If you're trying to drink more water but find yourself reaching for a soft drink instead, maybe it's time to give carbonated water a try. Sometimes referred to as a healthful alternative to soda, carbonated water is plain water with dissolved carbon dioxide. Not only is carbonated water a good way to stay hydrated, but it may also improve indigestion and constipation.
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You may not think of water as a nutrient, but it is essential for good health. Water keeps you hydrated, is necessary for moving nutrients throughout your body, keeps you feeling full between meals and reduces fluid retention. Most Americans don't drink enough water, according to dietitian Sheila Tucker from Boston College. The amount of water you need to drink each day depends on age, gender, food choices, activity, weather and health conditions. In general, you should aim for 1 quart of water for every 50 pounds of body weight, or 3 quarts a day for a 150-pound person. Adding carbonated water to your drinking routine may help you meet your daily fluid needs to stay hydrated.
If you're feeling a little sick to your stomach after eating, drinking a glass of carbonated water might help, according to a 2002 study published in the "European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology." Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a term used to describe a variety of symptoms that occur in the upper abdominal area and may include bloating, nausea, vomiting or quickly feeling full after eating. The researchers of the study do not explain how carbonated water helps.
The same 2002 study also found an improvement in constipation in the study participants who drank carbonated water. When you're dealing with constipation, you know to up your intake of foods high in fiber. But getting enough fluids is as important as fiber when it comes to constipation. Fluids, such as carbonated water, help the fiber work better in your gut and make stools normal and regular.
Jazzing Up Fizzy Water
Carbonated water is a little more exciting than still water, but if you're a soda drinker trying to make the transition to the healthier beverage, jazzing it up with some flavor enhancers might help. Add a spritz of lemon or lime to your fizzy water for a touch of flavor. If that's not enough, mix in a little juice, such as cranberry or orange, for a little sweetness. You can also make flavored carbonated drinks with slices of orange or cucumber or sprigs of mint.