If you are considering installing a water softener into your home, then you need to learn everything you would need to know about taking this step. With anything, there are pros and cons to consuming softened water, and there are also aspects of health that need to be considered before making your decision. What is great is that some of the best water softeners out there utilize their systems to make softened water good for you. There are also so many benefits of softened water, outside of just drinking, so keep reading to find out all you need to know about drinking soft water – the health effects.
Drinking Soft Water – The Health Effects: What is softened water?
Essentially, softened water is water that has been stripped of its minerals, through the sodium enriched process of ion-exchange. The sodium serves as a softening agent, as it removes the resin in water that will typically hold on to unwanted minerals. In theory, it switches out calcium and magnesium for sodium. Softened water contains salt, the amount; however, varies depending on where you live and how hard your water is before being softened.
The harder the water, the more salt is needed to soften it. Typically, softened water feels more slippery than usual water, as well as lacking a residue or chalky deposits. It is very possible for your sodium intake to increase if you become a frequent drinker of softened water.
How much sodium is in soft water?
As stated above, the level of sodium added to the water depends on how hard the original water source is. Typically areas in the Midwest and southwest have harder water. But what makes water hard? This would be the level of calcium and magnesium that’s present, therefore the areas that have hard water also have higher levels of those two minerals.
If you average out the numbers across the country, the average American with a water softener (taking into consideration that he/she meets the daily water requirement) would consume about 240mg of sodium added each day from drinking water. Even more so, in these harder water areas, one 250ml glass of water would be about 1% of your recommended sodium intake.
Hard water vs. Soft Water
You’re probably wondering, “okay, so what is the difference?” Although hard water is full of minerals like calcium and magnesium, it is a very healthy form of water. You still need to have amounts of calcium and magnesium in your daily diet, so drinking hard water helps you fulfill those nutritional requirements. Hard water does come with many undesirable side effects, outside of drinking. For example, chalky residue, soaps without suds, dry skin and hair, the appearance of limescale, and even a shorter life span of pipes and plumbing. Adding a water softener aims to eliminate all of the negative aspects of hard water.
Drawbacks of Soft Water
As we have covered, soft water eliminated many beneficial minerals that are typically in hard water. Minerals are very crucial to our health, but the good news is that we can seek them elsewhere in our diet, so if you are planning to consume soft water, it is extremely necessary to make sure you are getting those nutrients elsewhere. For example, there are high levels of calcium in whole milk, broccoli, kale, and even tofu. Avocados and bananas are excellent sources of magnesium, and bananas are also a great source of potassium.
Another drawback is the added sodium. If you are on a low sodium diet and have health concerns such as heart disease, kidney disease, and high blood pressure, then switching to soft water is not a good idea. If you do not struggle with those health risks and will be searching to get your minerals elsewhere, then it is no threat to your health to drink soft water.
Benefits of Soft Water
When switching to a water softener, various benefits will make a big difference in your homes. Soft water is a much better lathering agent for soaps and shampoos, and it also does not leave laundry looking stiff. Your pipe health will improve exponentially with the addition of a water softener, as it will not leave a chalky residue on the inside. Your hair and skin feel as though they are rinsing cleaner and feel softer.
If you are someone who lives in areas where hard water is more prominent, then installing a water softener could be a great addition to your home. There are so many benefits that will make your home life seem easier and cleaner and could potentially save you money in the long run. Yes, there is an added amount of sodium in softened water, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is unhealthy or unsuitable for consumption.
As stated throughout the article, if you have health issues that require a low sodium diet, then switching to a water softener is not the best idea. Though softened water has more amounts of sodium, it does not pose a threat health-wise as long as you are consuming your minerals elsewhere. There are so many desirable benefits of a water softener, and we hope that this article helped you decide if a water softener is something for you!
Written by: Michaela Kayal