How safe are the flavoured water – a medical elucidation
Flavoured water is made by adding herbal extracts of pudhina, thulasi leaves to lemon, apple, orange, grapes juices. The juice will be tasty. Many drink these kinds of juices because there are additional nutritive values due to herbs. But what the fact actually is?
One can sustain life without food but it is impossible to live without water. The water content of the body should be maintained properly for the organs to function well and also for the well-being of every organism, including human beings. Therefore, the doctors advise us to ‘drink adequate amount of water every day’. Instead of drinking tasteless potable water, most of us are desirous of drinking juice, coffee, tea, cool drinks that add taste to the liquid they drink. Flavoured water is one such drinking item that is included in the list of those who wish to have tasty drinks.
What is meant by flavoured water?
Chemically, water has no taste or colour. It gains the colour and taste being added to it. Our ancestors used to follow traditional practices of adding lemon, puthina (mint), cumin, vettiver, nannari, korai kizhangu, athimathuram, cardamom to water and drink it. Even today, it is a practice keenly followed in Kerala and Nagarkoil, to mix cumin seeds in water and drink it. By drinking those added flavours there is an increase of medicinal values as well as unique taste to the water we drink. The flavoured water is only an innovative presentation of those traditional practices.
Herbs such as puthina, thulasi are added to juices like lemon, apple, orange and grapes, thus flavoured water is prepared. It tastes good and carried some nutrients with it. Many buy and drink them hoping that they can serve as health drinks.
We enquired Sangeetha Nataraja, an Expert Dietician, about the facts of those flavoured drinks, whether they could serve as health drinks, or could they be an alternative for cool drinks or do they cause any ill effects to our well-being.
“It is enough if we continue to drink adequate amount of water daily so that all wastes in the body are excreted thereby increasing one’s wellbeing. Diseases will not bother us. There won’t be any dehydration as well. The newly arrived flavoured water is added with vitamins and anti-oxidants that are required for our body. Protein also added in some of the flavoured waters. Ordinary potable water will have minerals only. As flavoured waters are added with essential nutrients required for our body they are better than ordinary water. Moreover, cool drinks will have more sugar and caffeine content that are not good for our health. But flavoured waters do not carry those harmful contents and that’s what they claim to be.
Thirst will not get satiated by having cool drinks. It will only increase dehydration. Therefore, flavoured waters are excellent alternatives for cool drinks. But some companies add sugars and preservatives and sell them under the label of ‘flavoured water’. If one continues to drink them for long, there is a possibility that it may lead to obesity, and also causing high blood pressure. So, it is important to check its label when you buy flavoured waters. If their ingredients include sugars, preservatives and other approved chemicals, it is better to avoid those drinks. They are not fit to be used for drinking. Instead of buying those kind of harmful drinks at high cost it is better to have ordinary drinking water being added with fruits and herbal products by preparing them at home itself”.
The present generation tend to think that ‘the water that is procured with high cost is the best water’, without checking whether it is good or bad for one’s health. Currently, the business of packed water like, water packets, bottled water, can water and purified water, is growing phenomenally high. Those who are used to mineral or RO water, do not wish to drink Metro water or bore well water. When the conditions are so precarious one should be cautious to have flavoured water at high cost as it would be difficult to relinquish the habit later on.
(This article written in Tamil by G Lakshmanan has been transcreated by V Amalan Stanley)