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Nutrition News: Hydrate, Hydrate

Charlyn Fargo on

During this time sheltering at home, we know it's important to eat healthy to keep our immune systems strong. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and lean dairy -- full of vitamins and minerals -- need to be part of our daily diet.

It's also important to hydrate. Drinking water may not be at the top of your list, but it should be. To stay hydrated, a popular rule of thumb is to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. Another is to drink half your weight in ounces of water every day. To do that, you need to make water handy; have a glass at your desk as you work.

Does sparkling water count? Sparkling water or seltzer water, which is carbonated, contains water and carbon dioxide. It can also contain added flavorings and minerals like sodium bicarbonate, potassium sulfate and sodium chloride. The most popular types are mineral water, soda water, tonic water and sparkling or seltzer water.

When carbon dioxide dissolves in water, the pH drops, resulting in a slightly acidic beverage much like adding a slice of lemon or lime to tap water -- without the fizziness. Many people find the fizz more appealing than regular water.

And if you're one of those people, bottoms up. A study found that sparkling water is as effective as tap water at keeping your body hydrated. The trial, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in March 2016, looked at 13 different drinks and measured urine output and fluid balance to determine hydration. Another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in October 2000, found no significant differences in hydration levels after people drank various beverages, including plain and carbonated water.

The bottom line? Drink water often to keep hydrated. How do you know if you're drinking enough? Check the color of your urine. If it's a light yellow, you're doing a good job.

 

Q and A

Q: Is fasting good for you?

A: It may improve heart health and reduce the risk for diabetes. A recent 28-day pilot study divided 22 healthy, college-age men into two groups. Both groups ate only during an eight-hour window, drinking only water during the other 16 hours. One group's calories were controlled, and the other group ate as much as they wanted. Both groups had significant loss of body fat, reduced blood pressure and significant increases in high-density lipoproteins, the good cholesterol. The study was published in Nutrition Research in the December 2019 issue. It's a small study, so more research is needed, but early results look promising.

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