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Distillation is one of the oldest ways of purifying water and lately it’s been gaining popularity. Today you can find distilled water bottles in supermarkets, while many homes have a water distiller.
This bring us to the question:
What exactly is distilled water and is it good for you?
Let’s find out.
What’s Distilled Water?
If you’re familiar with the water cycle, you already have a good idea how distillation works, because distillation imitates the water cycle process.
Distillation works by changing water from liquid to vapor and back again to liquid. This happens by heating water constantly so that it converts to vapor, and then directing the vapor to a container where it condenses back to water.
Because most contaminants have high melting points compared to water, they aren’t able to join the water vapor and are instead left behind. The water loses minerals, chemicals and salts that it may have contained, becoming pure and clean in the process.
This purity makes distilled water perfect for various uses in the medical and industrial fields as well as for drinking.
Using a water distiller at home is an excellent way to get clean water, but if you don’t like the taste, you can always add some salts and minerals to the water to improve its taste.
Is Distilled Water Safe?
Distilling water is an effective way to remove most of the impurities in the water. These include:
- Pathogens like bacteria and viruses
- Heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury, copper and iron
- Minerals like magnesium and calcium
- Chlorine and chloramine
- Pesticides, herbicides and pharmaceuticals
- Bad odor and tastes
While distilling water gets rid of most of its contaminants, there are some impurities that have boiling points below water. These include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are typically found in water. This means that as the water is heated, the VOCs begin to boil and vaporize before the water does, thus contaminating the distilled water.
Is Distilled Water Good for You?
Distilled water is safe to drink but it has two major issues – its flat, unappealing taste and the lack of minerals within it. Distilled water tends to taste flat, with no flavor. Its lack of minerals and intense purification results in soft water that can be slightly salty and ‘boring’ to drink.
The main issue for most people with distilled water is its lack of minerals. Water in its natural form typically contains minerals that are good for health and provide balance. These include essential minerals like calcium and magnesium. When water is distilled, it rids itself of these minerals which are beneficial for the body. This won’t make you mineral deficient because there are other more meaningful ways of getting these minerals into your body, like from supplements and diet.
However, because distilled water doesn’t contain its own minerals, it may suck out some of these minerals from your body or from the containers that it’s in. This, however, is negligible and unlikely to pose a huge risk.
In general, distilled water has no significant effect on your health, as long as you supplement your mineral intake with a balanced diet.
Distilled Water vs. Purified Water
There’s some confusion between distilled water and purified water, but the most important thing to remember is that distilled water is purified water. So it’s much like the thumbs and fingers phenomenon – all distilled water is purified water but not all purified water is distilled water.
Purified water is water devoid of most or all contaminants, with less than 10 PPM contaminants. All types of water go through some purification process, whether naturally or artificially. There are many ways to purify water, including reverse osmosis systems, ion exchange, boiling, UV light and using disinfectants like chlorine and iodine.
Distillation is also one way of purifying water, but it purifies water without any additives. Because it contains no minerals, distillation is often the water of choice for vehicle batteries and irons, as it can’t clog up these devices.
Pros and Cons of Distilled Water
Naturally, distilled water has its pros and cons, and is neither all bad nor all good. Here’s what you need to know:
Distilled Water Pros
- If you live in an area where the water source is dubious, a water distiller can provide pure, contaminant free water
- Distilled iron is useful in the use of – steam irons, watering plants, lab experiments, vehicle batteries, certain medical devices
Distilled Water Cons
- Distilled water has a flat, unappealing taste
- It can make for flat tasting coffee and drinks
- It demineralizes the water, removing vital nutrients
- It can absorb minerals from containers and/or your body (including teeth) to balance its mineral levels
- It may not be completely contaminant free