Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being. While traditional plain water may not be everyone’s cup of tea, flavored water has become a popular alternative. But does flavored water contribute to your daily water intake? We turned to clinical nutritionists to uncover the truth and for tips on making the best choices at the water aisle in the grocery store.
The Benefits of Drinking More Water
Before diving into the world of flavored water, it’s essential to understand the significance of staying hydrated. Water plays a vital role in digestion, skin health, nutrient absorption, temperature regulation, and toxin elimination. Drinking enough water also promotes joint health and helps prevent muscle cramps.
Getting Your Electrolytes In
Holistic nutritionist Jennifer Hanway warns that not all flavored waters are created equal. While some are made with natural ingredients like lemon juice, others may be packed with sugars, artificial sweeteners, colorings, and even caffeine, which can be detrimental to health. “If someone is struggling to meet their daily water goals, then flavored waters can be a great addition for them and will count towards their daily water intake, but it’s important to ensure that what they are adding flavorings are boosting health, rather than detracting from health,” she explains. “Adding clean electrolytes to water can help boost hydration as they help maintain a healthy balance of fluid both inside and outside our cells, but I would only use an electrolyte powder once a day, or at times of intensive sweating such as at the gym, in the sauna or in hot, humid climates.”
Simply adding sweeteners, colorings or flavorings does not make water anymore hydrating to the body, she explains, it just may encourage someone to drink fluids on a regular basis. Hanway recommends opting for clean electrolyte powders like Halo or infusing water with fresh fruit juice, lemon, lime, cucumber, or herbs to enjoy flavorful and nourishing hydration.
The DIY Approach
Clinical Nutritionist Jessica Sepel views flavored water as a valuable option to increase water intake, particularly for those who find plain water unappealing. However, she emphasizes that flavored waters should not entirely replace regular water consumption. “Sugar and artificial additives can contribute to inflammation and should therefore be consumed in moderation,” she says. “A great alternative to store bought flavored waters is to make your own! This can easily be done by adding ingredients such as berries, cucumber, mint, citrus fruits, ice and a pinch of salt to your water. You can play around with flavors you enjoy and this can be consumed as a substitute for plain water. This approach not only enhances the taste but can also encourage children to embrace healthy hydrating habits.