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Approximately 60 percent of your body is made up of water, so getting adequate hydration is important for you to achieve peak function.

Headaches, dry skin, constipation, poor mental or physical performance, and kidney stones are just some of the consequences of “running dry.” Even more serious are higher risks of heart attack, stroke, and bladder cancer.

Which solution?

While water is the best drink for everyone, some people struggle to meet their daily six to eight glasses. If you need additional help, choose low calorie options with some benefit and minimal or no harm.

Caffeine from drinks can cause sleep disturbances, anxiety, irritability, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, stress, depression, stomach upsets, headaches, and nausea. Café-style coffees have been found to contain up to three times more caffeine than is usually reported for coffee. High-energy drinks are also loaded with caffeine and are easily overly consumed by younger people.

Sweetened beverages like soda, sports drinks, iced tea, and fruit juices hide lots of sugar and will contribute to weight gain. Limit these to one glass per day for both adults and children. The safety of artificial sweetened diet drinks is also disputed, and research suggests that they may actually cause you to crave more sugar and put on weight!

Four top watering choices

  • Water: Naturally calorie free! Add a slice of lime or lemon for flavor. Set yourself a minimum target, like five glasses, or a 50-fluid-ounce water bottle daily.
  • Fresh vegetable juice: Lower in calories than fruit juice but bursting with antioxidants. Make it yourself, and avoid added salt.
  • Herbal teas: Often fragrant or colorful from the herbs, flowers, roots, and spices used to make it, which also supply antioxidants. Drink unsweetened or with a teaspoon of honey. ?? Fortified dairy alternatives, such as soy milk: These can provide protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and other valuable nutrients besides fluid.
  • Fortified dairy alternatives, such as soy milk: These can provide protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and other valuable nutrients besides fluid.

Nutritionist Sue Radd is the award-winning author of the The Breakfast Book and coauthor of Eat to Live, internationally acclaimed for showing how savvy eating can combat cancer and heart disease and improve well-being. See www.sueradd.com for more nutrition information.

Food Matters: Need to Boost Fluids

by Sue Radd
  
From the August 2012 Signs  

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