You’re tired. You have a headache. Your hands are dry. Your eyes are sticky. You know what’s going on: you’re in desperate need of some hydration. But you also know that if you drink another glass of boring, plain water, you’re going to fall asleep and drown in your 32-ounce sustainable aluminum reusable bottle. You’re supposed to get 64 ounces of water per day…but what’s a good exchange for the clear stuff?
First, let’s talk about what doesn’t count. Sports drinks, like Gatorade, are alright for athletes who, during their workouts, lose not only hydration, but electrolytes. The added sodium and sugar, then, helps to reset the balance and keep the body’s cells full of fluid. But if you’re parked at your desk and not running a marathon, you don’t really need to replenish your sodium levels to that degree. Similarly, you’ll want to skip “water add-ins” like flavor packets, because they contain a lot of additives and artificial stuff, without much benefit at all.
Don’t listen to “health” articles that recommend soda, black tea, coffee, and even booze. Both alcohol and caffeine act as diuretics, and will actually dry you out more. And some of those, like soda or beer, are also full of empty calories and few health benefits. Green and black teas do have plenty of benefits, like antioxidants and potential cancer-fighting powers, but they shouldn’t be counted as one of your “waters” for the day.
But there are plenty of other drinks (and foods, for that matter), which totally count toward your 8-a-day–and some are a little surprising. You should still aim to drink actual water throughout the day, (it’s good for you for about a billion reasons), but everyone needs a break now and then. When you hit critical boredom, reach for one of these, and check “drink more water” off your to-do list.
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