keeping hydrated this summer
Did you know, that an adult human body is ~60% water! Keeping hydrated is important to maintain good health, this includes the prevention of constipation, cramp, and dry skin and for our kidney’s health. Water also has many functions, including transporting nutrients in our blood and removing waste products from our bodies.
The first signs of dehydration may be a dry mouth and feeling thirsty — it is important to listen to our body’s signals! The thing is, when you drink, this triggers your body to stop feeling thirsty until it recalibrates. Therefore, you may find you’re thirsty, you drink which satisfies your need, but then quite soon later you feel thirsty again — it is important to listen to this!
The colour of our wee is really the best indicator of our hydration levels; if you are drinking enough, it should be a straw or pale-yellow colour. If it is dark and concentrated, this suggests you are dehydrated. Other effects of dehydration include dizziness, poor concentration, and tiredness.
In hot weather, we are more likely to sweat and loss water more quickly and so very important that we replace it.
How can we keep hydrated?
1. DRINK ENOUGH FLUID. It is recommended for men to aim for 2000ml and women 1600ml of fluid throughout the day to avoid dehydration. *Please note*, this is a recommendation for average adults, and the amount each of us needs is also affected by our activity level, body size, pregnancy and lactation, and other external factors e.g., temperature, and humidity.
2. DRINK REGULARY THROUGHOUT THE DAY. Keep a water bottle on us. You could consider choosing a bottle with levels on it, so you know how much you have drunk during the day. Keep it on your desk/ in eye line to encourage you to drink sips throughout the day.
3. MAKE WATER TASTIER. Choose fizzy water, and infuse it with fruit and herbs such as berries and mint are cheap, simple, and effective ways of making water tastier!
4. REDUCE SALTY FOODS. Salt can cause us to become more dehydrated. This is because salt contains sodium, and to maintain our body’s sodium levels, it will bond excess salt with water and excrete it with urine. This means more salt, more wee, and more likely to become dehydrated.
5. FLUIDS THAT COUNT. Try to focus on water, but remember tea, coffee, and fruit juices all also contribute to our fluid intake. Interestingly, while tea and coffee contain caffeine which is known to have a diuretic effect (increases the amount of wee produced), research has shown this effect to only be very small.
6. LIMIT ALCOHOL. Alcohol may make the body pass more wee than usual and therefore increase the likelihood of getting dehydrated. It is a good idea to also drink water or low-sugar soft drinks if drinking alcohol.
7. KEEP COOL. Have a fan on you, stay in the shade, and wear a sunhat where possible.
8. LOOK OUT FOR THOSE AROUND US. If they are looking red in the face, sweaty, or dizzy that person may be getting too hot. And pay particular attention to those at increased risk of dehydration such as children and the elderly.