Staying well-hydrated is important for a wide variety of reasons, and not just in the heat of the summer months. Dehydration can be serious, so making sure you take in enough fluids is vital. Adults should drink about 1.2 litres a day, which equates to about 6-8 glasses of fluid and includes more than just water. Whether you’re sipping on fresh fruit juices or a mug of tea, all non-alcoholic fluids help boost your hydration levels and keep your body working at its best.
How good hydration helps
Being well-hydrated helps with a number of things. For starters, it helps maintain a healthy body temperature and keeps your vital organs functioning properly. Having plenty of fluids in your system also helps deliver nutrients to your cells, keeps joints lubricated and prevents infections. People who get enough to drink also enjoy better quality of sleep, have better brain function and enjoy a boost to mood, all of which help you feel better mentally as well as physically.
We all lose water through sweating, so it stands to reason that the more fluids you lose, the more you will need to replace. Keeping well-hydrated during hot weather or when working out are particularly important. Drinking water also aids with weight loss because it acts as an appetite suppressant and increases your metabolism, speeding up digestion.
While many people are tempted by the 'zero calorie' claims of some fizzy drinks, it's important to remember they are still unhealthy. While they may be sugar-free, that sugar is replaced by sweeteners and other chemicals such as preservatives and flavourings, which are as bad - if not worse - for your health. Water is the only truly 'free-from', zero calorie drink.
Hydration top tips
To stay hydrated, try to drink consistently throughout the day, rather than downing a bottle of water in one go. It’s easiest to set yourself certain times when you’ll have a sip of water, perhaps grabbing a glass on the hour while you’re at work. You could also try drinking from a flask which has measurements marked on it, to ensure you’re hitting your daily intake and staying well topped-up throughout the day.
Don’t be fooled by the lure of your favourite fruit juice of sugary drink, instead try flavoured water: try a strawberry and mint mix or the classic lemon juice.
It's also a good idea to have a glass of water before each meal. Not only does this help with digestion but it also aids in mediating “bored” hungers. Rather than nibbling on snacks, reach for a glass of water as you're waiting for your lunch to heat up or for the waiter to bring you your order.
Hydration is key to feeling on top form physically and mentally. Try to avoid drinks with additives and extra sugar, as well as over-indulging in too many smoothies. Water is best, but other low-calorie drinks such as teas and coffees can also help throughout the day. Don’t risk dehydration – keep sipping and stay safe!