If you drink a lot of sparkling water, you probably know that it’s inherently on the acidic side of the pH scale. But pH balanced sparkling water does exist — in the form of alkaline sparkling water.
With carbonation for a refreshing fizz and alkalinity for potential health benefits (more research is needed), alkaline sparkling water may just be your next favorite beverage.
What is Alkaline Water?
Alkaline water has taken the beverage world by storm in recent years. The term “alkaline” simply means that it has a pH value greater than 7, the middle of the pH scale.
According to the EPA, the pH of tap water should fall somewhere between 6.5 and 8.5. However, most of our tap water in the United States is significantly more acidic — usually in the range of 4.3 to 5.3.
You might be wondering, “is alkaline the same as basic?” Alkaline and basic are not quite the same thing. You can do a bit of research if you’re curious, but for the sake of simplicity, you can think of them as the same when it comes to beverages. Other alkaline/basic beverages include milk, some water, some juices, and some teas.
Alkaline water also tastes a little different from regular water, with some describing the taste as ever so slightly sour or bitter. Interestingly, sparkling water also typically has a mild sour/bitter flavor as a result the carbonic acid it contains.
Benefits of Alkaline Water
Is alkaline water healthier than regular water? Well, the jury is still out. Experts are saying there isn’t enough evidence to support any health claims about alkaline water.
However, proponents say alkaline water’s higher pH level can help prevent diseases such as cancer or heart disease, improve metabolism, increase energy, improve digestion, and even slow aging. Additionally, studies suggest it may help slow bone loss.
However, experts say that more research is needed to validate all of those claims. Note that if you have kidney disease, alkaline water is not recommended. Otherwise, it should not pose serious health risks.
If you subscribe to the purported health benefits of alkaline water and also enjoy sparkling water, it makes sense to combine the two into one enjoyably fizzy beverage: alkaline sparkling water.
How Can Sparkling Water Be Alkaline?
Sparkling water typically has a pH of around 4.5, which is considered acidic. Acidity varies from one brand to another, but most generally fall within the same range.
Sparkling water nerds will know that carbonation inherently causes acidity. This is because when water is carbonated with CO2 (naturally or through a manufacturing process), some of the carbon dioxide gas dissolves into the water. This results in a small amount of carbonic acid — a harmless, but obviously acidic byproduct.
However, even with the presence of carbonic acid, sparkling water can be made alkaline with the addition of one simple ingredient: bicarbonate. And this is not some exotic additive. You may be familiar with it in the form of a common pantry staple: baking soda.
In small amounts, bicarbonate can be found in naturally occurring sparkling water. It may come in the form of potassium bicarbonate, magnesium bicarbonate, or calcium bicarbonate. Often, sparkling water manufacturers add a small amount of bicarbonate to their beverages to improve flavor.
Sparkling water that contains more bicarbonate will be more alkaline, meaning it can neutralize the acidity of the carbonic acid.
Naturally Occurring pH Balanced Sparkling Water
Interestingly, naturally occurring pH balanced sparkling water does exist. In fact, one brand of slightly alkaline water has received several international awards for taste from the Fine Water Society and the International Taste Institute.
Socosani Alkaline Sparkling Mineral Water sources its water from a volcano 20,000 feet up in the Peruvian Andes. With a pH of 7.4, The brand boasts of high mineral content, “unparalleled taste,” and champagne style bubbles similar to those found in Topo Chico (one of the most effervescent brands).
And here’s the thing: It’s not just some snooty water sommelier saying it’s good. Our team likes it, and people are raving about it. Read the reviews on Amazon and see for yourself.
How to Make it at Home
Naturally alkaline sparkling water is enticing, but if you’d prefer to make your own, you do have options.
You’ll need a home carbonation machine like a SodaStream or similar device. These appliances are simple, affordable, and easy to use. With a few pumps of CO2, you’ll have fresh sparkling water on demand.
You’ll also need a product to add alkalinity, and there are several great options available. For the price and simplicity, we like Alkazone, a small bottle with a dropper that can instantly increase the pH of your sparkling water with a few drops. It’s odorless, flavorless, and colorless, so you won’t have to sacrifice the taste of your sparkling water.
To ensure you reach the alkalinity you desire, consider picking up some pH test strips as well.