Water makes up about 60% of your body to keep you functioning. We lose water through sweat, dehydration and urine and the only way to replace these stores is to drink more fluids.
Water prevents constipation, flushes out toxins, helps alertness and concentration, improves energy levels, keeps us fuller for longer, builds our immune system, boosts our brain function, regulates all our internal systems, prevents dry skin and most of all our cells within the human body would not survive without water.
So how much water should we be aiming for?
The amount of water you require is dependent on your body constitution, age, sex, physical activity levels, and on environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity. Food provides about 20% of your fluid intake and The Eatwell Guide recommends around 6-8 glasses of fluid per day.
What types of fluids can I drink?
Drinking water is the best as it contains no added sugar & no calories. Milk is a good source of calcium and other nutrients-opt for semi skimmed milk or fortified unsweetened dairy free milk. Tea or coffee is included in your fluid intake, however, watch out for the caffeine intake which can make you produce more urine. Herbal teas are a great alternative if you want to reduce your caffeine intake.
Fruit juices and smoothies: limit to 150ml glass counts which counts towards one of your 5-a-day. Fruit and vegetables also contain water and if you make soups and stews, water is added during cooking
Fizzy drinks, squashes, flavoured water and juice based drinks contain a lot of added sugar which adds calories and can also damage teeth if consumed frequently so try and reduce consumption
Alcohol causes you to lose more water and become more dehydrated, it also contains a high number of calories.
Tips to increase your fluid intake
• Always carry a water bottle with you and top up
• Opt for herbal teas
• Make your own smoothies and juices and dilute with water
• Opt for no added sugar squash
• Sip water throughout the day
• Tune in and check whether you are thirsty instead of hungry
• When you go to the toilet make sure your urine is pale/clear if it is dark yellow you may need to drink more water