Stay hydrated for a healthy body and mind
Drinking an adequate amount of water each day is vital for mental and physical wellbeing. Consuming your daily quota of water - between 1.5 and 4 litres a day is the recommended guidance, on the higher side in extremely hot or humid climates or during physical exertion. Is there such a thing as drinking 'too much' water? Well yes, but most of us would never consume that much. Healthy kidneys can handle 3-4 cups of water per hour and our bodies excrete up to 20 litres per day.
Water is important for physical health, as well as state of mind and wellbeing. The same cannot be said of all drinks we consume. Drinking alcohol, caffeine and anything high in sugar, can have an adverse effect on hydration. Water though, is naturally perfect, just the way it is.
Good hydration supports:
- Cognitive function and brain health
- Better sleep
- General mood and wellbeing
- Skin hydration
- Organ functionality
- Body temperature
- Joint lubrication
- Prevention of infections
- Delivery of key nutrients to cells
- Removal of waste
Adequate hydration is important to all of us, some people are at a higher risk of dehydration than others and therefore need to be even more aware of the heat and how they are feeling.
Tip 1: Keep a water bottle handy.
By keeping a water bottle close to you at all times it's harder to 'forget' to have a drink. It also helps keep a mental note of how much you are drinking. Insulated bottles are a terrific idea in hot weather conditions to keep water cold. An ice cold drink of water is the perfect thirst-quencher on a hot day. Filtered is best, particularly in hard water areas. 'Pure water' has numerous proven health benefits.
Tip 2: Don't wait to feel thirsty before you have a drink.
If you feel thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated. A headache is a common sign of dehydration, as is a dry mouth, confusion or a lack of concentration. Drink little and often throughout the day. We humans often commonly mistake the sensation of thirst, for hunger, so drinking frequently can also keep you from overeating and on the right path to a healthy balanced diet.
Tip 3: Drink fresh fruit juices and vegetable juices.
Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content and can be a welcome change to water. Juicing your fruits and vegetables are a great way to give your digestive system a rest from processing fibre and solid foods, and it can also be a great way to combine superfoods into your diet. Try a banana, blueberry and natural yoghurt smoothie for example.
Tip 4: Try water alternatives.
Vary your drinks to incorporate other highly hydrating drinks into your diet. Coconut water, skimmed milk and herbal teas are all thirst-quenching and healthy. Flavonoid-rich green teas and black teas are also well-know for their superfood properties, reducing inflamation and build up of plaque in our arteries.
Tip 5: Flavour your water.
Make your pure water a little more interesting by adding a subtle flavour. Natural fruit is best, such as lemon, lime or strawberry. Investing in a diffuser bottle from the local supermarket is a good way to add flavour to your water. Almost like brewing a tea bag but instead of hot water use cold water and instead of the tea bag use a slice of fruit. Delicious.
Tip 6: Keep caffeine and alcohol to a minimum.
This one is obvious yet also easier said than done. Indulging in a couple of glasses of wine or one too many cups of coffee won't hurt for one day, but long term consumpton will lead to dehydration and health concerns. Water is always best.
Water makes up more than half of a person’s body weight. Babies, children and the elderly are most at risk from dehydration, which can occur quite rapidly. Whether you are making a conscious effort to stay hydrated yourself or if you care for someone with a higher risk of dehydration, have a glass of water and make them one too.
Remember to drink plenty all year round, but particularly in this hot humid weather (when even the recent hailstorm doesn't appear to have cleared the humidity). Stay hydrated, stay healthy and look out for vulnerable people around you.