When the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is important whether you’re playing sports, traveling or just sitting in the sun. But, did you know hydration is critical for your heart health? Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently. If you’re well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.
Ask a group of experts how much water you should drink, and chances are you’ll get a different answer from each one. Some health and fitness pro’s stick to the 8 x 8 rule of eight 8-oz. glasses of water daily for optimal digestion and weight management. Others debunk that as a myth, suggesting instead you’ll find the answer in your toilet—if your urine is nearly clear, you’re drinking the right amount. If you need to step up your consumption, you’re in luck, because there are countless options to choose from.
The new wave of varietal waters, says dietitian Megan McGill is in response to people drinking more water than ever before. “Water is water—it sounds healthy!” she said. But, for people who cannot warm up to drinking plain water, the new plethora of water alternatives is appealing. “Even though they are not water, per se, they are far healthier than soft drinks, juices or shakes,” said McGill.
Whether you opt for a varietal or just plain water, they all share a common goal—keeping your body hydrated, and that’s important.
Coconut Water is high in potassium, lower in sugar and sodium than sports drinks. Calories from sugar still add up, so to reap its benefits, you must drink a lot.
Maple Water is anti-inflammatory, improves muscle function, aids in blood sugar control, antioxidant, anti-cancer compounds, enhances absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium.
Chlorophyll claims to be calorie, preservative and gluten free, while containing antioxidants, and is also said to promote weight loss. It is costlier than other ‘health’ waters, and not enough research exists to support its nutrition claims. Also, its use of the term ‘detox’ has marginalized its credibility among experts.
Sparkling Waters are a better option than soda, but flavored versions can contribute to erosion of tooth enamel due to acidic PH levels, especially when flavored with citric acid.
Vitamin Water contains vitamins and minerals designed to replenish the body with nutrients most people lack. However, it has 32 g of sugar per 20 oz. serving, which is nearly as much as a soft drink.
Purified Water has been filtered of toxins and microorganisms through distillation or reverse osmosis, making it superior to tap water and some bottled waters that contain chemicals, heavy metals or potential allergens.
Flavored Water can be a good option in place of other flavored drinks, depending upon what it’s flavored with—chemicals, extra sodium or artificial flavors. Sweeteners like aspartame can be harmful over time.