Juice for Hydration?

Juice for Hydration?

There are two kinds of juice I’d like to evaluate here:   Fruit juice and Vegetable JuiceLet’s take a look at fruit juice first:

Fruit Juice 

If you have a choice between drinking a glass of orange juice or eating the fruit – eat the fruit.  Here’s why:

Fruit juice normally lacks the fiber (in the skin) from the original fruit, along with vital nutrients from the fruit’s pulp, that help the body digest the fruit and provide those nutrients to the body.  The sugar in juice becomes highly concentrated causing the blood sugar to rise more quickly.  Also, the level of sugar can be higher.

For example, 120 calories of a whole apple contains 24g of sugar while a glass of apple juice can have 30g.

Additionally, many commercial juices have added sweeteners like sucrose or high fructose corn syrup which pose their own unique dangers to our health (more about high fructose corn syrup in a separate article).

Bottom Line:  Here’s the order of choice:

 #1    Eat the whole fruit.

#2    Drink 100% natural fruit juice (no added sugar)

#3    Drink the sweetened juice (if you’re dying of thirst and it’s the only game in town)

An occasional juice can be refreshing and hydrating…just be aware of your hydration needs for that day and adjust accordingly. 

Personal Note:  About orange juice…I read years ago that because the acid in this juice bypasses the digestive tract it can have a drying effect on the skin.  So, if you are having skin problems and you drink lots of orange juice, there might be a connection.

Vegetable Juice 

The “sugar” effect is present here as well except that the level of sugar is lower.  An occasional veggie juice when the mood strikes and you’re thirsty is ok, but not on a regular basis…no fiber.

Contrary to popular belief juicing is not healthier than whole veggies…quite the opposite…much of the vegetable is left behind – pulp and the fiber which contain vital nutrients. and it’s very expensive because a high quantity of vegetables are needed to make a small amount of juice. 

Personal Note:  I tried juicing once with a well known brand of juicer and was disappointed in the results.  So much pulp was stuck inside and so little juice came out.  It was a mess.  I have a blender which some experts recommend as a better choice, but I wouldn’t try to blend carrots in it.  I’m liable to have it explode in my face or burn out the motor.

Bottom Line:  Juice is a good occasional drink for hydration, especially if it’s a choice between juice and soda when you’re out and about.  Just remember that you might be missing the important parts so adding some whole fruit and vegetables on those days would be wise. 

If you can afford a juicer or blender that keeps the veggies intact so you get the entire vegetable, pulp, and fiber into your juicer at home…go for it.  I can imagine a blend of carrots, celery, kiwi and watermelon might taste great.   If anyone has a juicer that does this I’d like to know about it…I’d like to make a juice of carrots with celery and some seedless watermelon! 


Food for Thought!





Posted by DSaull in Nutrition
Sports Drinks for Hydration?

Sports Drinks for Hydration?

  We all need to replenish our bodies with the water we lose every day through normal activity.  However, a sports drink might be a better choice during and after intense exercise to replenish minerals lost through sweat.

Sports drinks are basically fortified and flavored water meaning that electrolytes and carbohydrates have been added to provide sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium (to name a few).

Some contain vitamins and minerals like the B-Complex vitamins (I always like to know their source…are they synthetic or natural?)

  They also include sugar.  This is added to provide immediate energy.  The kind of sugar added varies with the manufacturer.  It should come from glucose, sucrose, and/or fructose — all of which are easily and quickly absorbed.  It shouldn’t be carbonated, as the bubbles can lead to an upset stomach.  Ask yourself if the sugar a natural source or an artificial sweetener.  These sweeteners can pose health risks which I will address in an upcoming article.  

Warning:  Sugary drinks are cited as a leading source of sugar, which contributes heavily to the high obesity rate in the US, so keep this in mind when you are preparing for your workouts.  You don’t want to overdo it on the sugar…that would be counterproductive.

  Sports drinks might also include amino acids to help with muscle recovery (again…what’s the source?)  These are the building blocks of protein.  Complete proteins have 8 essential amino acids so the question is:  “What have they added to that drink”?  Throwing in a few to make it look good will not add much to your health.

Another possible ingredient might be caffeine to enhance performance during workouts.  It’s recommended that caffeine intake not exceed 400mg daily.  I wrote about this in another article about Tea which is in this blog and also in the June Archives.  Read the ingredients for the amount added and count it toward your total daily intake of it.


In choosing a sports drink there are 2 important points to consider:

  1. The ingredients in a specific drink in order to weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision;
  2. Your specific dietary needs, like the type of exercise taking place. How intense will it be?

  Does that drink contain dyes and food additives?  Powerade Fruit Punch, for example, contains “glycerol ester of rosin.” Apparently that is a derivative of wood resin used to adjust the weight of beverages.  Do you want to ingest wood resin?

You might want a sports drink if:

 *If you are exercising in hot weather and are sweating profusely.   Do you notice salt on your skin?

*You just finished an endurance event like a marathon.

 *You need quick fuel during long workouts.

 *You need simple carbs to avoid feeling dizzy or wobbly.


Bottom Line:  Sports drinks do count toward your daily intake of fluids.  Some contain more water than others, which is a good thing.  I suggest you read my source by CNET for additional information and then choose drinks that fit your values and your particular needs.  I believe in being flexible, and using common sense in meeting my nutritional needs on a daily basis.  If I am playing in a tennis tournament during the hot summer afternoon in the Tucson desert I’m going to plan ahead very carefully to meet that challenge.  It might require more carbs, sugar, caffeine, etc.  Tennis is a very demanding sport and fitness is everything.  Think about the nutritional requirements for your sport or workout regimen and determine your special needs for success.



Posted by DSaull in Nutrition
Coffee for Hydration?

Coffee for Hydration?

   What is this concoction we call coffee?  Millions of us drink it every morning so we can meet the day.  We know it wakes us up and we love the taste…but what do we really know about it?

The word “coffee” came from the Dutch word “koffie” which came from the Ottoman Turkish word “kahve” which was borrowed from the Arabic qahwah, a type of wine which referred to its reputation as being an appetite suppressant.

We know that coffee comes from beans, but did you know that a coffee bean is actually a seed of the Coffea plant and the source for coffee?   It’s the pit inside the red or purple fruit often referred to as a cherry. Just like ordinary cherries, the coffee fruit is also a so-called stone fruit. Even though the coffee beans are not technically beans, they are referred to as such because of their resemblance to true beans.

   The earliest evidence of coffee drinking or knowledge about the coffee tree dates back to the 15th century in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen.  It soon spread to Mecca and Cairo, the rest of the Middle East, Europe and eventually to America in the 18th century.  Thanks to the American Revolution and the Boston Tea Party Americans switched to coffee from tea which was considered unpatriotic.  So, I guess you can thank our Founding Fathers for their efforts in making your favorite morning brew so popular today.

Bit of Trivia:  The first coffee plant was found in the mountains of Yemen. Then by 1500, it was exported to the rest of the world through the port of Mocha, Yemen.


We know that coffee contains caffeine which is why it’s America’s #1 morning liquid stimulant.  Did you know that coffee is a mild diuretic…meaning that it stimulates the kidneys to produce urine.  So, the question is…Does this lead to dehydration?  Well, it seems that the fluid you consume in your cup of coffee tends to offset the fluid you lose when you urinate.  One balances out the other. 

There is one catch, though.  Our daily intake of caffeine should not exceed 400mg so let’s take a look at some popular brands of coffee and compare their caffeine content:

An 8-oz cup of brewed coffee typically contains around 95 mg of caffeine.  How do these brands stack up?


  • Short (8oz)                     180mg
  • Tall (12oz)                      260mg
  • Grande (16oz)               330mg
  • Venti (20 oz)                  415mg

Dunkin Donuts

  • Small (10 oz)                215mg
  • Medium (16 oz)           302mg
  • Large (20 oz)                431mg
  • Extra large (24 oz)      517mg


  • Small (12 oz)                 109mg
  • Medium (16 oz)            145mg
  • Large (21–24 oz)           180mg


  “Moderate” amounts of coffee enjoyed daily will not cause dehydration.  Common sense and being aware of any physical discomfort you experience like any problems you have sleeping are good guidelines.  You can make any adjustments you deem necessary, like drinking less, or drinking earlier in the day so you don’t have any trouble with sleep.   Drinking more water will help too.

Bottom Line:  Go ahead and enjoy that cup or those cups of your favorite coffee and feel good about adding to your daily fluid intake.  Coffee is hydrating when consumed in moderation

http://• https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_coffee



Posted by DSaull in Nutrition
Herbal Tea for Hydration?

Herbal Tea for Hydration?

   Herbal Tea is made from steeping herbs, spices, fresh or dried flowers, fruit, leaves, seeds or roots in boiling water for a few minutes.  The tea is strained and sweetened if desired.  Don’t have the time or patience for this approach?

Don’t worry…there’s always the simpler and convenient method – the tea bag!     

Warning:  While most herbal teas are caffeine free (I didn’t find any that do contain caffeine.) there are some that can have toxic effects or cause allergic reactions:

*Comfrey – this herbal tea contains alkaloids which can harm the liver after chronic use.  Alkaloids are a class of naturally occurring organic compounds that mostly contain basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral[2] and even weakly acidic properties.   Morphine was the first alkaloid isolated in 1804 from the opium poppy.  Pregnant women are warned to avoid this herb.  If you’re taking prescription drugs, don’t drink comfrey.

*Lobelia – another herbal tea that contains alkaloids.  It may cause nausea, vomiting, or dizziness if taken in high amounts.  My source didn’t say how much is too much.  If you start to exhibit any of these symptoms it would be time to stop drinking it.

*Foxglove – this one is deadly…it can be mistaken for comfrey so it’s best to get comfrey from a trusted source.

Herbal teas are considered a food crop in the U.S. and may contain pesticides or heavy metals.  If you are unsure about what to buy, see if you can get organic herbal teas.

Here are a few that you might recognize…they are very popular and have widely known health benefits:

*Chamomile – this is a soothing and relaxing tea that has anti-inflammatory properties…it’s also good for upset stomachs…try it before bedtime instead of that sleeping pill!

*Rooibos (Red Bush) – this tea is grown in South America and is sometimes known in the U.S. as red tea.  It has many of the antioxidant properties of green tea without the caffeine.


Bottom Line:  Herbal teas are a great source of hydration…almost a 100% water and no caffeine (well almost)…so many varieties to choose from…so…



Posted by DSaull in Nutrition
Tea for Hydration?

Tea for Hydration?

I think we can all agree that a cup of tea is almost 100% water – before you add cream and sugar.  So tea is a good alternative to water, right?  Well, let’s take a look…

What exactly is “tea”?

   According to Wikipedia it’s “an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub (bush) native to East Asia.  It originated in southeast Asia, specifically around the intersection of  latitude 29°N and longitude 98°E, the point of confluence of the lands of northeast India, north Burma, southwest China and Tibet.  From here its popularity spread to more than 52 countries.

Records show that tea was a popular drink with the Chinese as early as 2nd century B.C. It spread to Japan about the 6th century A.D. becoming a favorite of the religious groups there.

     Tea initially came to America in the 1600’s with the Dutch who started a settlement in New Amsterdam.                

After water, tea is the most popular drink in the world, and nearly 50% of Americans enjoy it every day.

Varieties made from this plant include black, green, white and oolong.  These teas typically contain caffeine.  Black tea has more caffeine than green tea but the amount of caffeine can vary depending on the process used.  The longer it steeps, the higher the caffeine level will be.

*An 8oz cup of black tea contains about 48mg of caffeine.

*An 8oz cup of green tea contains about 29mg of caffeine.

*An 8oz cup of oolong tea contains about 38mg of caffeine.

Tea has a stimulating effect due to its caffeine content and it also offers many health benefits which have been widely reported.  One of these is the antioxidants found in tea.

Caffeine is a mild diuretic but according to my sources the fluid you consume in your cup of tea tends to offset the fluid loss when you urinate.  Here’s what I found:

Our daily intake of caffeine should not exceed 400mg.  Rounding up the numbers I cited above we can see by doing some simple math that:

*Black Tea:  You’d have to drink 8 cups to reach that level.

*Green Tea:  You’d have to drink about 13 cups to reach it.

*Oolong Tea:  You’d have to drink 10 cups to get there.

Conclusion:  “Moderate” amounts of tea enjoyed daily will not cause dehydration.  Use your common sense and be aware of any physical discomfort you experience like any problems you have sleeping.  Make any adjustments you deem necessary, like drinking less, or drinking earlier in the day so you don’t have any trouble with sleep.   Drinking more water will help too.

Warning:  If you drink 6-13 cups daily, over time you are likely to experience some dehydration.

Bottom Line:  Yes…Tea is a good addition to your daily fluid intake.






Posted by DSaull in Nutrition
Milk for Hydration?

Milk for Hydration?

In “Water Rich Foods” I wrote about some foods that can add to your daily hydration, like tomatoes, pineapple, celery and cantaloupe.  Now I’d like to explain how some beverages other than water can also contribute to hydration. 

First, let’s define “beverage”.  Merriam-Webster dictionary says it’s  “any drinkable liquid”, so let’s take a look at some typical beverages to see how they stack up in the hydration department.  This post will be focused on milk.  Others will follow.

           MILK…88% water!         Did you know that a glass of this white liquid is about 88% water?  I’ve been drinking milk since my childhood and I never thought about it…till now.  That’s a good amount of water towards daily intake. 

 What else is in that glass of milk?  Well, there’s:

*Fat…about 3.5%

           *Lactose…about 5%

                         *Protein…about 3.2%

Note:  the amount of fat depends on whether it’s whole or skim.  Percentages also vary according to the type of cow that produced the milk: 

For example, a Brown Swiss cow   will provide milk with about 4% fat content whereas a Jersey cow will supply 5.5% fat in its milk.”  

So, how well does Milk hydrate us?  Surprisingly, studies have shown that milk may do a better job than water because it stays in the body longer than water and sports drinks.  It releases slowly and is gradually absorbed by the body.  It helps the body hold on to fluids longer.

**Here’s an interesting fact…recent studies showed that milk rehydrates better than sports drinks like Gatorade.  During and after exercise we lose electrolytes.  These are essential minerals that carry an electric charge and are found in our blood, sweat and urine.  They’re crucial to keeping our nervous system and muscles functioning and our internal environment balanced.  They include:

  • Sodium                          
  • Potassium           
  • Chloride                         
  • Calcium                                
  • Magnesium                                               
  • Phosphate
  • Bicarbonate                                         ]

When you sweat, you’re also losing fats, amino acids and water.  Milk outperformed sports drinks as a recovery beverage after workouts.  “It is well retained and is a great source of protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals.”  (quoted from source below)


Bottom Line:   Drinking milk during workouts might feel uncomfortable because it might take a little while to digest.   I haven’t tried it yet.  I know I’ve had that problem with bananas.  I do drink it after workouts like hitting the tennis ball against the wall for a ½ hour.  It takes me a few minutes to get home and  I drink it there.  That agrees with me.  Don’t know if I’m willing to try it during a tennis match.  I’ll let you know if I do.

Conclusion:  Milk is a great hydration drink for normal daily routines, and a strong recovery beverage after exercise.  Let me know what happens if you try it during an intense workout.    





Posted by DSaull in Nutrition
Water Rich Foods

Water Rich Foods

In my previous article called “Water…Water…Water” I wrote that we need lo get lots of water into our bodies every day to stay hydrated and be healthy.  I gave some pretty high goals to reach.  I said that men need to get about 3 liters (13 cups) daily, and women need about 2 liters (9 cups). 

The good news is that 20% of that fluid comes from our food!  We only have to make up the difference (80% for you math wizards) by drinking water and other beverages throughout the day.

Let’s take a look at some fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts of water listed in highest to lowest percentages.

*Celery – 95% water 

 This is a very crunchy veggie and kind of stringy so I add it to my soup recipe (see my Welcome Page).  Sometimes I’ll pop a few small chunks in my mouth while I’m cutting it up for my soup.  After learning this about it I might start adding little pieces to my salads.

*Radishes – 95% water 

 I add this one to my soup.  I’ve tried them raw and don’t enjoy it – no flavor.  You might have a different reaction.  It’s a personal preference.

*Tomatoes  – 94% water 

 You probably enjoy these juicy red beauties as tomato sauce in a variety of foods.  However, in order to get the water in them it’s recommended that you eat them raw.  One way is to slice them up and add them to your salads.

*Watermelon – 92% water 

 A summer favorite!  Cold from the fridge it’s a sweet, juicy and wonderfully hydrating.  You can buy it seedless now in many places.

*Bell Peppers – 92% water 

 I love the red bells because they’re sweet, crunchy and gorgeous in my salad.  Sometimes I’ll cut up a piece and eat it raw by itself.  You can also add a few slices as a side dish with your hot meal.

*Cantaloupe – 90% water 

 This is a personal favorite of mine.  I remember eating it as a young child and loving its sweetness.  There are a few ways to enjoy it.  I cut one in half, scoop out the seeds, and eat it by the slice.  Other times I cut it up and add the chunks to a cup of yogurt, a cold and delicious way to enjoy it.

*Pineapple – 87% water 

 This delicious and juicy fruit is great by itself in chunks, especially during the hot summer months.  You can also top a dish of yogurt with some cold chunks of pineapple for a snack or light lunch.

*Carrots – 87% water 

 This is my favorite vegetable.  It’s the foundation for my “greens” soup recipe and I love eating it shredded.  Sometimes I’ll add some raw shredded carrot to my salad.  It has a beautiful orange color and a sweet taste.

*Apples – 84% water 

 I love this fruit!  My favorite is organic Galas…they’re sweet and juicy.  I eat them a few different ways.  I’m not fond of biting into an apple whole so I cut off slices and eat them.  I also cut up slices into bite size morsels and add them to a sliced up banana in a bowl.  Then I sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese over it and I enjoy a delicious treat! 

**Hint** I’ve bought them nonrefrigerated and refrigerated (supermarkets do this) and I found the refrigerated ones to be fresher, crispier and tastier.

*Grapes – 81% water 

 I like the red seedless kind – cold from the fridge.  I’ll eat them in a bowl by themselves or top my yogurt with them.  If you like the green seedless type I recommend you eat them in moderation.  They are high in sugar and I found out the hard way years ago when I broke out in a rash after eating tons of them in a short period of time.

*Bananas – 74% water 

 This is my #1 favorite fruit!  I eat sometimes 2 or 3 a day!  Here are some ways I enjoy them…1)  In a milkshake…blend a cup of milk with a banana and drink…delicious!  I like to take my fat soluable supplements (Vitamin E and Fish Oil) with my shakes because they’re supposed to be taken with food and it’s easy for me to remember this way.  Another favorite is mashed over pancakes.  It adds a moist sweetness to the pancakes as a healthy substitute for sugary syrups.  I add sliced banana to apple chunks with shredded cheddar cheese in a bowl.  Another way I’ve eaten them in the past (haven’t found a yogurt lately that I like) is sliced over a bowl of yogurt. 

There you have my picks for water rich foods.  In my sourced websites you’ll find plenty of other choices.  Fruits and vegetables abound so I think it will depend on what’s available in your area and what appeals to your tastebuds.  Try different ones…keep what you like and leave the rest. 

Happy Healthy Eating!




Posted by DSaull in Nutrition