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Hate water? Here are 5 healthy alternatives, according to an NFL sports dietitian

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Hate water? Here are 5 healthy alternatives, according to an NFL sports dietitian

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Water is widely recommended as the healthiest beverage — but what if it’s not your thing?

As it’s much easier to stay hydrated if you choose a drink you enjoy, Jordan Mazur, a San Francisco-based professional sports dietitian and nutrition adviser to the beverage company Hint Water, is offering more palatable alternatives for H2O haters.

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“Water is undoubtedly the best choice for hydration, but there are other healthy alternatives,” he told Fox News Digital. 

HEALTHY AGING AND DRINKING WATER: FASCINATING FINDINGS FROM A NEW STUDY

Here’s what to know.

What to drink instead — and what to avoid

Herbal teas, especially those without caffeine, can contribute to daily fluid intake. 

Jordan Mazur, a San Francisco-based professional sports dietitian and nutrition adviser to the beverage company Hint Water, offers hydration tips. (Jordan Mazur)

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Coconut water is another good option due to its electrolyte content, which can be beneficial for rehydration, according to Mazur, a sports dietitian for the San Francisco 49ers. 

“Milk, both dairy and plant-based alternatives, provides hydration along with essential nutrients like calcium,” he said. 

Another option is to add some pizzazz to water to make it more appetizing.

Lemon water

Adding fruit to water can make it more appealing for people who find plain water boring. (iStock)

“If you think water can be boring at times, try infusing water by adding slices of fruit like cucumber, lemon or berries to enhance its flavor and add a subtle boost of vitamins,” Mazur suggested.

There are also ready-to-drink alternatives that add natural flavor to water without any added calories or artificial sweeteners, he said.

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Alternatives to avoid 

Alcohol and sugary drinks, including sodas and fruit juices with added sugars, are not ideal alternatives to water, Mazur cautioned. 

SHOULD YOU DRINK WATER BEFORE BED? EXPERTS CHIME IN

“While they do contribute to fluid intake, the high sugar content can have adverse health effects, including weight gain and increased risk of metabolic disorders,” he said.

Caffeinated beverages like coffee and certain teas can have a diuretic effect, potentially leading to increased fluid loss, Mazur added.

Importance of hydration

As a professional sports dietitian, Mazur works with high-performing athletes at the peak of their sport.

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“Proper hydration is a core part of our daily nutrition plan to replenish fluids lost during exercise and enable proper recovery throughout the season,” he told Fox News Digital. 

Woman drinking workout

Hydration needs can vary according to different factors, such as physical activity levels, environmental conditions and health status. (iStock)

“Even if you’re not paid to play a sport professionally, the principles of hydration can still be applied to everyone.”

Proper hydration is crucial for maintaining bodily functions, Mazur said. 

“Water plays a pivotal role in digestion, nutrient absorption, temperature regulation and waste elimination,” he said. 

“Adequate hydration ensures optimal organ function and overall well-being.”

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Warning signs of dehydration

Common signs of dehydration include dark yellow urine, dry mouth, headache, dizziness and fatigue, Mazur said.

“Additionally, a lack of sweat during physical activity, reduced urine output and increased heart rate can indicate dehydration,” he said. 

STAYING HYDRATED MAY LOWER RISK OF HEART FAILURE, STUDY SAYS

“It’s essential to pay attention to these signals and increase fluid intake accordingly.”

Dehydration can impair cognitive function and physical performance, and can even lead to serious health issues, the expert said. 

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What’s the right amount? 

The general guideline is to follow your body’s signals, according to Mazur. 

“Monitoring the color of your urine is also helpful — light yellow usually indicates proper hydration,” he said. 

Man drinking tea

Herbal tea is an example of a healthy alternative to water, an expert said. (iStock)

Hydration needs can also vary according to different factors, he said — such as physical activity levels, environmental conditions and health status. 

“For example, during exercise, especially in hot or humid environments, individuals lose fluids through sweating, increasing their need for hydration to maintain optimal performance and prevent dehydration,” Mazur said.

Woman drinking water

“Water is undoubtedly the best choice for hydration, but there are other healthy alternatives,” an expert told Fox News Digital.  (iStock)

“Similarly, during illnesses characterized by fever, vomiting or diarrhea, the body loses fluids more rapidly, requiring increased hydration to compensate for these losses and support recovery.”

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When making recommendations to his clients, Mazur uses the “8×8 rule,” or about 8 cups (64 ounces) of water per day, adjusting based on unique requirements and environmental conditions. 

Woman holds onto concrete wall and appears to be dizzy.

Dehydration can impair cognitive function and physical performance, and can even lead to serious health issues. (iStock)

“While thirst is a natural mechanism for regulating fluid intake, it’s not always a reliable indicator of hydration status, especially in certain populations, such as older adults who may have diminished thirst sensations,” he said.

“It’s advisable to drink fluids regularly throughout the day, even if thirst isn’t felt.”

Studies have shown that waiting until you feel thirsty to drink may not be sufficient to prevent dehydration, he noted — “particularly in situations where fluid loss is high or when conditions predispose individuals to dehydration.” 

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“Therefore, it’s advisable to drink fluids regularly throughout the day, even if thirst isn’t felt.”

It is possible to drink too much water, however, Mazur warned. 

Excessive water intake can lead to a condition called hyponatremia, where low sodium levels in the blood can be harmful. 

“Listen to your body and find a balance that works for you,” he advised.

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Health

Health weekend roundup: A mother's health mission, sleep-blocking foods, heat illnesses and more

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Health weekend roundup: A mother's health mission, sleep-blocking foods, heat illnesses and more

Fox News Digital publishes an array of health pieces all week long to keep you in the know on a range of wellness topics: health care access, innovative surgeries, cancer research, mental health trends and much more — plus, personal stories of people and families overcoming great obstacles.

Check out some top recent stories in Health as your weekend continues — and prep for the week ahead.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

These are just a few of what’s new, of course. 

There are many more to see at http://www.foxnews/health

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Utah mom fights for her daughter’s access to ‘life-saving’ medication

For Ruby Smart, 15, Levemir is the insulin medication that works best to control her type 1 diabetes — but the manufacturer is discontinuing it. 

Alison Smart is on a mission to protect her daughter’s access to the drug. Click here to get the story.

Utah mother Alison Smart (in green sweater, pictured with Ruby Smart, age 15) is fighting for her teenage daughter’s access to diabetes medicine. (Alison Smart/iStock)

CDC warns of extreme heat dangers

Is extreme heat a public health threat? 

Fox News Digital reports the findings in the latest Mortality & Morbidity Report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including a spike in emergency room visits due to heat-related illness. Doctors chime in on the potential risk. Click here to get the story.

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Thermometer - heat wave

Many regions across the United States experienced “record-breaking high temperatures” in 2023 due to extreme heat, according to the CDC. (iStock)

Surprising reason for sleep struggles

If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, you might be overlooking one important lifestyle factor. 

Two sleep specialists reveal essential ingredients for high-quality sleep. Click here to get the story.

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What you eat can have an impact on how well you sleep at night, experts say. (iStock)

The girl who can’t smile

Tayla Clement, 26, was born with a rare disorder that has made it impossible for her to smile — but she says she is grateful for it. 

The New Zealand woman discusses with Fox News Digital how she overcame trauma and learned to celebrate her differences. Click here to get the story.

Tayla Clement split image

Tayla Clement, born and raised in New Zealand, has Moebius syndrome, a neurological disease that affects one child out of every 50,000 to 500,000. (Tayla Clement)

‘Forever chemicals’ found in water across US

A new study found that higher amounts of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances) were found in drinking water in certain parts of the U.S. 

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Public health experts weigh in on the risks of the toxic chemicals. Click here to get the story.

Happy beautiful young woman drinking water

PFAS “hot spots” were concentrated in the Midwest, New England and the West Coast, the researchers found. (iStock)

Pick-me-ups to beat the midday slump

Is the “post-lunch coma” slowing down your productivity? 

A nutritional biologist shares six proven energy-boosters to to prevent post-meal fatigue. Click here to get the story.

Health weekend recap

This week’s health recap includes stories about heat hazards, a mother’s fight for her daughter’s diabetes medication, and a little-known disruption of healthy sleep. (iStock / Alison Smart)

Drinking pure orange juice is linked to surprising benefits

A new study found that people who drank 100% orange juice consumed fewer calories than those who drank a sugar-sweetened orange beverage. 

Nutritionists reacted to the findings. Click here to get the story.

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Americans need more sleep and less stress

Many U.S. adults are getting too little sleep and have too much stress, according to a new Gallup poll. 

Dr. Marc Siegel of New York and a sleep expert and behavioral scientist discuss the connection between disordered sleep and dangerous stress levels. Click here to get the story.

Tired woman at computer

The poll showed that 63% of Americans who reported wanting more sleep also “frequently experience stress.” (iStock)

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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Americans need more sleep, less stress, experts say, as Gallup poll reveals troubling findings

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Americans need more sleep, less stress, experts say, as Gallup poll reveals troubling findings

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Many Americans are getting too little sleep and have too much stress.

A new Gallup poll revealed 57% of adults would “feel better if they got more sleep,” while 42% said they get “as much sleep as they need.”

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These findings have nearly reversed in the last decade, Gallup noted in a press release. The last measurement in 2013 found that 56% of Americans got the sleep they needed while 43% did not.

LACK OF SLEEP COULD BE A FACTOR IN A ‘SILENT EPIDEMIC,’ EXPERTS WARN

Overall, however, Americans are getting fewer hours of sleep than they did in past decades.

In 1942, 59% of Americans were getting eight hours or more of sleep per night, while only 3% were getting five hours or less.

Fifty-seven percent of adults said they would “feel better if they got more sleep,” a new Gallup poll revealed. (iStock)

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In 2024, only 25% of Americans get an average of eight hours of sleep, and 20% reported sleeping for five or less.

Young women are the least likely to get enough sleep, according to the study — with 36% of females versus 48% of males reporting getting enough shuteye.

SLEEP DISORDERS AND SUICIDE: A MENTAL HEALTH EXPERT REVEALS THE CONCERNING LINK

Sleep amounts for both men and women showed “significant declines from previous readings in 2013 and 2004,” according to Gallup — and are the lowest measured for each group to date.

The decline was found across all age groups, although young adults between ages 18 and 29 saw the smallest difference.

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Stress-sleep connection

Gallup suggested that an uptick in stress could be driving this downward trend in sleep, as the American Psychological Association reports a “strong connection between stress and sleep quality.”

The poll showed that 63% of Americans who reported wanting more sleep also “frequently experience stress.”

Tired woman at computer

Women are most likely to frequently experience stress, the Gallup poll found. (iStock)

“Over the past 30 years, the number of Americans who are stressed has been on a steady incline after a sharp drop in 2003,” Gallup reported.

“The most recent data show that nearly half of all Americans, 49%, report frequently experiencing stress — up 16 points over the past two decades and the highest in Gallup’s trend to date.”

IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP BY OPTIMIZING 6 BIOMARKERS: ‘INTEGRAL TO HEALTH’

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Young women are also most likely to frequently experience stress, “exceeding men their age by 14 points,” according to Gallup.

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, confirmed this relationship between sleep and stress, calling it the “cycle of worry” during a Thursday appearance on “America’s Newsroom.”

dr. marc siegel on america's newsroom

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, discussed the relationship between sleep and stress during a Thursday appearance on “America’s Newsroom.” He noted that exposure to the blue light of smartphone screens can keep people awake, among other issues. (Fox News)

“They’re connected,” he said. 

“If you get more stressed, you don’t sleep; if you don’t sleep, you get more stressed.”

Siegel explained that “all of this spirals out of control,” since sleeplessness is often remedied with caffeine — yet caffeine “interferes with your sleep cycle.”

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“If you get more stressed, you don’t sleep; if you don’t sleep, you get more stressed.”

The same goes for drinking alcohol before bed to induce sleep, which “wears off and you wake up in the middle of the night,” the doctor warned. 

Exposure to the blue light of smartphone screens can keep people awake, Siegel said.

WANT TO BE A MORNING PERSON? THESE 6 EXPERT TIPS MAY GET YOU THERE

“All of this is very bad for health,” he said. “It leads to heart disease, it increases your risk of stroke, it causes you to gain weight.”

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For young women in particular, several factors could be causing them to lose sleep, including the use of social media, which can “feed anxiety,” Siegel said.

Man on phone

A potential fix to ending the sleep-stress cycle is practicing “sleep hygiene,” said one doctor, which includes sleeping in a dark room away from your cellphone. (iStock)

A potential fix for the sleep-stress cycle is practicing “sleep hygiene,” Siegel suggested, which includes sleeping in a dark room away from your cell phone.

“I treat stress and sleeplessness as the same thing,” he said. “That’s why I don’t believe in sleeping pills … You’re just covering up the problem.”

He added, “I want to get at why you’re worried and what I can do about the worry.”

SLEEPING WITH LIGHTS OFF AND CLOSED BLINDS MAY PROTECT YOUR HEALTH: STUDY

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Dr. Wendy Troxel, a Utah-based sleep expert and senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation, told Fox News Digital in an interview that stress levels have remained “very high” since the COVID pandemic.

“[For] populations navigating multiple demands, including young people who are going to school or starting new jobs in this topsy-turvy world, it’s understandable that they are experiencing increases in stress, and that’s manifesting increases in sleep disturbances,” she said.

dr. wendy troxel headshot

Dr. Wendy Troxel, senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation, is also the author of “Sharing the Covers: Every Couple’s Guide to Better Sleep” and scientific advisor for sleepfoundation.org. “As a culture,” she said, “we’ve become more aware of the importance of sleep over the past 10 years, which is a great thing.” (Diane Baldwin)

In some instances, Troxel pointed out, lack of sleep has been worn as a “badge of honor” to prove that people are busy or productive.

“But I think that that cultural misconception is starting to wane,” she said.

“The reality is, as a culture, we’ve just become more aware of the importance of sleep over the past 10 years, which is a great thing.”

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To break the “vicious cycle” of stress impacting sleep and vice versa, Troxel offered several tips, including maintaining a consistent sleep and wake schedule to ensure that stress doesn’t “invade your life.”

Incorporating a wind-down routine prior to bed can also bring down stress levels, the sleep expert noted.

These routines can involve relaxing activities such as deep breathing exercises, cuddling with a partner, journaling, doing gentle yoga or listening to music.

man meditates at night on his bed

Wind-down activities before bed can include deep breathing exercises, cuddling with a partner, journaling, doing gentle yoga or listening to music. (iStock)

“It’s just about finding something that you can ritualize and do on a nightly basis to set the stage … to put aside all the demands and stress of the day and prepare for winding down and [going] to sleep,” Troxel said.

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For people who wake up in the middle of the night due to stress, she advised getting out of bed, performing a wind-down activity and then returning to bed.

This technique, called stimulus control, prevents the brain from forming the habit of waking up at a certain time to ruminate on stressful thoughts.

“We all have occasional stress-related sleep disturbances, but if that starts happening night after night, it becomes habit-forming,” she said. 

“And that’s where we see more chronic problems like insomnia. So, if you see that happening, treat it as a habit that your brain is learning — and break it.”

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