Most of us assume that whilst tap water is safe to drink, that bottled water, complete with it compliment of trace minerals is the healthier option. A recent study by the Oolong Tea Company found that this isn’t necessarily the case. No one in their right mind would consider gulping down a couple of pints of acidic water during the day, but a simple study of the labels of several brands of mineral water suggest that this is exactly what many of us are doing.
The level of acidity or alkalinity of a substance is measured by way of the pH scale. At one end of the spectrum we have pH 0. This is a highly acidic fluid and is typically associated with battery acid. At the other end of the spectrum we have a pH value of 14, which is the value given to intensely alkaline substance such as caustic soda.
The human body is mildly alkaline with a typical blood / saliva pH ranging from pH 7.3 to pH 7.45. There are of course exceptions. The gastric acid in the stomach is required to dissolve food and so is a potent acid with a pH level of pH 1.5 to pH 3.5. Our skin is designed to repel pathogens, and so has highly acidic pH of circa pH 4 to pH 5.5. That is why a high pH substance such as soap (pH 9- pH 10) causes a chemical reaction that cleans the skin.
Proponents of a healthy life style often cite a high alkaline diet of green vegetables and mildly alkaline water as being a powerful means of disease prevention, and will tend to avoid fizzy drinks (pH 2.5) and even rain water with a pH of pH 4.3 to pH5.6.
In their hunt for a healthy means of hydration, many people, at least those without a natural spring in their back garden, will seek out various brands of bottled mineral water, because bottled water is the healthier option. Or is it?
A quick trip to two local supermarkets revealed the following surprising differences between what, up until now we thought were essentially the same thing;
Tesco’s were selling their own brand of Ashbeck Mineral Water with a pH level of pH 6.2, whereas Morrisons were selling their York Vale water with a moderately alkaline pH of 7.7.
A quick test with our home PH kit confirmed these results.
Irrespective of health; our team of oolong tea enthusiasts agree that moderately alkaline mineral water, heated to 70 to 90 degrees tastes far better, when making alishan or li shan high mountain oolong teas, than mildly acidic water. For this reason alone we are converts to mildly alkaline water and any resultant health benefits will be a plus.