There is no shortage of hydration choices.
The modern consumer can choose between distilled water, spring water, sparkling water, infused water, flavored water. There is even water enriched with electrolytes.
And it does not stop there. Think for a moment of the veritable ocean of drinks available in grocery and convenience stores – energy drinks, juices, teas and sodas.
Best thing to do? Stop thinking about it all.
“The best selection, without a doubt, is just old water, whether it comes out of a tap or is filtered,” said Caren Dobreff, registered dietitian and nutritionist with Spectrum Health. “The main requirement is knowing that the water you drink is clean, safe and free of contaminants.”
Women need about eight to 10 cups of hydration per day, and men need about 10 to 12 cups.
And it doesn’t pay to skimp.
Beyond maintaining a good balance of body fluids, water supports a host of bodily functions – maintaining temperature, providing an oxygen delivery system throughout the body, a cushion to protect organs vital. It also protects the skin from dryness and cracking, which prevents other problems.
You need to do everything you can to make sure you’re drinking an adequate amount of water each day, Dobreff said.
Keep a bottle at your desk. Carry a water bottle in your backpack or briefcase.
A simple axiom to remember: “Water contributes to health,” said Dobreff. “Keep it natural. Keep it simple. Our bodies are designed to function best when we are well hydrated. “
Certainly not all drinks without water are prohibited.
Many drinks contain water, which can provide some hydration.
“If anyone has a glass of tea or juice, obviously there will be water in those drinks,” Dobreff said. “Plus, the average American gets 20% of the hydration they need from sources other than drinks, such as watery fruits, soups, broths, and foods boiled in water.”
In terms of bottled water, however, it doesn’t matter if you drink distilled or spring, Dobreff said.
Spring water is classified by its origin. It is derived from an aquifer, an underground rock formation where water rises to the surface.
Spring water undergoes treatment to remove possible bacteria and contaminants and usually contains an amount regulated by the FDA total dissolved solids.
Distilled water is purified through a distillation process, Dobreff said. It often comes from municipal sources. It turns into vapor, leaving behind minerals and contaminants. The vapors are then condensed back into the water.
Distilled water may be a better choice for people who prefer plain tasting water or for those who have a medical condition that may require them to limit the intake of a particular mineral.
For most people, however, the differences between spring water and distilled water may be irrelevant.
But when it comes to prices, it’s a leap ahead of tap water to virtually any other type.
“When comparing the cost of bottled water versus tap water, tap water is much cheaper and weighs less on the production of glass and plastic bottles,” said Dobreff. “Statistics of International Bottled Water Association show that Americans consumed 11.7 billion gallons of bottled water per year, or 36.5 gallons per person. “
According to the International Bottled Water Association, the average cost per gallon of bottled water – excluding imported or sparkling water – is $ 1.21.
It might not sound expensive – until you compare it to tap water, which costs an average of $ 2 per 1,000 gallons, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Bottom line: Bottled water is over 600 times more expensive than tap water. (Some even felt that 2000 times the cost.)
In addition, plastic bottles can pose a danger to the environment.
“At Spectrum Health, we are working to reduce the impact of environmental damage by reducing the amount of bottled water and encouraging an environment that supports sustainable and available drinking water,” said Dobreff.
Know what you drink
Most carbonated or improved water drinks come with added ingredients and carry certain risks.
Improved carbonated water may be acceptable on occasion, but some brands include a citrus flavor that can raise the acid level and wear down your tooth enamel.
As a general rule, says Dobreff, any drink with added sugars should be avoided.
These drinks can add water to your diet, but it comes at a cost. It increases the risk of cavities, especially in children, and may contribute to weight gain in children and adults. This, of course, can lead to diseases such as diabetes.
Drinks containing artificial ingredients and colors should also be avoided as they may contain harmful properties.
“Because coffee and alcohol contribute to water loss and cause various other problems when consumed in excess, they should be consumed in moderation and with food,” Dobreff said. “Having an extra glass of plain water is also not a bad idea to replenish any loss.