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Article written by Talkington Bates’ Nutritionist, Hebe Richardson

Why is it important to keep hydrated?

Our bodies are largely made up with water, that is vital for functions such as regulating temperature, transporting nutrients, removing waste as well as to protect our joints. Every day, water is lost through the skin, sweat, urine and breathing.

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Dehydration occurs when we lose more fluid than we take in. It’s not always easy to tell when we are dehydrated, but it can often cause headaches, tiredness and a loss of

concentration. The main indicator of dehydration is thirst, if you’re feeling thirsty there is a very good chance you need to drink something.

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How much should we be drinking?

The amount of water we need is dependent on many things such as the weather, physical activity levels and age.

However, in general we are recommended between 6-8 glasses of fluid a day. This doesn’t just need to be from water, although this is the most effective. It can also include things like lower-fat milk and sugar-free drinks such as tea and coffee.

Things to note

• Tea and coffee can also count towards your fluid intake, however, due to the caffeine content they contain they can make us produce more urine.

• Similarly, alcohol can also have a diuretic effect, causing us to lose more water in urine. Drinking too much can lead to dehydration.

• Energy and sports drinks can also contain variable amounts of caffeine and sugar. They can be useful for high-endurance sports but not for everyday use.

• Fruit juices and smoothies can also be useful for

hydration as well as providing us with some vitamins and minerals. It’s recommended we have around 150ml a day, which counts as one portion of our 5-a-day, and helps to prevent too much damage to our teeth.

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Top tips for keeping hydrated throughout the day

1. Keep water near you - whether it’s a bottle at your desk, in your bag or at work.

2. Pay more attention if it’s hot or you’re exercising. In times like these it’s more important to drink more to avoid dehydration and account for the extra fluid losses.

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3. Make it more interesting - flavouring water is a great way to make it more exciting and palatable, this could be with fruit, herbs or flavoured ice cubes.

4. It doesn’t just have to be water - tea, coffee, milk can all help towards keeping us hydrated.

5. Although we get most of our fluid from liquids, some does also come from the food we eat. Some foods, such as fruit and vegetables have a higher water content as well as dishes such as soups and stews which can provide extra water content.


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