Updated: Jun 13, 2018
Apparently we're in for a long hot summer this year, I'll believe that when I see it! While proper #hydration is important all year round, it's even more so in the warmer weather. Do you drink enough? Dehydration can affect performance, cognitive ability and mood. Some of the obvious signs of dehydration are: Dry mouth Increased thirst Constipation Dark yellow urine However, there are other side effects of dehydration such as: Bad breath Dry skin Muscle cramps Fatigue Lower blood pressure Headaches Nice! The Eatwell Guide recommends we drink 6-8 glasses of fluid a day. But, how big is a glass? Other studies say 2-3 litres a day. So what's right? The answer is it varies, by person, by activity level, by climate. So how do you know how much to drink? I take the advice of Dr John Briffa (who's awesome by the way) who says that the trick is to drink enough fluid to ensure that your urine colour stays pale yellow throughout the whole of the day. If you do this you should be on track. You can drink any fluid, not just water, (don't get excited, alcohol isn't included in that) however it's important to make sensible choices over what to drink. Squash, herbal teas and even milk all count, but some drinks contain a lot of sugar and calories and others may contain a lot of caffeine, which is a diuretic, so the more fluid you take in the form of water the better really. Plus we are lucky enough for it to be very readily available! If you hate water then try adding some mint, a slice of lemon or other fruit to flavour it. Or try some coconut water (but watch out for that added sugar). Drinking little and often is the key so make sure you always have a drink with you. Invest in a good refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water, it will save you money and it's better for the environment.
Also consider your diet and whether you can eat more water rich foods such as cucumber, tomatoes, oranges, pineapple etc. Soups and smoothies can also be a good source of fluids. It all helps supplement the amount you're drinking.
If you drink a lot of alcohol this will dehydrate you so bear that in mind when you're out on the town. If possible try and alternate between soft drinks and alcoholic drinks to help limit the impact. Sounds easy until you've had a few and forget though, so don't worry if you don't, just make sure you drink plenty of fluid the next day!
I definitely used to struggle with drinking enough and I feel so much better for changing that. Once you get in the habit of it you notice much more when you're thirsty or starting to feel dehydrated which makes it much easier to drink when you need to. If you think you're guilty of not drinking enough try increasing your fluid intake and see how you feel, it might surprise you. (Do remember it's possible to drink too much water so don't take it from one extreme to another! If you currently drink very little then try building up your fluid intake over a few days to give your body time to adjust. And accept that you will pee more!)
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