FROM READERS: Health specialist busts a few myths

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:05 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ellen Schuster is an associate state specialist with the MU Extension. This article was originally posted on the Mizzou Nutrition Mythbusters blog Sept. 18.

Myth: Drinking fluids keeps me hydrated.

Answer: BUSTED!

Most of us have grown up with these messages in our head: “Keep hydrated!” and “Drink eight glasses of water a day!” Recent data indicates a strong growth of sales of drinks at convenience stores. For many people, these drinks mean consuming more sugary drinks like soda, fruit drinks or sports drinks. Using the excuse that we need to be hydrated as a reason to reach for a sugary, high caloric drink is not true. There’s nothing wrong with drinking more water if you enjoy it. Do we need eight glasses of water each day? No. We get enough fluid in the foods we normally eat, especially when we eat more foods like fruits and vegetables, which are mostly water. There’s no scientific basis for the “eight glasses” myth.

If you enjoy drinking water and would like to make water more flavorful, try these ideas:

  • Infuse your water with fruit. Add chunks of strawberries, watermelon, slices of lemon or oranges and place in the refrigerator overnight. To make the flavors disperse throughout the water better, place fruits at the bottom of a pitcher and mash (this is called muddling) with a wooden spoon, then add water. Try different combinations of fruit add-ins to water. You can also get a fruit-infusion pitcher, which allows you to keep the fruit separate from the water but allows the flavor to be released into the water. You can also add frozen fruit to your water.
  • Use tea as a base for the flavor in your water. There are many flavors of tea available. Green teas add a nice mild flavor to water. It also has antioxidants which may ward off chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Fruit tea when combined with fresh or frozen fruit give your water that zip that you may be looking for.
  • Sparkling water may be what makes your water drinking experience fun. You can add fruit chunks – fresh or frozen – to the bubbly, too.
  • Pump up your ice cubes! Freeze fruit juice in ice cubes. Add to water to give your water a little splash of flavor.

For more information about water myths click here.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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