Drink up … the importance of good hydration
With the warmer days of spring upon us and summer just around the corner (yay!), we’re turning our attention to the importance of hydration. 60% of the human body is water and studies have shown that being even 1% dehydrated can negatively affect cognitive performance. Poor hydration can cause headaches, fatigue, low blood pressure, slowed reaction time, cramps, skin problems, irritability and it can affect how well you sleep. So we’ve put together some tips to ensure that you stay well-hydrated.
First things first, how much should you be drinking? Conventional wisdom is that adults need 6 to 8 glasses (1.5 to 2 litres) of fluid per day for adequate hydration. Children aged between 4 and 8 should drink around 1.2 litres per day. Kids under 4 need less but you should keep drinks available and encourage them to sip regularly, especially in warm weather or when they are very active.
If you struggle to drink enough because you find plain water boring, we have some good news; all drinks (apart from alcohol) count towards your daily fluid intake. To make water more interesting try adding fruit slices, herbs, frozen berries, citrus or cucumber for an infused water. Leaving fruit and herbs to infuse in water gives it a delicious flavour and is super-easy to do. Add fruit or herbs to a jug and top with plain water and refrigerate. You can even make an infusion straight in your drink bottle. Infused water will need 3 to 4 hours in the fridge to develop the flavour, or if you prefer a stronger flavour leave it in the fridge overnight. You can also try adding whole spices, like cinnamon sticks to water for a real depth of flavour. If your children are fussy about drinking water, try gently mashing some raspberries and adding to a jug of water. Leave it overnight in the fridge and the next day you’ll have a deep pink drink that the kids will love.
A word of caution for tea and coffee lovers – although both do contribute to your fluid intake, they do contain caffeine which acts as a diuretic meaning that they are less effective at hydrating you. And if you have kids, monitor their intake of fruit juice as too much can cause tooth decay. Children should have a maximum of 150 ml of fruit juice per day as part of their fluid intake.
Sometimes people don’t drink enough because they get busy and simply forget to drink. If this is you, try taking a reusable water bottle with you everywhere so that you can sip throughout the day. Also get into the habit of having a glass of water every time you eat. Remember too that eating fruit and vegetables is another way to increase your fluid intake as their high-water content contributes to your daily fluid intake.