The H2HOw and why drinking water is important

By Sarah Noone Nutrition News   |   17th Jan 2020

For the general healthy population keeping hydrated is one of the simplest things you can do for your health- here are some top tips on ways to drink more water

As a major constituent of the body, water has a number of functions including, transporting nutrients throughout the body and compounds in blood, helping digestion, removing waste products that are passed in the urine, controlling body temperature and keeping bowels regular. Water is also essential for the body to send electrical messages between cells – for example, to allow organs to function, muscles to contract and relax and eyes to focus.

Drinking enough fluid can also help to keep hunger at bay and prevent overeating, this is because the body can confuse hunger and thirst signals.

It is recommended that women should drink about 1.6 litres and men about 2 litres of water per day. That’s about eight glasses of 200ml each for a woman, and 10 glasses of 200ml each for a man. However, you will need to drink more if you are exercising or if it’s hot i.e. if you are sweating more.

The easiest way to tell if you’re drinking enough is to check the colour of your urine; if it’s pale straw then you’re drinking enough if it is any darker then you need to drink more to flush out your body’s waste products. Thirst is a sign that you are already dehydrated, which means you need to increase your fluid intake.

Here are my top five tips to help you stay hydrated:

1) Why not try infusing your water with some nice fruit combinations such as lemon and mint, cucumber and strawberry, raspberries, blueberries or lemon and lime.
2) Keeping a bottle of water with you at all times is an easy way to keep your fluid levels topped up during the day.
3) Fruit up your ice cubes – Why not try making flavoured ice cubes (freeze ice with lemon or lime wedges, mint leaves, strawberry pieces or other fruits for flavour) or alternatively freeze fruit pieces in a food bag and add to water as needed.
4) Keep it chilled – Something as simple as having water chilled can make the difference in helping to encourage you to drink more water. So why not try keeping either a jug of water in the fridge or even freezing some of your water bottle the night before and topping up with fresh water in the morning.
5) Take it hot – Tea and coffee do count towards your daily fluid intake. While it’s true that caffeine has a diuretic effect (triggers the body to produce more urine, increasing fluid loss), overall there is always a net fluid gain due to the water contained in the hot drinks. However, these drinks need to be balanced with other fluids that don’t contain caffeine throughout the day. Why not try decaffeinated tea or coffee or herbal tea to increase your fluid intake?

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