Nutritional Health: 10 Ways You’re Drinking Water Wrong

BPA in bottles is linked to birth defects, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Using Bottles With BPA

BPA is short for the chemical bisphenol A. It's used to make lots of products, including water bottles. But research shows BPA can get into your food and drinks. There's also concern that too much exposure can lead to birth defects. More research is needed, but experts think the chemical might also play a role in some health conditions. These include high blood pressure, hormonal imbalance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Opt for water bottles that say they're BPA-free or made with glass or stainless steel.

Drinking cold water can help you cool down and hydrate when you're hot.

Believing the Cold Water Myth

Cold water doesn't narrow your blood vessels or make food harder to digest. It's an easy way to cool down and hydrate when you're hot. If you have a cold, warm water will help thin your mucus, but that's about it.

Adding contaminated fruit slices to water may introduce germs that may make you sick.

Adding Sliced Fruit or Veggies

It may make your water tastier and more refreshing. But if you're not careful, it can also fill it with foodborne illness like salmonella and E.coli. That's because when the rind isn't clean, slicing into it moves bacteria to the flesh. Fruit and veggies sliced on the same board used to cut raw meat can also lead to foodborne illness. So can items not stored at the right temperature. Be sure to wash or scrub fruits and vegetables under running water.

Alcoholic drinks are dehydrating so drink water along with alcohol.

Not Drinking It With Alcohol

Alcoholic drinks are diuretics, which means they trigger your body to make more pee. And peeing a lot can lead to dehydration. To avoid this, match your drinks one for one: that's one glass of water for every cup of coffee or alcoholic drink.

Take pills with a full glass of water to make sure they go down.

Not Downing a Full Glass With Pills

Don't just drink enough to get them down your throat. Use vitamins and medication as an opportunity to hydrate. Drinking a full glass of water also helps keep medicine from getting stuck in your esophagus and irritating it. It helps your body better absorb water-soluble vitamins, too.

Skip artificial flavorings and sweeteners because they can negatively affect your health.

Adding Anything Artificial

It's fine once in a while, but doing it every day isn't recommended. Research suggests artificial flavorings and sweeteners may put you at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and cancer. They can also make you feel hungry more often. Try to avoid anything with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, or sucralose. Use lemon, lime, mint, herbs, or cucumbers instead. But don't forget to wash them first.

Drink water to ward off fatigue due to dehydration.

Not Reaching for It When Tired

Feeling fatigued and don't know why? It could be a sign of dehydration. You don't have to be sick or exercise hard to get dehydrated. You lose water every day through basic body functions like breathing and pooping.

Sip water slowly so you don't overhydrate yourself.

Not Taking Your Time

A glass or two of water is fine, but don't wake up and chug a gallon. There's no evidence it kickstarts your metabolism. And you don't want to drink a lot before bed and spend all night in the bathroom, either. That disrupts your sleep. Sip slowly throughout the day instead. Experts recommend no more than 1 liter an hour.

Do not drink out of rivers or streams because they may be contaminated.

Drinking Out of Rivers or Streams

Natural water sources may look clear and clean, but many things can contaminate them. This includes toxic plants, animal pee and poop, and illegal chemical dumping. Treat natural water with filtration tablets or water filters before drinking.

Drinking adequate water helps digestion and eases and wards off constipation.

Not Drinking Enough

Your body is mostly water and uses it in many ways. It helps digestion and can ease and ward off constipation or trouble pooping. It also flushes out toxins, stops kidney stones from forming, and hydrates your skin. The recommended minimum daily amount is 11.5 cups for women and 15.5 cups for men.

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REFERENCES:

  • Mayo Clinic: "What is BPA and what are the concerns about BPA," "Hangovers," "Dehydration."
  • Danielle Fineberg, MS, RD, New York City.
  • Cleveland Clinic: "How Healthy Is Sparkling or Mineral Water?"
  • Gunderson Health System: "Are You Over-Hydrated?"
  • Mayo Clinic Health System: "Water: Essential to Your Body."
  • CDC: "Fruit and Vegetable Safety."
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