Part 2 of a 2-Part Series
Last week, I wrote and posted a blog about how important water intake is for survival. This week, I further discuss the subject, which is extremely important to our very survival. If you don’t drink water, you become dehydrated. And your body cannot properly carry out normal functions. Dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired and unable to concentrate. Water is essential to good health.
- Scientific studies show that an adequate daily fluid amount for healthy adults is 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups for women.
- Not all fluid needs to come from water.
- About 20 percent of daily fluid is taken from the foods we eat and other thinks we drink.
The Fluid Facts
Although water shouldn’t be our only source of liquid, it should be the major one.
The beverages we consume should be high quality and healthful. Sugary drinks, sodas, and fruit juices with added sugar don’t cut it. Another no-no? Drinks made with artificial sweeteners.
Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity and weight-loss specialist at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital, states that artificial sweeteners are far more potent than table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
“Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes,” explains Dr. Ludwig.
Thus, people who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and unsweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatable. Use of artificial sweeteners may dull your taste for healthy, filling, and highly nutritious foods in favor of artificially flavored foods with less nutritional value.
Water Health Alternatives
So, what are some healthful alternatives to plain water? Something that is really popular and healthy is unsweetened coconut water. One cup of coconut water only has 46 calories and is a good source of several important minerals, vitamin C, protein and fiber. Coconut water also contains antioxidants.
Unsweetened herbal teas are also a great alternative. They can be served hot or cold and come in hundreds of flavor profiles. Fruit juices can be a good source of fluids, but because of the naturally occurring sugar in fruit juices, we should not rely solely on fruit juice as a replacement for good old H2O.
A great way to enjoy fruit juices is to mix them with unsweetened carbonated water to create your own natural and healthy sodas. A good ratio is one-part fruit juice to three-parts soda water. Add the fruit juice to the soda water, because the juice is heavier than the water.
I have found the easiest way to remember to drink all the water I should is to fill a half-gallon jar of water and do my best to empty it by the end of the day. I have to admit; plain water can be boring and unappealing. I am not fond of drinking plain water all the time and I am not usually very thirsty.
Infusions for Water Health
A great way to make plain water more interesting and palatable is to infuse it. Remember that half-gallon jug of water I fill every day? Well, I’ve been playing around with things to add to it to make the water more interesting. At first, I just added juice of a lemon or lime. Then I began experimenting with different fruits and herbs.
I cut up two or three strawberries and added them to the lemon water. Then I tried just fresh mint leaves in plain water. I have discovered that there are all kinds of things to add to water. And you don’t have to add much to change the flavor of your water. Just add a few sprigs of an herb or slices of fruit. Cucumbers, watermelon, fresh basil leaves, orange slices, and fresh rosemary all add flavor to the water. Thinly sliced fresh ginger adds a nice zing.
The list of potential herbs and fruits and their combinations is endless. The best part is the longer they sit in the water, the more flavorful the water becomes. All it takes is imagination and experimentation. And, if the result is not tasty, water a plant with it and start over.