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Bitesize nutrition - Water intake and hydration

Our bodies are made up of 50-60% water. Without it, humans can only survive 2 to 3 days. Water has many functions in the body including transporting nutrients, removing waste and regulating temperature.

For a healthy, hydrated, functioning, energized body, adults should drink about 6 to 8 glasses of water per day - depending on activity level. Avoid drinking too many soft drinks and juices as they can be very high in sugar and chemical sweeteners, which can be harmful to the teeth, liver and digestive system. Aim for your liquid intake to come mainly from water.

 

Dehydration

Continuous low water intake can lead to dehydration which, even at a mild level, can have various ill effects including:

  • headaches
  • low energy levels
  • digestive complaints
  • fatigue
  • poor concentration.

How to increase your water intake

  • Invest in a reusable (metal) water bottle and carry it with you.
  • Avoid using plastic bottles as the chemicals can potentially leak into your water.
  • Try flavouring it with mint leaves, sliced lemon or lime, or ginger to give it a fresh taste.
  • In the winter, if you struggle with cold water, replace with herbal teas, green or black tea. Avoid high sugar or sweetened drinks.
  • Eat more fresh fruit and veg as the water content is high!
  • Set a reminder on your phone for the first few weeks, until it becomes a habit.
  • Start early in the day; drinking late can disturb your sleep pattern if you need to get up in the night.

Further information

The British Nutrition Foundation has published a Healthy Hydration Guide here.

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