Let’s just go ahead and pop off the easy one first: water.
Yes, water. Our old friend that we can always rely on but who also isn’t always the most exciting person to hang out with. There’s probably nothing more hydrating than water on earth. It’s (relatively/usually) clean. It doesn’t have any sugar, sodium or carbohydrates. Our bodies are about 60% water and not 60% pink-colored sports beverage so you can see why most medical professionals generally suggest we drink more water and not more Whatever-ade.
But water is also very boring. It’s got no flavor, no fight—it’s just there and wet (which, yes, is often a very good thing). In this article, we’re going to take you on a whirlwind tour of five tasty beverages that also have the added benefit of being not only hydrating but also high in nutrients and taste!
If there’s one thing that power lifters have known for years that the general public has neglected, it’s the healing power of milk. So, why is milk so efficient at rehydration?
According to a recent study, it’s because milk contains a large amount of nutrients and electrolytes like sodium and potassium, therefore your stomach empties slower and doesn’t effect your kidneys, which are always signaling to get rid of excess water, as dramatically.
Good thing too for those of us who don’t love fat-free milk, researchers also found that whole milk was just as good as skim for rehydration! Now the question is: got milk?
Oral Rehydration Solutions
Okay, so it’s not the sexiest name for your rehydration needs, but they work. If you have a kid or a bad drunk hanging around your house, you’ve probably heard of Pedialyte. Essentially, it’s Gatorade concentrate with a nuclear blast of essential vitamins and nutrients most notably sodium, potassium and zinc.
This is especially important if you’re a gym rat or just a sweaty, thirsty dude because Pedialyte is specially designed to give you back those nutrients you need to recover fast. And while there’s no clear scientific research indicating that Pedialyte will cure your hangover, we’ve done enough (ahem) “field research” to attest that it definitely helps.
If you’ve been living under a rock on Mars with your fingers in your ears, you might not have heard that coconut water is the reigning king of fad drinks being marketed nonstop to consumers. But, as it turns out, coconut water is actually really friggin’ good for us. Coconut water is high in potassium, low in calories and fat and cholesterol free but this only applies to plain coconut water. If you get suckered in by any of the flavored versions, which add sugars or sugary fruit juices, you forfeit much of the things that sustain coconut water’s goodness.
While it might be good for a hangover, coconut water has almost no sodium content, so it’s not ideal for those of you in marathon training.
Ha! See, we managed to sneak water onto this list anyway! But this is fizzy water—clearly a different thing all together.
We know you’ve heard the rumors that carbonated water is bad for your bones or teeth but those are just myths and should have been debunked years ago. In fact, sparkling water hydrates just as well as still water and might actually be able to alleviate your gastrointestinal problems!
If you’re drinking sparkling mineral water that’s even better. Mineral water contains calcium and magnesium, as well as small amounts of sodium, so the beverages can be helpful for heart and muscle function as well as regulating blood pressure!
Imbibers rejoice because there’s actually scientific evidence that beer is good for you. Researchers have found that intake of 660mL (about 22oz) of a 4.5% beer (about the ABV of your favorite cheap canned beer) showed to have no detrimental effects on hydration after exercise!
Here’s the caveat though: the higher ABV beer made subjects “break the seal” earlier and more often. Therefore, it’s suggested that you drink a beer 2.8% or less if you want to retain any of the nutrients beer contains and more effectively rehydrate.
Still, this is very good news for those of us who like to enjoy a frosty pint after an hour on the elliptical! Now, the question is which rehydrates better: ales or lagers? We hope, in the future, researchers can answer this burning question.