With the long summer season ahead of us, it's very pivotal for us all to make sure we stay hydrated as we go about our activities. Drinking enough water is an important part of our health and wellness - we've shared practical information to help you understand why hydrating is important and how to avoid dehydration:
Did you know that water makes up about 60% of the human body and helps in keeping us healthy?
Water plays a vital role in:
- Regulating body temperature
- Transporting nutrients and compounds around the body
- Removing waste passed through urine
- Digestion and in keeping bowel movements regular
We lose water when we sweat, urinate and when breathing. To avoid becoming dehydrated, it is important that fluids be replaced regularly throughout the day.
1. How to tell if you’re dehydrated!
Inadequate fluid intake overtime → increases dehydration risk
Signs of mild dehydration:
- Dry and sticky mouth
- Poor concentration
- General weakness and feelings of fatigue
The key indicator used to monitor hydration:
- Urine colour - to get an idea of your overall hydration status, monitor the colour of your urine first thing in the morning.
2. How much water do we need?
The amount of water needed varies from person to person and is based on temperature, humidity, fitness and exercise.
The recommended fluid intake for adults (both men and women)
Does the type of drink matter?
- Water - it contains no added sugars and is calorie-free - water is best!
- Milk - it contains an array of important nutrients and is a source of water.
- Tea and coffee - both count towards fluid intake, but contain caffeine.
- Fruit juice - provides water and other nutrients but is high in added sugar.
- Soft drinks - aim to limit as soft drinks are high in added sugar and empty calories.
- Alcohol - most alcoholic drinks result in more water being lost in the urine and can lead to dehydration.
- Food - eating food such as soups, stews, fruit and vegetables can account for around 20% of our daily fluid intake.
3. Tips for staying hydrated
- Make sure your water bottle is close: having a water bottle (1,5-2 litres) handy makes it easier to meet your daily fluid recommendation
- Include watery foods: include foods that have a higher water content like watermelon, cucumbers, ice-burg lettuce and strawberries
- Create your own flavoured drink: before turning to flavoured drinks (high in added sugar), try infusing your water with a variety of herbs and fruit
- Don't wait until you’re extremely thirsty: extreme thirst can be an early sign of dehydration, rather drink fluids regularly throughout the day
- Set water goals: setting targets for water intake throughout the day can help in achieving your fluid recommendations for the day