We have all heard that we should drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, but how much is that and does it have to be water?
According to the UK Government, we should drink 1.2 liters of fluid a day. This should be spread throughout the day to replace what the body looses through urination and sweating.
The body is approximately 60% water, and every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly.
1. What are the benefits of keeping hydrated?
So what does it help with? Well here are a few benefits of keeping hydrated:
- Water regulates your body temperature & keeps the body cool.
- Lubricates the joints and helps the muscles & joints work better.
- Improves the appearance of your skin and keeps it supple.
- Combats fatigue (yes drinking water can make you less tired!)
- Good for your brain – research suggests that staying hydrated keeps your memory sharp, your mood stable and your motivation in tact.
- Cleanses your body inside and out.
- Prevents a dry mouth.
2. What Drinks Keep Us Hydrated?
So does it have to be water that we drink?
Well no is the short answer, other drinks while containing water, may also contain calories, as well as vitamins & minerals.
It is also important to remember that consuming sugar-containing drinks too often can potentially harm your teeth, and some drinks are acidic (e.g. fruit juice and carbonated drinks) and this may cause dental erosion.
Tea or coffee:
These also deliver water, and even though these drinks can contain caffeine, in moderate amounts caffeine doesn’t affect hydration. Other hot drinks such as herbal teas, hot chocolates and malted drinks can provide water. If these drinks are sweetened with sugar it increases their calorie content.
Contains lots of essential nutrients such as protein, B vitamins and calcium, as well as being a source of water. However, it can also contain saturated fat and so it’s a good idea for adults and older children to choose semi-skimmed (less than 2% fat), 1% or skimmed milks.
Fruit juices and smoothies:
These give you water plus some vitamins, minerals and natural plant substances from the fruit. Smoothies may also contain pureed fruit, which adds fibre. One 150ml glass of fruit juice or smoothie counts as a maximum of one portion of your 5 A DAY. Fruit juices and smoothies contain sugar and therefore calories.
A source of water but, if they contain sugar, this adds to your calorie intake. It’s a good idea to limit consumption of standard sugar-containing soft drinks and to choose lower sugar or sugar-free (low calorie) versions instead.
It may be a surprise to learn that we get on average 20% of our total water intake from food! Some foods have a high water content, especially fruits and vegetables, which are usually more than 80% water. Foods like soups and stews, which have lots of water added during preparation, also are a source of water. So food can provide extra water, on top of the 6-8 glasses of fluid you should drink a day.
Time to Care For Yourself?
When you are stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode. Your heart rate & breathing increases, and your adrenal & sweat glands go into overdrive.
While these are normal reactions for your body to have for short periods of time, remaining in this state for too long places enormous strain on your mind & body. It can have damaging effects on your immune system and lead you to stress related illness.
So how do you come out of this state and calm your body? When we are looking after ourselves and have a good self care or stress management routine, we allow our bodies to relax and unwind, which slows our heart rate, decreased blood pressure & promotes energy storage, among other things.
Life has so much pressures and expectations of us these days that it is harder and harder to naturally relax enough for our bodies to get into the relaxed state. This is where our self-care routine is critical to our mental, physical and emotion well-being.
Massage therapy is a relaxing massage treatment where we focus on a specific problem, like neck & shoulder pain or general maintenance to help with and keep on top of stress.
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