One of the popular myths about water softeners is that they remove minerals and nutrients which are essential for our bodies; however, that is not the case at all. So, let's answer the popular question - "does a water softener remove important minerals?"
Water Softeners Do Not Remove Important Minerals & Nutrients
More than 85 percent of homes in the United States have hard water, which mostly consists of calcium and magnesium. As water courses through weathered rocks, the ground, and into our waterways, it acquires minerals which make it “hard.”
On the other hand, soft water has low levels of hardness minerals through natural means or due treatment at a municipal water plant or home water softening system. The hard water is softened by exchanging calcium and magnesium for sodium.
What About Our Body’s Need for Calcium & Magnesium?
Both of these elements are important for optimal health. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, while low levels of magnesium in your body can result in poor sleep, muscles cramps, and even chronic pain.
However, food is our main source of consuming calcium and magnesium. Dairy products - which are the richest source of calcium - account for over 50 percent of the total calcium in many diets. Magnesium can also be found in dairy products, as well as fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts.
It is imperative to understand that calcium and magnesium found in hard water cannot be properly digested. Hence, removal of magnesium and calcium does not hinder your proper intake of these minerals. So, if you are attempting to add more calcium and magnesium to your diet, drinking hard water is not the solution.
Wouldn’t Soft Water Add Sodium to My Diet?
Not really. While sodium replaces calcium and magnesium during the “softening process,” there is actually a small amount of it in softened water.
The truth is less than three percent of your daily sodium intake derives from drinking or cooking with softened water. In order to equal as much sodium found in a single slice of white bread, you would have to consume at least six to eight glasses of soft water. But if you are currently on a sodium-restricted diet or have questions about the intake of sodium, you must consult with your doctor before installing a water softener in your home.
Hard Water vs Soft Water Mineral Buildup
When you have hard water, one of the largest issues is scale and mineral buildup. Water softeners can help with this problem in a few ways. Not only will scale and mineral buildup be easier to clean on surfaces but also softeners assist with scale in the pipes. It's important to understand that the water softener itself isn’t working to remove the mineral deposits, but the water flowing through your pipes now can. Future buildups can also be prevented with a quality water softener.