Q: Is it true that bottled water contains significant amounts of calcium? I follow a vegan diet and am wondering whether drinking bottled rather than tap water will be a good way to boost my intake of this nutrient.

Water is the best drink for keeping us hydrated as it’s free from calories, fat, sugar and salt. But the quantity of minerals in water – bottled or from the tap – will depend on where the water was sourced and the type of rock it flowed over.

Some bottled waters are naturally higher in minerals, such as calcium or magnesium. But the same is true for tap water. ‘Hard’ water in the UK has higher levels of minerals than ‘soft’ (it’s the minerals in hard water that are responsible for the limescale build up in our kettles). As consumers, we aren’t usually aware how much calcium is in the water that’s delivered through our taps (this will also vary depending on where we live in the UK), so it’s impossible to know whether bottled water will be a better or worse source than a glass filled from the tap.

My advice, therefore, would be to rely on food for providing you with sufficient calcium to meet your daily requirement. Good vegan sources include fortified soya products,
green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts (especially almonds) and seeds.