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H²-OH MY: Water for a Healthier Life

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Pour on the Health

It’s no secret that drinking water may be one of the simplest ways to keep our bodies happy and healthy. But raise your hand if you struggle with drinking enough water on a daily basis. You’re not alone. Between busy schedules and responsibilities, it may be hard to consume the water you need.

How much water do adults need per day?

About 20 percent of our daily fluid intake comes from the foods we eat.

According to a Mayo Clinic article, “Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day?” the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggests an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

These numbers are a good guide; however, it is important to consider factors such as age, climate (like how dry the air can be in Nevada), activity level, body mass and general health. These all contribute to an individual’s need for water.

Before you think there’s no way to possibly get in all that liquid, keep in mind that we get about 20 percent of our daily fluid intake from the foods we eat. Cool, right? But the other 80 percent does come from what we drink, including coffee, tea, juice, and plain or flavored sparkling water.

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This Sparkling Water Craze Is Bubbling Over, but Many Have Wondered, Is It Healthy?

It goes by many names: bubbly water, soda water, fizzy water, seltzer, sparkling natural mineral water, club soda, and water with gas. This effervescent option has become a popular (and tasty) way for us to meet our individual water intake needs, but is it too good to be true?

Sparkling water is created when safe, carbon dioxide gas dissolves inside cold, pressurized water to make bubbles, with trace amounts of salt or other minerals for taste. Sometimes it bubbles out of the earth that way. Sometimes companies do the mixing from scratch.

We have good news for you. If you drink sparkling water, it may be just as healthy for you as “regular” flat water.

Yes, that fizziness that’s taking over the water aisle in your local grocery store may have just as many health benefits as flat water. That may seem like a miracle, since regular water is the most vital thing you can put in your body.

Check this out: Research suggests drinking bubbly water improves swallowing and helps people feel full longer, since it keeps food in the first part of your stomach longer. It may also help with constipation.

There are many other benefits to drinking water, flat or sparkling, some that you may never have thought of. Researchers suggest water may:

  1. Hydrate the joints.
  2. Create necessary saliva and enzymes that aid in digestion.
  3. Deliver oxygen throughout the body.
  4. Hydrate the skin.
  5. Serve as a cushion for optimal brain function.
  6. Keep body temperature in check while exercising and sweating.
  7. Protect the digestive system.
  8. Flush/remove waste from the body.
  9. Circulate oxygen to promote optimal blood circulation and maintain normal blood pressure.
  10. Hydrate the air passages in the lungs.
  11. Help minerals and nutrients be carried to different parts of the body.
  12. Protect the kidneys to help defeat urinary tract infections and prevent kidney damage, such as kidney stones.
  13. Enhance performance during exercise by cooling the body after a sweat, helping restore electrolytes.
  14. Aid in weight loss, as water creates a sense of fullness and is an alternative to sugary juices or beverages.
  15. Help decrease a potential hangover.

All this sounds great on the fizzy waterfront, right? We just have one simple recommendation: Check the label.

You want to make sure your fizzy water of choice is free of sugar, artificial flavors or sweeteners, artificial coloring or citric acid. You’ll also want to ensure there’s less than 30 mg of sodium and minimal calories, if any.

If you get bored drinking plain water, try adding a squeeze of citrus fruits like lemon, lime, or grapefruit. A few crushed up berries can add a burst of flavor, or get creative with cucumbers, ginger, or mint leaves.

— Carolyn Schut, MS, RD, LD, CLC, Health Plan of Nevada, Health Education & Wellness

Where Does the Natural Flavor Come From?

Have you ever wondered how that zero-calorie, zero-sugar drink tastes like strawberries? According to the FDA, “natural flavor” basically means the essential oils, extracts or essence that have the flavor components from sources in nature, including fruits, vegetables and spices, among other things.

While plain water is the optimal way to get your daily fluid intake, isn’t it nice to know that you have many other tasty options to choose from? Cheers to that!