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 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.
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).