Even a simple walk outside leaves me sweating and thirsty in the hot days of summer, to say nothing of those mornings I can’t squeeze a run in before it gets too hot. And while a tall glass of water is always a good idea, when the heat and humidity is especially insufferable, I may want a drink that will hydrate and add a little something beyond, as well.
There are plenty of beverage choices lining the grocery store shelves these days, but it’s not always easy to know what to drink, when, and what you are actually getting with that swig of brightly colored liquid. Here’s a guide for those who are looking for a little something to keep them from wilting and withering during this summer’s heat waves.
Drink This! 1 of 7
Not all drinks are created equal.
Water 2 of 7
Water tops the list, of course. Your body is roughly 75% water and it's best to keep it replenished. With no added sugars or dyes, it should make up the bulk of your beverage intake. You may be surprised at how quickly your heat-affected mood can improve simply by taking a sip of this simple, essential stuff.
Chocolate Milk 3 of 7
Chocolate milk has been heralded as the perfect recovery drink for athletes and exercisers who have been working out for at least 45 minutes. The milk portion provides protein to help rebuild muscles, as well as nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and potassium to speed the body's recovery. Sugar adds a hit of carbs to keep energy levels high. And the chocolate, in addition to flavor, can improve your mood.
Coconut Water 4 of 7
Coconut water the fluid inside a coconut also contains nutrients like potassium and magnesium. However, it does not provide them in the same levels as chocolate milk, nor does it contain as much protein as chocolate milk, so it wouldn't be as helpful in post-workout recovery for longer workouts. It also contains more calories than you would want to drink on a regular basis. But because it does have necessary nutrients, it can aid in recovery and keep you hydrated for shorter, less intense workouts.
Sports Drink 5 of 7
Sports drinks, like Gatorade and Powerade, are high in simple carbohydrates and electrolytes to keep energy high and replenish salt and other nutrients lost through sweat. They can also be high in calories however, and should be reserved for after hard workouts. Also, doctors have warned against giving highly caffeinated sports drinks to kids because the stimulants can be too much for their bodies.
Supplement Drinks 6 of 7
Supplement drinks have less sugar than sodas or sports drinks, but are more flavorful than water. As their name suggests, they are supplemented with vitamins and other nutrients, and are often made with fruit juice as well. Some brands, like Neuro, are lightly carbonated, while others, like Vitamin Water are not. Often they are touted as "immunity boosting" or "mood enhancing" based on what vitamins they are supplemented with. Reach for these when you might normally reach for a soda.
Fruit Juice 7 of 7
Pure fruit juices (not to be confused with juice cocktails, which usually have a lot of added sugar) can carry many of the benefits of eating whole fruit, although without the health fiber. They are also high in (naturally occurring) sugar, which means they can pack on the calories pretty quickly. While you're better off eating whole fruit and drinking a glass of water, fruit juice can be a good post-workout drink for the kids.
photos via istockphoto.com