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Which Drinks Hydrate and Which Donít?

Which Drinks Hydrate and Which Donít?

Have you ever wondered if a cup of coffee or tea and milk can substitute as one of your recommended eight glasses of water a day? Most drinks do a good job of hydrating, but the components of some common drinks sharply reduce their hydrating ability. Which drinks are the best hydrators, and which the worst? Here are the three most hydrating and the four least hydrating drinks.

Drinks That Are Strong Hydrators

Water is the preeminent beverage for correctly hydrating the body.

* Herbal Teas (Infusions)
The leaves from plants such as mint, verbena, linden, balm, and so on give a pleasant aroma and flavor to the water in which they are steeped, which makes infusions a satisfying alternative to people who donít enjoy drinking plain water.

The medicinal properties of the plants do not have a negative effect on the bodyís assimilation of the water.

Note: The benefit does not extend to sweetened infusions, or if the tea is made with plants that have diuretic properties, such as dandelion.

* Fruit and Vegetable Juices
The water in fruits and vegetables–their juice–is one of the liquids nature has provided for hydrating our bodies. Juice is water bound to a substance. To maintain our harmonic balance with nature and avoid taking in too high a concentration of nutrients and sugars, we should consider juice a secondary resource to be used in moderation.

Drinks that Are Weak Hydrators

* Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa
Drinks that have a base of coffee, black tea, or cocoa are quite high in purins, toxins that must be eliminated from the body by urine or sweat in the form of uric acid. Purines need to be diluted in large quantities of liquid to be evacuated without irritation. A good portion of the water consumed with these drinks is used to eliminate the toxins.

* Milk
Milk is a food, not a drink, and its digestion by adults is frequently incomplete.

Whey, on the other hand, is very easily digested, but its diuretic properties are an impediment to its consumption as a daily beverage.

* Soft Drinks
Soft drinks often have a high caffeine base, a diuretic, which makes a body lose water before it has time to make its way into the intracellular environment. The other problem comes from the high sugar content of most sodas. The body has a hard time properly metabolizing refined sugar. To correct the reaction to this, the body has to surrender water from the extracellular fluid. Because that makes a person thirsty, a vicious circle is created, as the thirst is being maintained by the very beverage that is drink with the intention of getting rid of it.

* Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol itself has dehydrating properties, removing water from the tissues it contacts and drying them out and increasing the need for water.

Read more: Beauty, Diet & Nutrition, Holistic Beauty, , , , ,

Adapted from The Water Prescription, by Christopher Vasey, N.D. (Inner Traditions, 2002). Copyright (c) 2002 by Christopher Vasey. Reprinted by permission of Inner Traditions.
Adapted from The Water Prescription, by Christopher Vasey, N.D. (Inner Traditions, 2002).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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12:24AM PDT on Sep 17, 2014

Interesting article, thank you!

6:25PM PDT on Sep 16, 2014

Staying hydrated is one of the easiest things people can do for their health, and one that is SO often ignored!! Whenever someone I know is feeling sick, or even just "off" or tired or has a headache, the first thing I suggest is to drink water.

I also agree with those who have mentioned lemon water. Adds health benefits and tastes better! There have been a lot of things going around FB and Pinterest etc about "infused waters", basically take some citrus or other fruit, and or herbs or other flavorful ingredients, and let it infuse in a pitcher or jar in the fridge. There are all kind of tasty possibilities, all with different heath benefits! My usual simple combo is lemon, ginger, and mint!
And Teresa, even though lemons/lemon juice are acidic themselves, they actually have an alkalizing affect on the body. If you don't believe me or want a full scientific explanation, do a google search! Making sure we get enough alkalizing foods is very important, as the SAD (standard american diet) is full of junk that is highly acidifying, and the majority of people have an out-of-whack PH.

2:45AM PDT on Sep 16, 2014

Thank you :)

5:31PM PDT on Sep 15, 2014


5:19PM PDT on Sep 15, 2014

Thank you for your post, James K.

A friend's boss was hospitalized for several weeks because he drank too much water as part of his daily routine. He developed electrolyte imbalances and salt depletion. It was quite frightening for his friends and coworkers. They thought he was literally going crazy, and had no idea it was an odd symptom related to what he and they considered his super-healthy lifestyle.

Everything in moderation.

4:44AM PDT on Sep 15, 2014

This article just remembered me to drink water while I'm @work under AC all day!

6:04AM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

Thank you for the lists.

5:04AM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

As you've probably guessed, I hate water. It tastes horrible. :-(

5:00AM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

Thank you, Maureen, but I've read that lemons acidify the body so much that women who eat them later have weak and sickly babies. I'm not planning a child yet, but I avoid lemons just in case.

1:57AM PDT on Jul 25, 2014


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