Distilled water is used a lot in electronics repair / cleaning applications so every so often this question comes up with employees in the shop. The answer is: drinking distilled water is safe as long as you get the minerals your body needs from other sources. The distillation process removes important minerals from the water so you’ll definitely need another source for those. Distilled water tastes mostly the same as “regular” water but some people find the lack of minerals to result in a more flat or bland taste.
Let’s look into the science and implications of drinking distilled water in this comprehensive guide.
How Is Distilled Water Made
Distilled water is the result of a process that involves boiling water and then condensing the steam back into a liquid. This process removes impurities and minerals from the water. While it’s commonly used in laboratories and for certain medical procedures, its consumption as drinking water has been a topic of debate.
What is Distilled Water?
Distilled water is the result of a purification process that removes contaminants, minerals, and nutrients. It is formed from the steam of boiling water, which leaves behind impurities. This process ensures that almost all impurities, including minerals, nutrients, and contaminants, are removed. The resulting water is in a “purer” state, making it different from other types of purified water. Distillation is an age-old method, and many seaside communities use distillation facilities to treat ocean water for drinking purposes.
The Science Behind Distilled Water
- Purity: Distillation effectively removes contaminants like bacteria, viruses, and chemicals, making the water exceptionally pure.
- Lack of Minerals: The distillation process also removes beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are naturally found in most drinking waters.
Benefits of Drinking Distilled Water
- Reduced Contaminants: For areas with questionable water quality, distilled water offers a safer alternative.
- Neutral Taste: Without minerals and impurities, distilled water has a neutral taste, which some people prefer.
The Health Implications
Drinking distilled water is not problematic for most people, especially those in developed countries who consume a varied diet. However, there are some considerations:
- Mineral Deficiency: Distilled water lacks essential minerals like magnesium and calcium. Drinking only distilled water could lead to an electrolyte imbalance and other health issues due to the absence of these minerals.
- Tooth Health: Distillation removes fluoride, which is often added to municipal water supplies to improve dental health. Thus, those who drink only distilled water might miss out on the dental benefits of fluoride.
- Body Cleansing: Some believe that because distilled water is pure, it can help cleanse the body. However, scientific data on this claim is limited.
- Disease Prevention: Distillation effectively removes waterborne pathogens, reducing the risk of waterborne diseases.
- Acidity: Distilled water can be more acidic than regular water, which might not be suitable for everyone.
The Taste of Distilled Water
One of the most notable characteristics of distilled water is its taste, or lack thereof. Because it lacks metals, minerals, and other inorganic compounds, some people describe distilled water as tasting “flat.” This absence of minerals and electrolytes gives it a unique taste profile compared to regular tap or mineral water.
Personal Experiences with Distilled Water I once relied on distilled water during a trip where tap water quality was questionable. While it provided peace of mind regarding contaminants, I did miss the natural taste of mineral water. It’s a trade-off between purity and taste, and the choice boils down to personal preference and need.
Distilled vs. Filtered Water
While distilled water is a form of purified water, it’s not the only one. Filtered water, for instance, is treated to remove impurities but might still retain some minerals. Both types have their pros and cons:
- Distilled Water: Offers high purity, lacks minerals, and might taste flat.
- Filtered Water: Retains some essential minerals, might have a better taste, and is generally considered healthier for regular consumption.
Common Uses of Distilled Water
Beyond drinking, distilled water has various applications due to its high purity:
- Medical Uses: Used in hospitals for sterilizing instruments and hand-washing.
- Laboratory Experiments: Its purity ensures that experiments aren’t contaminated by water impurities.
- Automobile Care: Used in vehicle cooling systems and lead batteries.
- Household Cleaning: Its lack of minerals prevents streaks and residues on surfaces.
While distilled water is undeniably pure, its regular consumption might not be for everyone. The lack of essential minerals can be a concern, especially if one’s diet doesn’t compensate for it. As with many health-related choices, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and consult with a healthcare professional if unsure.
Distilled water is safe to drink but it’s important get the minerals you would normally be getting in water from other sources in your diet. For those who prefer the taste and mineral content of regular water, filtered water might be a better daily choice. However, distilled water’s purity makes it invaluable for specific uses, from medical applications to household cleaning to use in things like water cooling for PCs.
Why is distilled water used in laboratories?
Due to its high purity, distilled water doesn’t interfere with chemical reactions or experiments.
Can distilled water help with detoxification?
While it’s pure, there’s no concrete evidence to suggest distilled water offers superior detoxification benefits over regular water.
Is distilled water recommended for babies?
It’s not recommended for regular consumption as babies need the minerals found in regular water for growth and development.
How does distilled water compare to purified water?
Both are free from contaminants, but purified water might still contain some minerals, depending on the purification method.
Can I cook with distilled water?
Yes, but it might alter the taste of foods that rely heavily on water, like soups or broths.
Is distilled water completely free of impurities?
While distillation removes most impurities, no purification method is 100% effective. However, distilled water is among the purest forms of water available.
Can I drink distilled water every day?
Distilled water is safe to drink regularly but it’s essential to ensure you’re getting necessary minerals from other dietary sources.
Why does distilled water taste flat?
The distillation process removes minerals and electrolytes that contribute to water’s taste.
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