Do you drink enough water? You can tell if you are by the colour of your urine! If it’s a pale straw colour then your fluid intake is probably fine. If your urine is dark yellow, you probably need to drink more. Water makes up 50 to 70 per cent of an adult’s total body weight and, without regular top-ups, our body’s survival time is limited to a matter of days.
Water is lost from the body through urine and sweat, and must be replaced through the diet. If you don’t consume enough you can become dehydrated, causing symptoms such as headaches, tiredness and loss of concentration. Dehydration also slows down your metabolism and thirst can send the same signals to your body that prompt you to eat.
The body gets its fluid from three sources:
-Drinks, either plain water or as part of other beverages including tea, coffee and squash
-Solid foods, especially fruit and vegetables (even foods such as bread and cheese provide small amounts of fluid)
-As a by-product of chemical reactions within the body
Most healthy adults need between one and a half to three litres a day, so aim to drink six to eight medium glasses of fluid daily. Beverages such as tea, coffee and fruit juices count towards fluid intake.
You may require more fluid if you’re very physically active or during periods of hot weather.
Tips to maintain fluid levels:
-Start as you mean to go on, have a hot water with a slice of lemon in with your breakfast
-Find time to make yourself regular drinks during the day – don’t forget that tea, coffee and juices can count. Just watch out for the amount of sugar consumed in some soft drinks.
-Keep a bottle of water in your bag, as it’s a convenient way of providing fluid if you’re traveling or exercising.
-Get into the habit of having a glass of water with every meal.
-The sensation of thirst is not triggered until you’re already dehydrated, so it’s important to drink before you get thirsty.
-Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, as they have a high water content.
I find it useful to fill two, litre drinks bottles in the morning and keep them handy and visible throughout the day, this way I am reminded that I need to drink them and can keep track of how much I have had!