solid foods. “You should be drinking at least two liters a day for weight loss,” says Donalies. And one thing is for sure: you save a lot of calories by drinking water instead of spritzers or lemonade.

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