Does water still measure up?

DSC_0117When you’re looking to quench your thirst, what beverage do you typically reach for? The answer varies for different people and situations. Generally, pops are consumed while enjoying fast food, the thickness and carbonation is a compliment to the heavy taste of burgers and fries. If you’re enjoying something light, juice may be more common. As these different beverages continue to rise in popularity, one must ask how they compare to the oldest and healthiest of them all: water.

Water does a variety of things for your health like,  safeguards your heart. Drinking enough water can help prevent heart attacks by more than 40 percent and lower your risk of cancers. It can also keep you alert on the job, dehydration is the most common reason for daytime fatigue. So, if you’re feeling that afternoon slump, try drinking a cup of water. Proper hydration can also make you more efficient at work, because a two percent dehydration level, can cause short-term memory problems and difficulty focusing on a computer.

So how do other beverages match up?

Pop versus Water

Water is calorie-free and its hydrating benefits are endless. Soda is filled with sugar and calories and does nothing but damage to your health. While the sugary goodness of a carbonated drink may be tempting, it’s best to reach for water instead. The acids in soda can break down the enamel on your teeth, which increases your risk of cavities and tooth decay. The sugar present in soda also acts as a feeding ground for the bacteria in your mouth. As bacteria feeds on the sugar, they create enamel-damaging acids in their waste process. Water on the other hand, can contain fluoride, which promotes dental health. Fluoride strengthens the teeth, making them less likely to damage from plaque and sugars.

Coffee versus Water

There has been debate about whether or not beverages like coffee and tea count towards the amount of water you’re supposed to consume each day. Coffee contains caffeine, which is a diuretic, and diuretics do the opposite of hydrating you. Despite the caffeine, coffee still counts towards your daily fluid intake. Even though caffeine is a diuretic, the amount in a strong cup of coffee is not enough to dehydrate the body, in fact, a few cups a day is as hydrating as water.

Juice versus Water

As long as you’re opting for 100 percent fruit juice, you’re in great shape. A glass a day can substitute your daily recommendation of fruit. Pure fruit juice will also supply some of the vitamins and minerals you would normally get from eating a whole piece of fruit. However, there are some drawbacks to even 100 percent fruit juice. The main drawback of juice is that it contains calories and water does not. Too much fruit juice could lead to weight gain, especially if you drink more than one glass per day.

Photo credit: Mike Lewis

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