Importance of staying hydrated

They say its important to stay hydrated and the recommended amount of water you should consume daily is 8 glasses. As this week is Nutrition and & Hydration Week, what better time than to dig deeper into why it's important to stay hydrated, and a few tips to keeping you on track.
Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: 
  • regulate body temperature
  • keep joints lubricated
  • prevent infections
  • deliver nutrients to cells
  • and keep organs functioning properly.
Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, mood and keeps our skin healthy. Fluid is so important in the body that even when levels drop only slightly, we begin to feel the consequences. You get most of the fluid you need from drinks, but some comes from the foods you eat, such as soups, stews, fruit and vegetables. Low levels of fluid in the body can cause headaches, feelings of dizziness, lethargy, poor concentration and a dry mouth. Over a longer term, dehydration can cause constipation and can be associated with urinary tract infections and the formation of kidney stones.
As a basic guide, most adults need about 2 to 2.5 litres of fluid a day. If a mug is around 250ml and a medium glass about 200ml, then that means drinking about 10 glasses or mugs of fluid a day. Children need less and pregnant women need a little more. 
You need to make sure the amount of fluid your body loses each day is replaced by the fluids you drink or get from food. This will stop you getting dehydrated. You lose about 1.5 litres of fluid a day when you pee, about 200ml in your poo and about 500ml when you sweat. You also lose fluid just by breathing.
The exact amount of fluid you need depends on things like:
  • Your age – as you get older your body stores less water and your kidneys don’t work as well as they once did.
  • The amount of physical activity you do – the more exercise you do, the more you need to drink.
  • The climate and your environment – you need to drink more if it's hot and you're sweating a lot or if you’re in a warm house or office with either central heating or air conditioning. Both air conditioning and central heating can dry the air.
  • If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding – you’re more likely to develop constipation, so you need to drink more.
So, how can you tell if you're dehydrated? There aren’t many signs that tell you when you’re dehydrated. One is feeling thirsty. But having a drink gets rid of the feeling of thirst before your body is completely rehydrated.
Another way to tell if you need to drink more is to look at how often you’re peeing and what colour it is. If you’re drinking enough, your pee should be pale yellow. If you don’t need to go as often as usual, you only pass a small amount each time and it's dark in colour, it’s likely that you’re dehydrated.

How to stay hydrated

Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the mornings. Or take a drink while you are brewing that morning coffee or tea.
Carry a water bottle with you
You are more likely to drink water if it is with you. It is also cheaper to fill up your water bottle throughout the day than buying bottles of water.
Flavour your water
Adding a few lemon slices, strawberries, or cucumbers to your water can add a whole new taste. Try adding frozen blueberries as ice cubes.
Take water breaks
Take a few sips of water between work tasks, or go for a walk to the water foundation for a mental break throughout the day.
Eat your water
Staying hydrated is not all about beverages, your body is able to absorb water from the foods that we eat. Foods that have a high water percentage include cantaloupe, strawberries, spinach, watermelon, peaches, bell peppers, and cucumbers.
There is an app for that
In the world of smart phones, there are apps for just about everything. Find an app that works for you, and track your water intake. Trackers also keep you accountable.
Sip before snack
Before you raid the fridge, try taking a sip instead. Sometimes our bodies feel hungry, but we are actually dehydrated.





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