Hydration: Health and Habits

Published by Sydney O'Connor on

In this weeks nutrition cafe, Anne-Marie walked us through the topic of hydration, why it’s important, and how to avoid dreaded dehydration.

Why is it important to be hydrated?

  • Regulates temperature 
  • Lubricates joints 
  • Transport nutrients 
  • Helps fiber to do its job 

This is particularly important to be aware of as we age, since we tend to develop a reduced awareness of thirst and our total body water levels also reduce. Also, some medications we may be taking affect fluid balance.  

Sometimes, we can be experiencing symptoms of dehydration that we don’t associate with our hydration levels. These include:

  • Poor oral health 
  • Kidney stones 
  • Constipation 
  • Dizziness 
  • Poor memory 
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased risk of urinary tract infections 

Being more hydrated might not be a cure all to these, but a glass of water won’t hurt!

How to tell if you’re dehydrated

Our body is constantly and subconsciously trying to communicate of physical needs to is. When we’re dehydrated we might experience:

If you’re experiencing any of these physical signs and they do relate to your dehydration levels, this is not good, as it means you’re already dehydrated! 

How to avoid dehydration

Anne-Marie highlighted two things you can easily incorporate into your routine to avoid dehydration. They are:

  1. Check hydration of urine in the morning
  2. Drink water when you first wake up 

When it comes to checking your urine for hydration levels, we’re looking for somewhere between a 1 and a 3 on the chart below:

What is adequate water intake?

You may have heard that we should be looking to consume 6-8 glasses of water per day. More precisely guidelines suggest 2L for men and 1.6L for women, on average.

But this can vary from person to person, and day to day, depending on the weather and your activity levels amongst other factors, so Anne-Marie suggested you’re best off using urine colour as an indicator, and drinking often.  

“What if I don’t like water?”, I hear you ask. Other liquids do in fact contribute to our hydration levels, for example:

  • Juice
  • Milk- especially good as it contains electrolytes which help with fluid balance 
  • Smoothies
  • Teas
  • Soup

Fruit and vegetables can be a great source of hydration because they also contain essential nutrients and fibre (which we know is important from previous sessions!). Check out the table below to see the water content of some fruits and vegetables

Anne-Marie’s Top Hydration Tips:

Anything that is a visual prompt to drink water will help you drink more throughout the day, for example:

  • Put a cup of water out for the morning before you sleep 
  • Keep a cup nearby 
  • Keep a glass of water by the side of your bed

Or you could also help make it a habit, by incorporating things you usually do with drinking water:

  • Drinking when you first wake up
  • Taking a drink with you to bed
  • Having a drink with each meal

This week’s recipe

Since soups contribute to our hydration levels, this week’s recipe is:

Lentil And Sweet Potato Soup

Not only will it hydrate you, but this rich in nutrients and fibre from the veggies, and is a good source of plant based protein with the lentils.

If you give it a try do send any pictures to sydney@yourbackyard.org.uk and I will be sure to include them in this blog.

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