Water that is drunk primarily to slake thirst may also supply major, and especially minor or trace elements, nutritionally essential to good health and longevity. Of the 14 trace elements known to be essential for human beings (Schwarz, 1974), apparently some are significantly more readily assimilated from water than from food.
Modern, municipal water-treatment plants condition water more for the sake of the steam boiler, laundry, and industry (the large volume users) than for the stomach. This paper considers water for drinking purposes from the perspective of health benefits. Means are explored by which healthful drinking water may be formulated.
The use of glacial milk, essentially an aqueous extract (solution and suspension) of rocks, by the natives of Hunza, West Pakistan, has been cited as a major factor contributing to purported excellent health and unusual longevity of those peoples. A suspension of rock flour can supply not only immediately assimilable substances in solution, but also continuous, delayed-action, mineral-nutrient reserves after ingestion.
Cooperative effort between geologists knowledgeable about water and nutritionists knowing the needs for optimum human health should upgrade the role of drinking water in human health and longevity.