Water — it’s the tasteless, natural, solution to everything from weight loss to wrinkles, headaches, constipation, clear skin and fatigue.
But for many of us the mere thought of downing the recommended two to three litres a day has us heading for the nearest coffee machine.
If you’re not one of those in the habit of tucking a bottle of artisan water under your arm every time you leave the house, there are other ways to keep dehydration at bay, according to some of our leading health and nutrition experts.
Contrary to popular belief, all beverages contribute to your total daily fluid intake — be that coffee, tea, juices, broths, soups or low-fat milk, according to Remede naturopathic nutritionist Jan Purser.
“Surprisingly there are still many people out there who don’t drink an adequate amount of water or who simply don’t like the taste and are looking for other more palatable alternatives, ” Ms Purser says.
“Adding a dash of juice, a slice of lemon or lime or a sprig of mint or cucumber can improve the taste of water for people who are seeking hydration but who simply don’t like the taste of tap water, ” Ms Purser says.
“Mineral and soda water with a low sodium content, herbal teas and even tea and coffee in moderate amounts all contribute to your total fluid intake.”
Ms Purser says although water intake depends on body size and energy output, two to three litres of water per day is commonly suggested as the ideal level for optimal hydration.
Nutrition Works sports dietitian Emily Eaton suggests eating fruits and vegetables with a high water content to boost your overall fluid intake, or supplementing water intake with soups, broths and low-fat milk, which is made up predominantly of water.
Ms Eaton says that for those of us who don’t manage to drink the recommended amount of water, snacking on water-rich fruits such as melons, oranges, peaches, blueberries and pineapples and vegetables such as celery, cucumber, lettuce, broccoli, tomato and spinach can provide the body with supplementary fluid, with the added bonus of delivering extra minerals, antioxidants and fibre.
She says unless you’re doing 90 or more minutes of vigorous exercise, there is no real need for calorie-laden sports drinks, even after a particularly intense game of soccer or football.
“Soft drinks and energy drinks really have no place in a healthy diet and juices should be viewed as an occasional treat again because of their high sugar content, and they’re often stripped of their beneficial fibre during the extraction process, ” Ms Eaton says.
She says diet soft drinks, which many see as a healthier alternative to calorie-laden soft drinks, are often full of additives and can wreak havoc on the teeth if consumed on a regular basis without adding any nutritional value.
Did you know:
There are 16 teaspoons of sugar in a 600ml bottle of soft drink, nine in the same size sport drink and seven teaspoons in a 250ml energy drink? A soft drink per day can add up to 6.5kg of weight gain in one year. And if you drink a 600ml bottle of fruit drink per day you’re consuming a whopping 23kg of sugar a year.
Thirsty for more
Top up your water intake without reaching for the tap.
1. Up your intake of water-rich fruit and vegetables such as melons, oranges, pineapple, celery, cucumber, broccoli and spinach.
2. Boost your fluid intake with soups and broths in winter and tasty salads in summer — lettuce has one of the highest water contents of all fruit and vegetables.
3. Low-fat milk and yoghurt both contain high levels of water and are a nutritious way of adding more water to your diet.
4. Sip herbal teas daily to boost fluid levels with a side of antioxidants.
5. Moderate tea and coffee consumption can boost your fluid level but beware of their diuretic effect when consumed in excess.
6. For those partaking in vigorous prolonged exercise, go for low-sugar sports drinks with a low-carbohydrate content to replace electrolytes and rehydrate.
7. Avoid diet drinks, soft drinks, energy drinks, cordials, vitamin water, fruit juice and some sports drinks as they are often laden with calories and additives.
© The West Australian
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