The benefits of drinking enough water and ensuring adequate hydration are endless. Advantages include improved energy levels and brain function, supple skin, healthy digestion, enhanced physical performance, as well as fewer headaches, constipation and urinary tract infections (cystitis). Keeping hydrated really is the one of the simplest and most beneficial things you can do for your body.
Drinking enough fluid can also help to keep hunger at bay and prevent overeating; this is because the body can often confuse hunger and thirst signals. So the next time that you feel hungry an hour or so after your meal, try having a drink of water before reaching for a snack, to check that you don’t just need to drink more. And, if you’re trying to lose weight, have a glass of water before your next meal as it will help to fill you up!
In general, it is recommended to drink at least eight 200ml glasses or 1.6 litres of fluid per day. These amounts are however only estimates and you will need to drink more if you are exercising, if it’s hot i.e. if you are sweating more or if you feel thirsty. Thirst however, is unfortunately a sign that you are already dehydrated, which means you need to up your daily fluid intake.
Another way to check your hydration level is by checking the colour of your urine; the darker it is the more dehydrated you are, and so you need to drink more to flush out your body’s waste products that are naturally produced. You should aim for your urine to be a pale straw colour. Other signs of dehydration include headaches, a lack of energy and feeling lightheaded.
Here are my top 5 tips on how to drink more water which will ultimately help you to keep hydrated and stay energised throughout the day!
If you’re organised then you may remember to take a reusable bottle of water as you leave the house, but if not, don’t forget to buy one! Look for bottles of water that are 100% recyclable and even better, are made from recycled plastic* such as Harrogate Spring Water. Water is not only calorie free but it’s sugar free too, meaning it’s kind to teeth as well.
If you’re after something a bit more exciting than plain water, why not try sparkling for a change. I personally love sparkling water with lemon or lime slices and always order it when eating out instead of cola or lemonade or as a side with wine!
Why not add some of your favourite pieces of fruit to your water to add some natural flavour? My favourite fruit based infusion combinations are:
1. Strawberry, basil & cucumber – it’s so refreshing!
2. Fresh raspberries – simple yet effective
3. Blueberries (lightly crushed before adding) – add fresh mint leaves for a twist!
4. Lemon, mint & cucumber – it’s delicious!
Make water more interesting by adding a fruity ice-cube; either add pieces of lemon to your ice-cube tray before filling with water, or simply chop the lemon into pieces and freeze them in a food bag before adding directly to water when needed. And for the weekend, you can always add a frozen grape or two to wine to keep it cool too!
If you don’t have access to a freezer, keeping a jug of water in the fridge can also help you to drink more, as chilled water is often more palatable. And don’t forget, fruits high in water such as watermelon also count towards your fluid intake!
5) Go HOT: It’s a myth that moderate amounts of tea and coffee dehydrate you. Whilst it’s true that caffeine has a slight diuretic effect, overall there is always a net fluid gain thanks to the water that you have with it. Aim to have a mixture of different types of teas and coffees throughout the day i.e. alternating decaffeinated with caffeinated and trying different herbal teas, as most are a source of antioxidants and are low in calories too.
I really hope that these tips on staying hydrated help you to drink more water – and I would love to know if you have any more tips!
*All of Harrogate Spring Water Bottles are made from 50% recycled content and are 100% recyclable.
Photos by @fieldsphotographylondon
Find out more about Nic at her website or on her social channels @Nicsnutrition