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HYDRATION – how is it a part of nutrition? 

Hydration is actually a integral part of nutrition and overall health, water is essential for the body to function. To put it simply, we cannot go without water. Its essential for our survival.  We can go for longer without food than we can without water.

Every single system within the human body requires water e.g it help the digestive system work smoothly- water is drawn into the intestine to help bulk out stools and make them easier to pass (dehydration can cause constipation), water enables our circulatory system to carry nutrient and O2 to cells and our kidneys need it to filter out what we need to excrete (get rid of) via urine. Our brain is made up of 75 percent water, yes 75 percent!! Water therefore is important in regulating our mood and concentration too. The body uses a huge amount of water each day, so its vital we consider out hydration levels as we must replace them throughout the day to combat any losses.

Guidelines stipulate that per day we should try and get at least 2L over total fluids (around 8-10 glasses a day). This is the bare minimum required to be healthy so if you can aim for more or manage more then that’s fantastic! It might be worth getting a fancy BPA free water bottle to help keep you motivated, it’s a little like when you buy new gym clothes to motivate you to work out!
Consider your daily activity levels too when gauging how much fluid, ie if you are running about at work, or have an active job such as cleaning, perhaps those days when you exercise and notice you sweat a lot – increase your fluids accordingly based on lifestyle.

Urine should be quite clear in colour, keep an eye out every time you visit the bathroom – the darker it is the more dehydrated you are and the more water you need to drink to rehydrate yourself.

What can I drink to hydrate me?
Did you know that about 20 percent of our total fluid intake comes from food? The rest can come from water, sugar free diluting juice (squash), tea, coffee or protein water. The best way to hydrate is to have water.

Signs of dehydration to look out for:
Dry mouth, darker urine, tired, thirsty, dizzy and urinating less than 4x a day. There is evidence to suggest that at 1percent dehydration (1 percent of body weight water loss) there are negative effects on both physical and mental ability and functioning which becomes more apparent the more dehydrated someone gets.

Calculate your individual water needs:
You can use the following formula to help calculate your daily water requirement - these are just a guide. Remember to make adjustments to allow for sweating more than usual ie on more active days, or hotter days.

Your weight in KG x 0.033 = amount of L per day you require.
For example: if you weigh 70KG: 70x0.033=2.31L a day- bear in mind to adjust this according to lifestyle- this is just the bare minimum requirement of someone at rest.

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