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Drink with the Living: How to Transform Your Water

Fast Facts and Opinions on different ways to drink water during the heat of summer.

Right now, Oregon is having a brief cool period before the heat comes back.  When it’s hot outside, people should be drinking more fluids.  To clarify, I mean things like water, and not beer.  While drinking a cold beer on a warm day is nice, it will not hydrate you as much as a glass of water.  Alcohol is a diuretic, which means you can lose more water (via pee) than you consume.  Not to mention there are several other negative health effects that alcohol has, but that’s not the main focus of today’s post.

What I am going to be talking about is ways to drink more water during the summer.  Now, my suggestions assume that you have access to safe and clean water, ingredients to add to the water, and any other things you might need, so this is not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal.

Plain water:  This is the classic version.  This kind of water has the benefit of being calorie free, sugar free, caffeine free, and mostly anything else that could possibly negatively impact your health.  However, this version is also highly subject to other conditions such as water additives, pipe conditions, if it’s stored in the fridge (any other fragrant foods, such as garlic, can impact the taste), or anything else that can make the water taste off.  You can try to use a water filter, but this can be costly, and can take up valuable refrigerator space when compared to drinking straight from the tap.

Bottled water is available, but can also take up space, depending on how many you buy at a time.  I personally just use tap water, let it run until it’s cold, then add ice.

Flavored water:  I count this as something different than infused water (which I will talk about below) or sodas.  These are waters that usually have flavoring agents added, be they natural or artificial.  I haven’t seen anything really for or against using flavored water in place of plain water.  Check the label of these water flavoring agents, as they might have salt (aka sodium), artificial sweeteners (there’s not been much conclusive evidence for or against these from my research), or any other additive that you as the consumer might be against.

Infused water:  This is a category of water that uses fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, and/or herbs to flavor the water.  What’s nice about infused water is that it is very customize-able, and there are plenty of recipes out there, especially on Pinterest.  The issues are that this takes space and time in the refrigerator to allow the ingredients to infuse into the water.  Another possible setback is the quality of the product if you are unsure of how to prepare it, or are unsure of the proportions.  There is also food waste if you chose not to eat what you put into the water.

Coffee/Tea:  Wait, doesn’t caffeine dehydrate you?  Well, yes and no.  Yes, caffeine can cause several issues, such as anxiety and cardiovascular issues, and can be a diuretic.  However, when consumed normally, your body compensates for this, and it is not as affected.  My preference is to coffee black, and tea without cream and sugar.  This reduces the Calories down significantly, but can have an off-putting taste for some.

How do you beat the heat during the summer?  Do you drink anything special to help cool down?  Feel free to comment below.

By The Nutrition Punk

I am a dietitian living in Portland, Oregon. I write about a variety of nutrition and heath topics, with the goal of improving people's understanding of food and nutrition so they may be empowered against all the misinformation that is out there.

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