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How Do Your Favourite Beverages Stack Up in Terms of Hydration?

Realistically speaking, while water may be the primary ingredient in many of your favourite beverages, most of them are not going to be as hydrating as pure H2O. Despite your best intentions, downing three-plus lattes a day doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to keeping your body sufficiently hydrated.

While other liquids—including juice, coffee, tea, and the like—contain some of the key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs to function, integrative medicine physician and Quench author Dana Cohen, MD notes that these alternatives simply do not replace the water in your diet. “Water is the only thing that hydrates your body,” Dr Cohen says. “While water is the basic ingredient in all beverages, some added ingredients do more harm than good. Additives like high fructose corn syrup and other forms of added sugar, artificial colours, and other chemicals and preservatives can have detrimental effects on the body.”

To take a step back, let’s take a look at what it really means to be well-hydrated. After all, if you’re consuming a beverage that is 99 per cent water, to begin with, could it really be the case that you’re not keeping your body functioning at its highest potential? “The definition of hydration is from a cellular standpoint,” Dr Cohen explains. “It’s about how well your cells are holding onto the water you are consuming.” As such, the true amount of water that you need for optimal hydration varies from person to person, though Dr Cohen points out that the best and most efficient way to hydrate is with water and electrolytes.

4. Not so great for hydration: Soda

Unsurprisingly, sodas and other beverages that are high in added sugars shouldn’t be consumed in place of water as a source of hydration. “Everyone has different health and medical needs, but typically soda has a high amount of added sugar, which can be damaging to your health and dehydrating over time,” Dr Cohen says. “I would also be mindful of your consumption of sugar substitutes like Splenda and Nutrasweet, which are found in many diet sodas. I have found so many people to have problems with these and not even know this is the cause. Often brain fog and headaches are a chief complaint, and when they dial back consumption, they resolve.”

5. Among the most dehydrating: Booze

When asked for the worst offender of all when it comes to hydration, Dr Cohen is quick to share that alcohol fits the bill, as it is a known diuretic that dehydrates the body. “Hydrating properly every day really is one of the most important things you can do for your health,” says Dr Cohen. “The single most important thing you can do to treat and prevent chronic disease is to start by learning how to properly hydrate.” So whether it’s with green smoothies, electrolytes, or just a glass of regular H2O, be sure that you’re getting your body the proper amount of water to maintain its healthy functioning.

Source: Well+Good

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