Drink more water. Pretend you're a parched, miserly houseplant. - (12/27/2022)

By Dr. Ron Gasbarro

Mitch, 62, was in the pharmacy when he came up to the pharmacist and asked, “Doc, can you break this ten-spot? I need it for the Pepsi machine.” Since the pharmacist observed that Mitch was already holding a can of Pepsi, he replied, “Sure. Are you really that thirsty?” “My physician told me to stay hydrated because of my age.” “Great advice!” said the pharmacist. “If you’re hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.” The pharmacist went on to explain that keeping the body hydrated helps the heart pump blood through the circulatory system more easily. This helps the muscles work efficiently. You may have fewer agonizing Charlie horses at 4 am. 

Mitch continued. “So, I decided that soda pop was the way to go. Tap water is so boring!” Tap water may be dull,” the pharmacist admitted. “But it is the best (and cheapest) way to hydrate yourself.” Water is simple: 2 hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom. Soda pop, conversely, contains long-chain carbohydrates, which are really sugar molecules. The average person probably gets enough carbs from the foods they eat. Hence, the liver converts the carbs to fat, which may be a problem for Mitch, who is already a little chunky. “I could stand to lose a few tons,” Mitch joked. “And all the Pepsi cuts into my budget.”

The pharmacist went on to explain that sodas are replete with excessive amounts of salt – not good for one’s blood pressure – as well as caffeine, which will kick up your heart rate. Also, soda pop contains highly acidic carbonation – not good for your teeth, esophagus, and other organs that must take time and energy to neutralize the acidity so that they can survive. 

“What about those sports drinks I see advertised?” Mitch asked. “At three bucks a bottle?” the pharmacist responded. “Mitch, are you running a marathon? Sure, those products contain electrolytes, which make the body sweat out during heavy workouts. What workouts do you do?” “Well, I do walk Roscoe, our Basset Hound, around the block two or three times a day!” “Until the Olympic Committee calls you, don’t even think about sports drinks. Some research even shows that they are no better for athletes than plain water. And they are a ‘drain’ on your wallet. Get it?”

“Very funny. And again, with the tap water, Doc? You just like it because it’s free, you old cheapskate!” Mitch laughed. “Yes, that’s part of it,” the pharmacist replied. “I don’t appreciate the zippy bottles or the advertising promises when I get to the checkout line at the market. On top of that, researchers recommend that we should drink eight glasses of water a day. I refuse to pay for the amount of flavored water I would need. Plain water is simply the best.”  

“So, you are sort of like a houseplant,” Mitch kidded. “Yes! A miserly, dry as a bone plant that needs constant water to stay alive.” The pharmacist told Mitch that staying hydrated keeps him thinking better, helps him keep his weight down, lubricates his joints, makes his GI track work efficiently without constipation or gas, and a great body detoxifier, washing out all the toxins and gunk you do not want. “Also, remember that anything with alcohol is dehydrating, even 4% beer. If water continues to bore you, Mitch, you can try fruit juices, vegetable juices, and smoothies. Just watch the salt and sugar in those drinks.”

“Well, I guess I have a lot of options,” Mitch admitted. “You have convinced me that sodas are not the best way to go if I want to stay hydrated.” “Mitch, your body is about 60% water; your blood is over 90%,” said the pharmacist. “During the dry and cold winter months, keeping your water levels high is mostly up to you, whichever beverage you choose.”  

Ron Gasbarro, PharmD, is a recovering pharmacist and writer-in-residence at Rx-Press.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

Show All News Headlines

Click Here For HowToTakePills© Archive