Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Myth: Drinking water is the only way to stay hydrated.

Answer: BUSTED!

Water infused with fruit
Most of us have grown up hearing these messages: “Keep hydrated!” and “Drink eight glasses of water a day!” Recent data indicates a strong growth in sales of drinks at convenience stores. Many people are opting for sugary drinks like soda, fruit drinks or sports drinks as a means to stay hydrated. In fact, we actually get enough fluid from the foods we normally eat, especially when we eat more foods like fruits and vegetables, which are mostly water.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with drinking more water if you enjoy it, but do we need eight glasses of water each day? No. There’s no scientific basis for the “eight glasses” myth.

In order to stay hydrated, try eating more fruits and vegetables or stick with beverages that are good for you. Instead of reaching for the high calorie, high sugar drinks, try one of these healthy, flavorful options:
  • Infuse your water with fruit. Add chunks of strawberries, watermelon, slices of lemon or oranges and place in the refrigerator overnight. To make the flavors disperse throughout the water better, place fruits at the bottom of a pitcher and mash with a wooden spoon (this is called muddling), then add water. Try different combinations of fruit add-ins to water. You can also get a fruit-infusion pitcher, which allows you to keep the fruit separate from the water but allows the flavor to be released into the water. You can also add frozen fruits to your water.
  • Use tea as a base for the flavor in your water. There are many flavors of tea available. Green teas add a nice mild flavor to water. It also has antioxidants which may ward off chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. Fruit tea when combined with fresh or frozen fruits, give your water that zip that you may be looking for.
  • Sparkling water may be what makes your water drinking experience fun. You can add fruit chunks (fresh or frozen) to the bubbly too.
  • Pump up your ice cubes! Freeze fruit juice in ice cubes. Add to water to give your water a little splash of flavor.

For more information about water myths go to http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut293.htm

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933   

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