Water that you should not drink, let it run, the saying goes. But which is the best water to drink and which is the one that must be allowed to run. Ana Maria Tello Hernandez, a clinical nutritionist attached to the Mexican Federation of Sports Nutrition, clarifies it in an interview for Tec Review.
Their points of view are light so that the consumer knows what to choose every time it comes time to stand in front of the supermarket aisle where there is an overwhelming diversity of different waters.
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What is the best water to drink?
The famous alkaline water
“After natural water, alkaline water is the most named. A person who has gastritis and drinks this water is like taking an antacid product but this does not get to the bottom of the problem, it does not combat everything that could be avoided through a balanced diet or ordered meal times, which would be the root solution ”, explains this expert.
This product has a pH greater than 7, hence its name alkaline.
It is recommended for athletes, because when they exercise they lose many electrolytes (minerals) and one of the easiest ways to recover them is through this type of water that has extra electrolytes.
“But when someone only exercises an hour, they don’t necessarily need a stronger electrolyte charge,” explains Tello Hernández.
Alkaline water is also said to be an antioxidant, as it contains minerals that help prevent premature aging, but this claim does not have scientific support, according to this specialist.
“Even the excess consumption of this type of water can eventually cause kidney problems because its minerals accumulate in the body. They are more expensive, they are very fashionable and they do not have completely proven benefits, ”he says.
The water from the springs
Another offer in the hall is the natural mineral water extracted directly from the subsoil, it has electrolytes such as calcium and magnesium.
This product should not be confused with mineralized water, whose origin is not the spring, but the industry, where minerals are added, sometimes in excess.
Tello warns that if you are going to drink mineral water, it is better that it be natural.
“Natural mineral water helps hydration more quickly, especially after doing work outdoors, under the sun’s rays. However, it can cause problems with the formation of kidney stones, so its consumption in excess. If a healthy person drinks a 600-milliliter bottle of this type of water every day, nothing happens ”, he talks.
On the other hand, if Mexican food with a high fat content such as carnitas or barbecue is accompanied with mineral water, the result is better digestion, it does not fall as heavy, according to this clinical nutritionist.
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The same old water
Finally, there is the most common option: natural water with a pH equal to 7, better known as plain water.
By the way, very sold in its presentation of gallon or jug. It is the most classic of the waters and, although marketing sometimes does not recognize it, the most suitable for human consumption.
“All the research that has been done maintains that in any condition, one of the main indications is to be well hydrated with plain water, and for a normal, sedentary population, the only recommended water is natural water, as is. Simple natural water is the best hydration option for everyone: from little ones to those over 100 years old ”, says Tello.
This is confirmed in Water, hydration and health, an article published in Nutrition Reviews, a scientific journal specializing in nutrition. There it is affirmed that plain water is key to “the prevention of non-communicable diseases related to nutrition”, especially during this time when, for commercial reasons, the message of consuming large proportions of industrialized beverages is widely transmitted.
“The effects of water on daily performance and health in the short and long term are quite clear,” the article also reads.
Although drinking two liters of water, equivalent to four glasses a day, is the optimal average amount for an adult, Tello comments that there may be cases of athletes who need to drink more water or elderly people who, due to incontinence problems, it is better that they drink less water so as not to aggravate the problem to levels, including, of urinary tract infection.
This expert emphasizes that children, for obvious reasons of size and weight, can stay well hydrated with less than two liters of water a day.
“There are people who come to the office and tell me that they don’t like plain water, that they don’t crave it, that it gets stuck in their throat. So I recommend making use of herbal tea infusions, orange segments, and pieces of fruit. This will give them a different flavor and, therefore, they will tolerate water more so that they can cover their daily hydration needs ”, he asserts.
This clinical nutritionist also expresses that other patients sometimes come to her office and tell her that they drink the necessary water through soft drinks, broths, soups or even rice pudding.
However, she answers that these liquids do not count as valid hydration options, since they bring other substances such as artificial colors or fats that the body discharges through the urine, which prevents proper hydration.
Tello also clarifies that plain water can be taken cold, warm or hot, indistinctly, since the temperature does not affect at all its ability to hydrate the body.
“Simple water not only serves to quench our thirst, but also to speed up digestion, regulate temperature, improve the skin, cleanse the body, among other functions, and when you already feel thirsty it is because dehydration levels they activate the red light that the reserve is already running out, and you don’t have to get to that point because then it means that the body is already dehydrated ”, concludes Tello.