We’ve all heard that we should drink eight glasses of water a day, but is there any truth to this? We took a closer look to separate the myths from the fact:
Why do we need fluids?
Your body needs fluids in order to work properly and stay hydrated. From regulating body temperature to flushing out toxins, keeping hydration levels topped up is essential for most bodily functions. Since our bodies lose fluid from sweating, breathing and digestion, it’s crucial to drink fluids and eat foods that contain water so we don’t become dehydrated. As well as feeling thirsty, some signs of dehydration include dark, strong-smelling urine, headaches and dry skin.
How much should I drink a day?
According to government guidelines, drinking about 1.2 litres of fluid (six to eight glasses) a day is recommended to keep us from getting dehydrated. This is enough for climates like ours at home but in hotter conditions we need more as we lose additional fluid as a result of increased sweating.
What are the benefits?
While sugar-free drinks, tea, coffee, fruit juice and smoothies are all good ways to maintain hydration, they may contain sugars which can damage teeth. They should be limited to 150ml a day. Tea and coffee also contain caffeine which you may need to keep track of. Water on the other hand is healthy and is readily available straight from the tap. Not only is it calorie-free, it does not contain any sugar.
I don’t like the taste. How can I drink more?
Try a adding a slice of lemon or a dash of juice or no-added-sugar squash to liven up plain water. Failing that, sparkling water or herbal tea brewed in hot water are good alternatives.
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