The health benefits of seltzer water and other forms of carbonated beverages are numerous, although it's not a miracle beverage. Choosing to drink carbonated water can help you cut down on soda intake while keeping you hydrated and filling you up. Mineral water in particular can be helpful because it often contains more minerals than regular water.
Carbonated water fills you up and helps you stay hydrated. Just be sure to avoid the carbonated drinks with added sugar so you don't negate the health benefits.
Sources of Carbonated Water
As you slowly twist the cork out of a champagne bottle, you can almost feel the pressure starting to shoot out. Do it correctly and no liquid spills, but if the champagne is shaken beforehand, it can come shooting out of the bottle in a rush of foam and bubbles. The same is true for a can of soda. Carbonation brings drinks to life.
On the other hand, if you leave your bottle of champagne or soda uncovered for too long, the number of bubbles will slowly dwindle and you'll be left with a flat, unexciting beverage.
Carbonated water is either natural or man-made. The bubbles are tiny pockets of carbon dioxide gas that rush up and out of the liquid, released into the air. Naturally carbonated spring water, when bottled, is sold as "sparkling water." Some sparkling wines (such as Champagne) and beer also naturally contain carbon dioxide.
Man-Made Carbonated Water
Man-made carbonated water is made by forcing carbon dioxide gas into the water using pressure. That's why sodas and sparkling waters are pressurized when you open them. You can even hear the gas escaping with a hissing sound when you open the bottle.
Taste of Carbonated Water
Many carbonated beverages include additional ingredients like artificial flavor, sugar and color. Carbonated water is mostly used as a base for other drinks. It isn't commonly enjoyed without these enhancements, but some prefer the distinct taste of plain carbonated water, and, for some, that taste is a main selling point. Carbon dioxide actually stimulates your taste buds, according to an article from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
There's a slightly bitter taste, which you might not notice until your drink goes flat. Carbonation not only gives life to a drink with the bubbles that dance around in your mouth when you take a sip, it adds character to the flavor. When the carbon dioxide escapes and the drink goes flat, you can usually tell the difference.
Acidity of Carbonated Beverages
Acids and bases are measured on a sliding scale from 0 to 14 which you know as pH. Seven is a neutral pH, meaning a substance is neither acidic or basic. The more acidic something is, the closer it gets to 0 on the pH scale. Acidic substances can eat away at tooth enamel, which acts as a protective layer for your teeth, and may increase your risk of dental issues such cavities.
Carbonated water is slightly more acidic than regular water. Cold club soda has a pH of around 3.69, according to an article from McGill Office for Science and Society. Interestingly, warm club soda has a slightly higher pH of 4.4. That's a fairly low pH, but noncarbonated drinks can be even lower. Gatorade, for example, has a pH of roughly 3.
Acidic Drinks and Tooth Decay
An acidic pH raises concerns about carbonated water, but thankfully, those concerns have been put to rest. The direct evidence that carbonated water eats away at your teeth is lacking, according to an article from UCLA Health. As long as you don't drink excessive amounts, your teeth are safe.
Bone health is another area of concern for carbonated water purists for the same reason that it might be dangerous for your teeth. Theoretically, drinking something with a low pH could interfere with calcium and make your bones more brittle. However, there's no evidence that drinking pure carbonated water can have this effect on bones.
Cutting Down on Unhealthy Beverages
Most of the problems associated with carbonated water come from the ingredients commonly added to it, including artificial sweeteners, flavoring, colors, fruit juice and sugar. Drinking soda, for example, can contribute to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
If you're struggling to quit drinking soda and other sparkling, sugary beverages, carbonated water can be extremely useful. A glass of carbonated water with natural flavoring like lime or lemon juice can help quench your thirst for a sweet soda. The benefit of carbonated water with lemon comes simply from giving up soda, not necessarily from the lemon itself.
Hydrating With Carbonated Water
Hydration, especially before or after physical activity, is important for your health. Even though you know that drinking water is good for you, the lack of taste might make it hard to drink enough to stay hydrated. Carbonated water can help give you a little flavor and bubbly kick that makes water more appetizing. Drinking carbonated water can help you stay hydrated, which is a real health benefit.
Sparkling Water Benefits
Naturally carbonated sparkling water contains minerals from the ground, including the carbon dioxide which makes it bubble. There are different types of mineral water, and some have more minerals than others.
Mineral water that contains calcium, may be better absorbed than the calcium found in milk, according to a 2016 study published in Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism. The same study also showed that different minerals have different benefits. Sulphate and magnesium may improve digestion, while mineral waters with high levels of sodium and magnesium may reduce the risk for heart disease in post-menopausal women.
Check the nutrition facts on your bottle of mineral water to see what minerals it contains. You can compare it to normal tap or bottled water, which has artificially added minerals.
Carbonated Water for Blood Pressure
There's nothing like a nice warm bath to make you relax. Now, imagine if your bath water was bubbling from carbonation. Believe it or not, taking a bath in carbonated water is an effective way to increase blood flow to your skin without taking a scalding-hot bath.
- Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism: Natural Mineral Waters: Chemical Characteristics and Health Effects
- Unesda: Drinkopaedia: Carbonated Drink
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Research Reveals How the Tongue Tastes Carbonation
- Gerolsteiner: Carbonic Acid
- The Diabetes Council: Carbonated Water: Is It a Good Drink for Diabetes?
- McGill Office for Science and Society: Is Carbonated Water Bad for Your Teeth?
- UCLA Health: Ask the Doctors – Is Sparkling Water Bad for Your Bones and Teeth?
- Harvard Health Publishing: Is Seltzer a Better Option Than Soda?
- AARP Healthy Living: Bad News for Diet Soda Lovers
- NISEB Journal: Post-Exercise Rehydration in Man: Comparison Between Water and Carbonated Drink
- Physiological Reports: Acute Vascular Effects of Carbonated Warm Water Lower Leg Immersion in Healthy Young Adults