Hard water has some fantastic health
benefits that seem to encourage longer life expectancy and improved
health. In this article we’ll discover why this is so and what areas of
the world have some of the longest life expectancy.
episode of Oprah recently looked at some of the so-called blue-zones
around the world. These are places in the world where people live the
longest and are the healthiest anywhere on earth. If we can take some
of what they do and make those healthy moves a consistent part of our
own lives, perhaps we could live a little longer (and be healthier in
our old age) as well.
The first stop was the Nicoya Peninsula in
the rain forest of Costa Rica. There are lots of very healthy
centenarians there, possibly because of the excellent hard water, which
is full of calcium and magnesium, keeping their bones and muscles
strong throughout their lives.
A lot of physical labor still goes
into food production there, from clearing fields to raise crops to
picking fruit and grinding corn for tortillas, which is a great
upper-body workout. In fact, people who live in this region have some
of the best physical stamina in the world because they are always on
the move. People eat lots of corn, beans and squash, and there is fresh
fruit almost year-round.
Another important piece of the longevity
puzzle in Costa Rica and elsewhere is a sense of community and family
ties. Older people live with their younger relatives, and those
connections help keep people feeling young and in touch with their
The World Health Organization says, "There does not
appear to be any convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse
health effects in humans."
Some studies have shown a weak inverse
relationship between water hardness and cardiovascular disease in men,
up to a level of 170 mg calcium carbonate per liter of water. So again
a small amount of these calcium and magnesium minerals can actually be
helpful for improved life expectancy. Other studies have shown weak
correlations between cardiovascular health and water hardness. The
World Health Organization has reviewed the evidence and concluded the
data were inadequate to allow for a recommendation for a level of
In a review by Frantisek Kozisek, M.D., Ph.D. National
Institute of Public Health, Czech Republic he gives a good overview of
the topic, and unlike the WHO, sets some recommendations for the
maximum and minimum levels of calcium (40-80 mg/L) and magnesium (20-30
mg/L) in drinking water, and a total hardness expressed as the sum of
the calcium and magnesium concentrations of 2-4 mmol/L.
water is not a health hazard. In fact, the National Research Council
states that hard drinking water generally contributes a small amount
toward total calcium and magnesium human dietary needs. They further
state that in some instances, where dissolved calcium and magnesium are
very high, water could be a major contributor of calcium and magnesium
to the diet.
So although hard water can cause those annoying hard water stains
around the home we all know about, the minerals contained in it may
also be helpful to build strong bones and may improve cardiovascular