Healthy hydration

Healthy hydration

Hydration is an essential part of staying healthy as the human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. This is because the human body is fifty to seventy five per cent water. Water is the basis for multiple body constituents such as blood, urine, lean muscle fat and bones and since the human body can’t create its own water source, fresh supplies are needed to replace what we lose.

A significant proportion of water is lost through sweat, which is used to keep us cool.In the Summer months this is especially important as the warmer climate causes us to sweat more and thereby lose more water. The average amount of adequate water intake varies throughout our lives with adult men requiring 2.6 litres a day (about 10 cups) and women requiring 2.1 litres a day (about 8 cups). This level of hydration increases during physical activity, for pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as those experiencing vomiting or diarrhoea.

Rehydration is best achieved by using water as opposed to other drinks, such as soft drinks or sports drinks. Whilst these drinks may quench our thirst they are often high in sugar and kilojoules, which can make maintaining a healthy weight difficult. On top of this, they often contain little nutritional benefit.

If your levels of hydration decrease too much this can lead to dehydration. Signs and symptoms of dehydration to be aware of include:

• Thirst
• Headaches
• Lethargy
• Moodchanges
• Musclecramps
• Slowreactiontimes • Confusion.

If any of these symptoms occur, immediately seek rehydration through drinking more water.

To improve your water intake throughout the day, follow these simple steps.

  • Put a jug of water on the table at mealtimes
  • Keep chilled tap water in the fridge on hot days
  • When dining out always ask for water
  • Have a reliable drink bottle nearby, during work or in the car
  • Add flavour to water with watermelon, strawberries, mint leaves, limes or lemons.

Plain tap water is an excellent water source as it is cheap, convenient and contains no sugar.

In South Australia water usually contains uoride, as it helps strengthen bones and prevent tooth decay. Filtered water is also an excellent choice as it o ers all of the same bene ts as tap water.

If you’re concerned about your hydration levels or suspect you may be dehydrated, head into your local National Pharmacies store and speak to one of our pharmacists.

Author
Stefan Renzella-Lombardi,
Pharmacist In Charge, National Pharmacies Glenunga

Disclaimer

The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and should be used as a guide only. This information does not replace or substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before any action is taken based on the content of this webpage.

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