LOCATED:Between the Goldfields and Melbourne.
PRINCIPAL TOWNS Kyneton, Seymour, Daylesford, Kilmore, Woodend, Bacchus Marsh.
PRINCIPAL PRODUCE: Apples and pears, berries, eels, wine grapes, olive oil, lavender.
Flowing on from the Goldfields, the spa country offers a change of pace, a healthy reminder that too much of a good thing is, well, in this case anyway, just what the doctor ordered.
While the health-giving properties of the waters from the natural springs in this region have been highly regarded for many years, today's visitors use them as an adjunct not a cure. Signs everywhere direct visitors to springs where crystal-clear water sparkles up from the earth, and you are advised to come armed with bottles and flasks to fill.
Come too with a good appetite as the region also produces some great food, and the superb local restaurants know just what to do with it. Take the waters, but sample the food too.
Spring water, as distinct from artesian or bore water, comes originally from the atmosphere and falls to the earth as snow or rain. In many cases it then seeps far underground, often travelling many kilometres as it soaks down. When it later bubbles out again, it is both purified and impregnated with minerals from the soil and rocks through which it passes.
What Is the nutritional value of the different minerals?
Calcium is essential for blood coagulation, muscle contraction and relaxation and the transmission of nerve impulses. Lack of calcium can cause rickets and osteoporosis among other conditions.
Magnesium is involved with the synthesis of protein, fats, complex carbohydrates and nucleic acid. It is vital for the correct transmission of nerve impulses and muscle health. While there is conflicting evidence, many believe that it is also particularly important to the health of the heart muscle and in the treatment of heart arrhythmias and blood pressure.
Potassium is related to sodium in its work in the body, and they are both vital for health in that they assist in maintaining an acid/base balance, regulate fluid balance, blood volume and pressure, and control muscle contraction and relaxation. A good ratio of both minerals is found in most naturally occurring foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals, nuts and seeds.
Unless the mineral water has been sweetened, there are no kilojoules, making it an ideal drink for those watching their weight. Perhaps the greatest factor to consider with mineral water, especially for those on a restricted-sodium diet, is its sodium level, which may be up to double that of household tap water.
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