How Healthy is Nutrient-enriched Water?

Vitamins and minerals aren’t the only things added to nutrient-enriched water. Here's what to watch out for

Credit: Coach O

Some flavoured waters contain as much sugar as a can of cola

Everyone knows it’s important to get the recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals – and so do the major beverage manufacturers.

In fact, to tap into today’s increasingly health-conscious consumer market, companies have developed a wide range of nutrient-enhanced waters, but just how reliable a source of goodness are these drinks?

What’s Really in Nutrient-enhanced Water?

The new nutrient-enhanced waters contain a range of vitamins and minerals – from B-complex vitamins to zinc – in percentages that range from 10% to 250% of Health Canada’s recommended daily allowances.

However, nutrients aren’t the only thing added to these products. Some enhanced waters contain herbal ingredients and electrolytes; others contain artificial sweeteners and caffeine.

Certain brands even contain almost the same amount of sugar as a can of cola. The products are also not recommended for children under the age of 18, although few include caution statements on the label.

Best Source of Vitamins and Minerals

Health professionals agree that the best source of vitamins and minerals is a balanced diet that’s high in vegetables, fruit, fish, lean meat, whole grains and fibre, and low in fat, red meat and salt.

If you’re concerned about your nutrition, make a complete daily multivitamin part of your diet (ideally taken in the morning within half an hour of eating). It’s a much more effective way to meet your nutrient needs on days when your diet might not be optimal.

If the main appeal of nutrient-enhanced water is the taste, try flavouring fresh water by adding a splash of 100% fruit juice or some freshly squeezed lemon, lime or grapefruit juice.

Of course there’s always good old-fashioned fresh water, just the way nature intended.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.