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The Best & Worst Drinks to Keep you Hydrated
Water makes up two third of our body. So no wonder it is so important to our wellbeing. It is a common myth that water is the only drink that can hydrate you – but it is also a common myth that all drinks count as fluids that hydrate you. Unfortunately, there are drinks that actually dehydrate you, such as coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol. We know, water isn’t the most flavoursome beverage to consume, but if you don’t keep your body hydrated, you could be doing yourself some serious harm.
So what to do? If you naturally don’t like the taste of water (and let’s be honest, lots of people don’t!), what can you drink that will in-fact keep your fluid levels at a happy place? And which drinks should you be mindful of drinking that may in fact be draining your bodies H2O supply? Read on and we will explain!
Why do I Need to Stay Hydrated?
Water makes up two thirds of our body, which when you think about it, is an absolutely staggering amount. Water is needed for every single cell in the body. Your body literally depends on it to function and to carry out every normal body process – including lubricating your joints, removing waste and maintaining a healthy body temperature. Water is even involved in making your skin look radiant and healthy!
How do You Know if You Are Dehydrated?
Due to the fact our body depends so heavily on a decent intake of water, you can quickly feel the impacts of dehydration. A lack of water in the body can be down to not consuming enough water in general, not replacing water when it is lost (ie through sweating or exercise) or when you have a sick bug and you are losing a huge amount of water through your symptoms.
Some of the key symptoms of dehydration are:
• Feeling tired, dizzy or weak
• Dry lips
• Dry mouth
• Urinary tract infections (UTI)
• Poor skin health
• Poor overall general health
You can also tell if you are dehydrated by the colour of your urine. Dark coloured urine with a strong smell is a sign you definitely need to drink more hydrating fluids. Generally we are all aiming for a clear to pale yellow colour urine.
Hydration Boosting Drinks
Okay obviously water had to be number the one on the list. Plain water is the best way to hydrate quickly. It really is that simple – and not that surprising! Enjoying water with ice is one way many people find drinking it more tolerable. Next time you fill up your water bottle, add a couple of ice cubes. If you can get into the habit of drinking plain water every single day, you really will be giving your body a huge helping hand.
• Fruit infused water
If you really cannot stand the taste of plain water – or it simply does not excite you enough to drink it, fruit infused water is an excellent option. There are many water bottles you can buy now which specifically have an infuser in the centre to allow you add a fruity taste. Lemon, lime, cucumber and berries all work extremely well. You can also try hot water with lemon (which has numerous other health benefits). This is the perfect way to adjust the flavour of your water to your taste, without adding any sugar.
• Herbal teas
Contrary to popular belief, hot water is just as good for hydrating as cold water. Therefore, herbal teas with limited caffeine are an excellent source of hydration. Try camomile, peppermint or even green tea, all of which have their own health benefits and taste great. Traditional breakfast tea is also fine in moderation, but if many cups are consumed, then the caffeine can start to have an impact on hydration.
This may be a surprising one, but milk can contribute to good hydration, as well as added vitamins like calcium and vitamin D. It also contains protein – which our body always needs more of! Click here to read our full nutritional profile on protein.
• Nut milks
If you are dairy free or vegan, or simply don’t like the taste of milk, you can always opt for other nut milks like almond, hazelnut or cashew.
• Coconut water
Coconut water might just sound like another ‘trendy’ beverage, but it boasts a 95% water content and the other 5% is full of minerals that a lot of people don’t get enough of. It also has antioxidant properties. And tastes pretty delicious too!
Hydration Depleting Drinks
One of the nations favourite beverages, and unfortunately one that can be a hydration drainer. This is mainly due to the caffeine content. Tea is generally a better option as it has less caffeine, but one coffee is okay if you are balancing it out with water to replace the impact of the caffeine. If you are consuming a lot of coffee however, it might be an idea to swap to an herbal tea option.
• Alcohol (beer/wine/liquor)
This probably isn’t that surprising, but alcohol is a huge sap to hydration levels. Any drink, which is over 10% alcohol content, is a dehydrator. This essentially means more liquid will leave your body than being consumed. Generally higher the alcohol content, the more dehydrating they are. Hangovers are largely due to dehydration and why it is a good idea to drink a large glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. Or even better than that, enjoy alcohol in moderation and then swap to mocktails. Yum!
• Fizzy drinks
Popular fizzy drinks like coca cola are packed with caffeine, and have the same dehydrating impact as coffee. They are also often packed with sodium (salt), which is another dehydrator and sugar, which is incredibly bad for the teeth. Lemonade is also packed with sugar. Opt for any of the soft drinks in the hydration list for a better drink option!
How Much Water do I Need to Drink a Day?
This does change depending on your age, height and weight. It also changes depending on the climate you live in and how much exercise you do. However, in the UK the recommended intake according to the nhs is 6-8 glasses, which is roughly 1.2 litres.
Tips to Keeping Hydrated
• Buy a new water bottle and fill it up 2-3 times a day. When you have drunk those, you know you have had your daily water dose!
• Trying infusing your water with fruit if you don’t like the plain taste.
• Try different herbal teas and find something new you like.
• Aim to drink a glass of water/hydrating drink with every meal or snack.
• Drink a limited amount of alcohol.
• Drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink.
• Remember to drink water if you are consuming a lot of coffee.
• Set reminders on your phone to drink a glass of water.
• Keep a jug of cold water in the fridge, so you always have cold water available.
• Avoid fizzy drinks and limit your coffee intake.