The Surprising Health Benefits Of Hard Water

Cathal Walsh
Environmental Blogger
Thursday, 28th March 2019
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Tap with calcification on it


Depending on which country you live in and what region of said country you may live in, the water coming into your house may either be hard water or soft water. You may ask “ what’s the difference?” , well to put it simply, hard water is water that contained a high level of natural minerals dissolved in it. These minerals are mainly calcium and magnesium. In comparison soft water has low levels of dissolved minerals in it.  Hard water gets its “hardness” from when it percolates through deposits of limestone and chalk which are rich in both calcium and magnesium.

The disadvantages of hard water range from very apparent to hidden, it’s safe to say it is a much less convenient option than soft water. From the outset the most apparent difficulties with it are the inability to form lather with soap, with dishwashers, kettles and other water based appliances including pipes there is a good chance a good amount of “lime scale” will build up within the appliance causing damage or the need to be de-scaled. Lastly clothes will turn out a lot more grey and lose their colour with continued washes in hard water regions. 

Despite this though, hard water has been known to have several benefits to the health of the individual consuming it.
Hard water is very rich in magnesium. The diet of the 21st century adult has been shown to contain suboptimal levels of magnesium. Magnesium is very important and hard water could work to supplement the magnesium we consume in our diet.

100mg magnesium supplement was linked to an eight per cent reduction in the risk of stroke, specifically ischaemic strokes. This study took place in the US. Magnesium has also been shown  to have a similar effect on heart health , with a large decrease in cardiac deaths linked to areas which rely solely on hard water sources.

In a  study in Finland of over  19’000 males who had heart attacks, it was found that for every unit increase in the hard water they were drinking there was a 1 percent decrease in their chances of having a further heart attack.

Also in Taiwan studies suggest there was a significant protective effect of calcium intake from drinking water on the risk of gastric cancer. Magnesium also exerted a protective effect against gastric cancer.

So before you curse your luck about living in a hard water region, keep in mind that the inconvenience of having to replace your kettle every once in a while may be a decent trade-off for protection against a large number of ailments.


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