Water does a pretty good job of hydrating the human body, but surprisingly, it’s actually not the ideal beverage for hydration.
According to research conducted at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, milk is superior because it contains lactose, as well as some protein and fat. These nutrients help to slow the process of fluid emptying from the stomach, keeping the body hydrated for longer. Additionally, the sodium found in milk helps the body retain liquid and results in less urine being produced.
Contrary to popular belief, plenty of other beverages besides water are good at providing hydration, including coffee, soft drinks, beer, and orange juice. So although sufficient hydration is vital for keeping joints lubricated, preventing infections and delivering nutrients to cells, how you hydrate is less important.
Stay hydrated, however you do it:
- The researchers tested 13 beverages and ranked their hydrating effectiveness. Skim milk topped the list, followed by oral rehydration solutions. Next came whole milk, orange juice, cola, tea, and sports drinks.
- The bottom of the list, in order: tap water, sparkling water, lager and coffee. In moderate quantities, coffee can be just as hydrating as water, although consuming excess caffeine has a diuretic effect.
- However, the researchers say that when given the choice between soda and water, go with the water. The liver and kidneys count on water to flush out toxins from the body and maintain the skin’s suppleness.