Simply turn on the tap and fill a glass of water. Staying hydrated in the Texas heat is not that easy. Our special circumstances require some enhanced products to keep cool all summer long. A walk down the water aisle offers an array of choices that will amp up your hydration efforts with minerals, flavors, vitamins, protein, electrolytes and antioxidants. There’s even a hydration multiplier which will turn 1 glass of water into 3. It might sound like a modern-day miracle, but science shows many of these water varieties can improve athletic performance, recharge your system and quench your thirst all in one glass.
Here’s a breakdown of the many types of water you’ll find on the shelf:
Mineral/Spring Water: These waters are significant because of where they were sourced. The springs contain naturally occurring minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They also contain various levels of sodium and alkalinity that fluctuate by location. I recently discovered Crazy Water from Mineral Wells, Texas. Since 1881, this water has been legendary among followers of the healing powers of mineral water. It is now available in 3 levels of crazy. Level 2 has the lowest level of mineral content, level 3 is moderate and level 4 has heavy minerality that is very evident in its flavor. Other mineral/spring waters come from locations all around the world. Look for Acqua Panna from Italy, Evian from France, 1907 from New Zealand, Flow from Canada, Gerolsteiner from Germany, Fiji Water and Icelandic. Benefits of mineral water vary depending on the level of minerality. It can help with bone health, blood pressure, digestion, liver and/or kidney function.
Alkaline Water: Th pH level of water ranges from 0 to 14. 7 is neutral. If the pH is higher than 7 the water is alkaline. If it’s lower than 7 it’s acidic. The EPA advises that water be between 6.5 and 8.5, but depending on the region in general, tap water measures at 4.3 to 5.3. Water that is more acidic is often blamed for a number of health problems from osteoporosis to cancer. Proponents of alkaline water claim it reduces acidity in blood cells, can starve cancer cells and the increased hydrogen levels are better for hydration and workout recovery. The alkalinity in water can occur naturally, as it does in spring water, when the water flows over rocks and picks up minerals. Other bottled alkaline water alters the water’s pH by using a machine that changes the chemical structure of the water.
Hydrogen Water: Water equals H2O. We all know that water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, but some have discovered increasing the hydrogen level in water helps the body reduce inflammation, activate antioxidants, repair cells from environmental stress and increase energy.
Vitamin Water: Water enhanced with vitamins offers a boost of nutrients and antioxidants. It may not be as much as you would receive from taking a vitamin pill but can serve as a supplement to a healthy diet. These waters are usually flavored to mask the taste of the vitamins and one brand, Karma, even keeps the vitamin powder separate from the water in a compartment in the cap.
Protein Water: Those on a high protein diet may be looking for different ways to boost protein throughout the day. Protein water is also a way to quickly add protein after a workout. The form of protein varies between brands. Whey, bovine collagen and plant-based proteins are the most common choices and each has been engineered into a form that will blend with the water.
Sparkling Water/Seltzer/Club Soda: Fizzy water is a popular choice especially if you’re trying to replace sodas or cut down on alcohol. Available in a variety of flavors, the choices in sparkling water have grown in recent years. All three are forms of carbonated water but there is a difference. Club soda is infused with minerals and injected with carbon dioxide gas. The minerals give it more of a salty flavor. Seltzer is carbonated but has no minerals so it has more of a true water flavor. Sparkling mineral water is naturally carbonated and has less fizz than the other two. The mineral content changes the flavor significantly so various brands will taste differently depending on where they are sourced. Many of the sparkling waters that are flavored and come in cans contain some natural carbonation from their source, but the manufacturers also add CO2 to enhance the bubbles.