Have you ever gone to a restaurant and seen sparkling water, or also known as carbonated water, on the menu? Sometimes it’s flavored, sometimes it’s not, but it’s always bubbly. It’s a welcome twist on what we all know as more boring tap water. It may not be as enjoyable as it’s addictive sugary siblings; however, it is a significantly more healthy alternative.
What Is Sparkling Water?
Sparkling water is just carbonated water and is known as a healthier alternative to sugary sodas. The water is carbonated by being pressurized and infused with carbon dioxide. This creates a bubbly effect. This is some of what makes it different than regular water.
Some sparkling water has salt or other minerals added to it for flavor. It’s often drunk on its own or used as a mixer with liquor. Also, some sparkling waters naturally have minerals in it from being captured through a natural spring. These can also be carbonated. Some sparkling water, like tonic water, may have sugar or high-fructose corn syrup added to it.
The Acidity of Sparkling Water
Another difference between regular water and sparkling water is that sparkling water is more acidic. The infusion of carbon dioxide into the water makes carbonated water more acidic. On the pH scale, it sits between three to four, which means that it is more acidic than regular water.
This technically does not negatively impact your body on its own because your kidneys and lungs work together to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide in your system. Together, they’re generally able to keep the pH level of your blood between 7.35 to 7.45.
Benefits of Sparkling Water
There are some well-documented findings in regards to how sparkling water benefits your digestive system as well. There have been numerous studies conducted on the impact carbonated beverages have on one’s ability to swallow. It’s been shown to improve swallowing abilities in adults of all ages by stimulating nerves that assist in the swallowing process. These improvements increase when the carbonated liquid is consumed cold.
Sparkling water has also been shown to benefit those who feel like they have to clear their throat often. Those who experienced the most severe of these symptoms benefitted the most.
Sparkling water has also been shown to increase fullness when eating. It’s able to do this by keeping food in the stomach for longer. It’s been shown to maintain fullness better than regular water as well.
Sparkling water can also help relieve constipation. The beverage has been found to benefit elderly people specifically. Average bowel movements almost doubled amongst those who drank carbonated water compared to those that drank tap water.
There are limited amounts of research showing carbonated water may improve heart health, as well by decreasing LDL levels (bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL cholesterol levels (good cholesterol). Drinking carbonated water has been shown to lower the chance of developing heart disease in the next ten years by 35% compared to those drinking tap or regular water. It also hydrates you the same as regular water, however regular water lacks these added benefits of sparkling water.
Is Sparkling Water Bad for You?
As of now, research has shown that there are virtually no health risks associated with sparkling water consumption. While there are carbonated beverages that can affect your dental health as well as increase the risk of developing other illnesses, carbonated water (on its own) has not been shown to be one of them.
Sparkling water is slightly acidic, on its own, it still doesn’t affect tooth health. Sugary sodas and other sugar-filled drinks tend to be the larger culprit. Sugary carbonated beverages specifically have been shown to deteriorate tooth enamel and cause cavities.
Unlike sugary sodas, sparkling water does not affect your bone health. The high amounts of phosphorous in sodas, coupled with a lack of calcium can result in deteriorating bone health. Women specifically are more susceptible to issues with bone density, and it has been shown that heavy consumption of soft drinks does have a connection with lower bone mineral density.
Also, sodium-rich sparkling water increases the retention of calcium which results in better bone density. In hens, it’s been shown to strengthen their leg bones after adding carbonated water to their diet for six weeks in comparison to those that drank tap water.
So, in some ways, your bone health can benefit from the consumption of certain sparkling waters.
The Verdict on Sparkling Water
Sparkling water is a healthier alternative to many other more common, significantly less healthy drinks. Not only does it benefit you in a wide variety of ways, but it also can be a healthy alternative for those combatting diabetes, certain heart problems, and even constipation.
If you’re trying to be more conscious of what you eat and drink, consider trying sparkling water the next time you’re thinking of ordering a Coke.