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Benefits of Using Filtered Water for Cooking

May 2024

What Are the Benefits of Filtered Water in Cooking?

Key Takeaways

  • Using filtered water for cooking has several benefits, including reduced exposure to chemicals and improved taste and flavor in the food.
  • Filtered water is helpful for baking since the chemicals and minerals in tap water can limit the effectiveness of yeast and impact baking times.
  • Unfiltered water can cause limescale and mineral build-up on appliances.
  • Since distilled water lacks beneficial minerals, reverse osmosis filters are best for cooking and health.

Most of us are familiar with the benefits of filtered drinking water. It has fewer chemicals, is less cloudy, and tastes better. You may have a refrigerator water filter or another home water filtration system, but what’s best for baking and cooking?

Although the benefits of filtered water in cooking aren’t as apparent as those for health, there are a few reasons to avoid using unfiltered tap water in the kitchen. Let’s look at five key benefits of cooking with filtered water and dishes that can benefit from a high-quality water filter system.

What Are the Benefits of Filtered Water in Cooking?

The main benefits of filtered water in cooking include better taste and healthier foods. Whether you cook every day or just once in a while, this small change can make a big difference to the quality of your dishes.

Here are five of the most important benefits of using filtered water in cooking:

1. Remove Contaminants

Depending on where you live, your tap water could be contaminated with heavy metals, polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS or “forever chemicals”), and disinfection byproducts. Using filtered water for cooking means that contaminants like chlorine and chloramine won’t end up in your food.

Even if water doesn’t contain harmful contaminants, it could still contain high levels of minerals and organic matter that affect its quality. These total dissolved solids (TDS) contribute to whether water is hard or soft, and using a water softener can improve the taste and appearance of hard water.

2. Improve Taste and Flavor

Whether you’re making soup or baking a cake, the quality of the water you use will impact how your food tastes. For example, if your tap water has a chlorinated or metallic taste, that flavor can come through in the taste of your food.

Your food may also look less colorful and vibrant because additives like chlorine can remove some of the color from your vegetables. If you use hard water, minerals like calcium and magnesium can affect the texture of your food and change how long it takes your water to boil.

3. Bake More Consistently

Recipes for bread and other baked goods can benefit from filtered tap water because they call for precise amounts of each ingredient. If your water contains high sodium or other dissolved minerals, it can throw off your recipe. Using filtered water allows you to achieve a more consistent outcome each time.

Plus, disinfectants like chlorine can inhibit yeast activity, meaning your bread may be less fluffy because it will not rise at the ideal rate.

4. Maintain Appliances

The benefits of using filtered water in cooking extend to your cookware and appliances. Filtered cooking water can make your kitchen easier to clean because you won’t have to deal with limescale and hard mineral buildup on appliances.

Aside from being unsightly, limescale can corrode electrical components and impact the performance of your appliances. With filtered water, your pots and pans, kettles, and cooking surfaces will be more hygienic and last longer since they won’t come into contact with as much sediment.

5. Ensure Health

Finally, using filtered water for cooking gives you more control over what goes into your body. If you’re concerned about PFAS in your drinking water, using a reverse osmosis filter will reduce your exposure to these forever chemicals. Likewise, washing your fruits and vegetables in filtered water helps avoid contamination with agricultural chemicals (pesticides) in the water supply.

People on a low-sodium diet may also need to monitor drinking water for sodium and avoid using water softeners that increase sodium

Home Cooking Methods Call for Filtered Water

Which Cooking Methods Call for Filtered Water?

Cooking with filtered water matters more for some recipes than others. Here are a few cooking methods that benefit most from filtered water:

  • Baking: Unfiltered water may contain chemicals that inhibit yeast activity, and a high mineral content can impact baking times and temperatures.
  • Boiling: Boiling unfiltered water concentrates contaminants, which can impact the flavor of the food and even its texture.
  • Fermenting: Whether you’re making pickles, kimchi, or sauerkraut, use filtered water to avoid killing off the healthy bacteria needed for fermentation.
  • Making coffee: Brew your coffee and tea with filtered water to avoid limescale buildup in your kettle and to make better-tasting drinks.
  • Brewing beer: Some minerals are necessary to give beer its taste — but you’ll want to start with filtered water and adjust the pH and mineral content later.

What Is the Best Water Filter to Use for Cooking?

Not all filtered water is the same. Different water filters remove different contaminants, affecting how the water tastes and how suitable it is for cooking. Here are five different types of water filters, including which ones to use and which ones to avoid:

  • Activated carbon filters: Activated carbon filters remove chlorine, pesticides, and some disinfection byproducts from the water treatment process. Install an under-sink or countertop model since pitchers don’t allow enough time to filter out unwanted contaminants thoroughly.
  • Reverse osmosis filters: Reverse osmosis filters use a membrane to filter out everything from heavy metals to forever chemicals. Reverse osmosis water is usually preferred for cooking, making coffee, and brewing beer.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) filters: Ultraviolet filters kill viruses and bacteria but don’t remove chemicals and minerals, making them less useful for cooking.
  • Distilled water filters: Although distilled water isn’t necessarily unhealthy, it isn’t great for cooking: it can absorb nutrients from your food and even strip minerals like aluminum and iron from your cookware!
  • Bottled water: While using bottled water for cooking may seem like a good idea, it’s more expensive than tap water and may have just as many contaminants. Even “purified water” may have more chemicals than tap water!

In short, the best type of water filter for cooking is a reverse osmosis filter, followed by activated carbon. Avoid using bottled water for cooking unless you have well water or your water supply is subject to a bottled water advisory.

Clean Water for Cooking Woman Cooks Pasta Noodles

Why Is It Important to Use Clean Water for Cooking?

Using unclean water for cooking can lead to food-borne illnesses and other health problems. Fortunately, tap water in the U.S. is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and most municipal water utilities do a good job of removing germs, viruses, and bacteria before they reach our faucets.

But they may leave behind other impurities that can affect the safety of your tap water, including some contaminants that may already be present in your diet. By using filtered water to cook, you can reduce your exposure to the following three contaminants at every stage of the cooking process:

Nitrates and Nitrites

Nitrates and nitrates are a significant health concern in areas with agricultural runoff since these chemicals can make their way into the water supply. At high doses, nitrates and nitrites can increase the risk of cancer and cause harm to developing babies.

Since nitrates are already present in processed meats and some leafy vegetables, use filtered water for cooking to avoid additional exposure through drinking water.

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals like lead and arsenic are a major health concern when they enter the water supply. Although many U.S. cities have removed lead and copper pipes, arsenic poisoning is still risky in some areas, especially those that rely on well water.

Some foods, like rice and fish, may already be high in arsenic, so you can reduce your exposure by using filtered tap water for cooking and hydration.

Forever Chemicals

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also called “forever chemicals,” are a group of industrial chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems. They’re found in food wrappers, nonstick cookware, and other consumer products.

Although some kinds of PFAS are being phased out, high levels of PFAS have been detected in the tap water in some parts of the country. Look for PFAS-free cookware and use filtered water for cooking to reduce your exposure to forever chemicals.

References content in the "Carcinogenicity" section.

Tap Water Is Safe for Cooking Family Drinks Water

Do You Know if Your Tap Water Is Safe for Cooking?

Some cities are known for having high-quality tap water, and others aren’t. The only way to tell if your tap water is suitable for cooking is to research or test your water. Start by checking your local water quality report to find out what contaminants are in your local water supply.

The EPA requires utilities to release a water quality report every year. This report will tell you which contaminants were detected and how they compare to EPA guidelines. You can also find out how hard your water is, its pH level, and other valuable details.

If you have well water or are concerned about lead pipes or plumbing, be sure to test your tap water directly so you can choose the best water solution for you.

Once you know what’s in your water, you can decide if you need an under-sink water filter, a refrigerator water filter, or a whole home reverse osmosis system.

The HomeWater 4-Stage Reverse Osmosis Under-Counter Water Filter is a fantastic choice. It offers high-capacity water output, automatic shut-off, and twist-off filters that are easy to change. Use it to remove lead, copper, nitrates, nitrites, and forever chemicals so you can enjoy all the benefits of filtered water in cooking!

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