When it comes to water, drink up

| 17 Feb 2015 | 05:07

For healthy drinks, avoid sugar, try adding fruit

There are many options for what to drink. But for most people with access to safe drinking water, water is the best choice: it's calorie-free, and it's as easy to find as the nearest tap.

Water provides everything the body needs - pure H2O - to restore fluids lost through metabolism, breathing, sweating, and the removal of waste. It's the perfect beverage for quenching thirst and re-hydrating your system.

There is no one estimate for how much water the average American needs each day. Instead, the Institute of Medicine has set an adequate intake of 125 ounces (about 15 cups) for men and 91 ounces (about 11 cups) for women. Note that this is not a daily target, but a general guide. In most people, about 80 percent of this water volume comes from beverages; the rest comes from food.

Water is the best choice for quenching your thirst. Coffee and tea, without added sweeteners, are healthy choices, too.

Some beverages should be limited or consumed in moderation, including diet drinks, fruit juice and milk. Alcohol in moderation can be healthy for some people, but not everyone.

Avoid sugary drinks like soda, sports beverages, and energy drinks.

With a twist, please

For people accustomed to drinking sweet beverages, water can initially taste bland. To increase water consumption without losing flavor or to spice up your daily water intake, try infused water. Instead of purchasing expensive flavored waters in the grocery store, you can easily make your own at home. Try adding any of the following to a cold glass or pitcher of water:

n Sliced citrus fruits or zest (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)

n Crushed fresh mint

n Peeled, sliced fresh ginger or sliced cucumber

n Crushed berries

n Sparkling water with a splash of juice

Sparkling juices may have as many calories as sugary soda pop. Instead, make your own sparkling juice at home with 12 ounces of sparkling water and just an ounce or two of juice. For additional flavor, add sliced citrus or fresh herbs like mint.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health