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Water, Sports Drinks, and Energy Drink

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Now that summer is here, I would like to discuss the various options for hydration.

Many have found the process of choosing the right type of water, sports drink or energy drink to be both exhausting and confusing. Daily, we are bombarded with advertisements, often making us unsure as to what product or brand would be most beneficial to our personal health. Here is what you need to know:

Water is vital to human health and it is recommended that everyone drink 64 oz, or 8 glasses, per day. Water is essential and is needed to maintain a healthy body, supple skin and a clear head. There are three basic types of bottled water: mineral, spring, and purified.

  1. Natural mineral water is not treated, but bottled at the source, and must display on the label the mineral analysis.
  2. Spring water is similar to mineral water in that nothing is added, only it may be treated to make it drinkable.
  3. ‘Purified’ seems just a fancy way of saying ‘tap water without the nasty taste’ with all trace elements and metals, and in turn health benefits, removed.

So what should we drink?

Natural mineral water appears to be the frontrunner in terms of health benefits. Mineral water helps to balance electrolytes (dissolved minerals) within the body while replenishing the balance of water and electrolytes lost naturally by the body. Mineral waters may help relieve the muscle and joint pains of arthritis and arthritis by reducing swelling and inflammation. The main benefit of mineral water is that it supplies calcium to the body. Women know that they need to consume calcium for their bones, yet most women fall short of the recommended intake of 1200mg. Mineral water can help reaching your calcium goal! Some mineral waters high in calcium are:

           - Perrier: 60 mg of calcium per liter
           - San Pellegrino: 120 mg of calcium per liter
           - San Faustino: 400 mg of calcium per liter
 
What about sports drinks and energy drinks?

There are a number of sports and energy products on the market claiming advantages, but what is best for the athlete? What has made sports drinks so advantageous for athletes participating in prolonged exercise is the presence of carbohydrates and sodium. Carbohydrates provide energy to working muscles allowing the athlete to exercise for a longer period of time. Sodium is helpful in that it restores electrolytes to the body. I suggest you add a sports drink on the days when you are exercising for more than 1 hour, especially in hot weather.

Energy drinks may not be as effective as they contain extra calories as well as caffeine and other stimulants, increasing the likelihood of irritability, tremulousness, and insomnia. For improved prolonged athletic performance, sports drinks are most useful.

It is important to note that water in any form is a vital component in the functioning of the human body. While certain types may provide alternative benefits, any water available is beneficial. Sports drinks provide more benefits for endurance exercise as a result of the carbohydrates and sodium they contain, however, they also contain more calories. Above all, the most important thing is to just remember to stay hydrated!

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