Evidence suggests that 76% of people older than 2 years old drink some plain water every day.  And while drinking tap water accounts for two thirds of total plain water consumption, knowing how to choose bottled water is still important!
Nowadays, you can find many different types and brands of bottled water. This option is very convenient when you’re on the go, traveling, or seeking quick hydration to satisfy your thirst. And often the decision which bottle for water to buy is spontaneous or based on favourite brand.
That being said, people almost never check the characteristics of their water or its content (unlike other beverages like soda, iced tea, coffee, etc.)
But did you know that you can actually choose the best type of water that suits your needs?
This guide will help you to identify 4 important factors to look at when choosing water: mineralization, PH, sodium content, and packaging!
Keep in mind that there is no “bad” water. It may simply have different characteristics and properties. To choose the best option for you, you have to read the label on the bottle.
According to the World Health Organization, drinking water should have low mineral content to be suitable for long-term consumption (<50 mg/liter). 
Common minerals present in bottled water are calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, sodium, bicarbonate, and fluoride. These minerals are key for proper body functions and it is essential to supply them with foods and drinks. However, continuous overconsumption of water with high mineralization may pose risks of mineral toxicity. 
If you are already diagnosed with any mineral toxicity, deficiency, or health condition, consult your healthcare provider about the mineralization levels of your drinking water.
The label of every water bottle shows its total mineralization:
- Low mineralization- <50 mg/liter
- High mineralization- >1500 mg/liter
Acidity is a key factor to measure the quality of your bottled water.
According to the USGS, the optimal water acidity is 7, which means the water is neutral.  As the scale goes from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline), the highest quality water stands in the middle.
Even though the acidity of bottled water is a controlled marker, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene found out that the pH of popular bottled water brands varies between 5.16 and 10.38.  Taking that into account, the critical caries pH is 5.5, most of the water brands participating in the study displayed unrealistic pH number on their labels. 
The sodium content is associated with the degree of mineralization. However, it deserves a separate section in this article as this mineral has a direct impact on our blood pressure levels, water retention mechanism and overall health.
That being said, the average American consumes more than 3.400 mg of sodium (or salt) while the maximum daily recommended allowance is 2.300 mg. 
Therefore, it is generally recommended to drink bottled water with minimal sodium content (<20mg/liter) if you manage to supply your body with enough sodium with food. 
Two groups of people have to pay particular attention to the amounts of sodium in their water:
- Kids, people who suffer from hypertension, kidney disease, edema (fluid retention) or are predisposed to heart disease and stroke should drink water with minimal sodium content. 
- For the athletes and people who are very physically active, water with moderate sodium content can be a good choice to recover electrolyte balance after intensive workout. Yet, long-term regular consumption of such water is not recommended.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in the production of plastic bottles (including disposable water bottles,) which is slowly released into the liquid contents of these bottles. In fact, a study conducted by the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention, found BPA particles in 93% of the tested urine samples (2.517 in total), which means that people ingest BPA particles with their beverages. 
What you may not know is that continuous intake of BPA may be associated with endocrine health issues like metabolic disorders and infertility. 
You can avoid BPA in disposable plastic bottles by looking at the bottom of the bottle. There you’ll find a recycling sign (in triangle shape) with a number. Recycling number 7 means that the plastic bottle may contain BPA. 
Good to know
Proper and sufficient hydration is essential for proper body functions and overall health. Drinking about 8 glasses of water is considered to be the optimal hydration target for adults. Apart from that, the body supplies itself with additional water through vegetables, fruits, and other foods with water content.
Substituting water with soda, juice, or other sweetened beverages is not recommended, as they can significantly raise your daily calorie intake and cause sharp spikes in your blood sugar levels.