The Overlooked Ingredient
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Water: The Overlooked Ingredient

Remember when there were just two kinds of coffee: regular and decaf? Now, we’re invited to savor the subtle distinctions between coffee grown in the Andes versus beans from Ethiopia. It’s the same with chocolate, olive oil, wine…even salt! Down the street from my house is a store devoted entirely to salt, with hundreds of types from around the world. And it’s not simply about finding your favorite: one is perfect for fish, another for tomatoes, a third ideal for sprinkling over fruit salad.

Despite all the minute attention being given to ingredients these days, the quality of the water we use in our food and beverages is all too often overlooked. True story: I attended a culinary seminar with a famous chef who refused to cook with iodized salt because the flavor of the iodine ruined the taste for him. To dramatize his point, he furnished all of us students with shot glasses of brines made with iodized and non-iodized salt — so that we could taste the difference for ourselves (or at least pretend we could). Unfortunately, they had used tap water to make the solutions. I don’t know if I would have been able to detect the iodine or not; all I could taste was chlorine!

More than a third of Americans (including me!) filter their drinking water using pitchers, faucet-mounted filters or other systems — and the better taste is a big reason why. Water filters do a great job of removing that stinky chlorine and making tap water taste sweeter and fresher.

Better-tasting water is the key to better-tasting coffee and tea. And don’t forget about the ice cubes — especially if you’re a cocktail connoisseur! Nothing mars the aroma of an expensive scotch or gin like a whiff of the swimming pool.

It’s not all about flavor, though. In addition to making water taste better, filters can also remove things we can’t taste but definitely don’t want, including heavy metals like mercury and cadmium and chemical residues such as atrazine and benzene.

Click here to see a comparison of various types and brands of water filters and what they remove.

Don’t let water be the overlooked ingredient in your kitchen! If you don’t have a filtered water dispenser built into your fridge, a water filter pitcher is a great way to keep chilled drinking water on hand. And a faucet-mounted filter system makes it super convenient to filter water that you’ll be using as an ingredient in foods and beverages.

This post was created as part of my collaboration with PUR. As always, all of the opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are my own. I am solely responsible for the content.


Monica Reinagel
Monica Reinagel is a licensed nutritionist, best-selling author, and creator of the popular Nutrition Diva podcast. Her "sane and scientific" and "foodie-friendly" advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR's Morning Edition, and in the nation's leading magazine, newspapers, and websites. Follow her blog at Nutrition Over Easy.