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drinking enough water

Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, and because our bodies lose water through the day, you have to drink water every day!  Water is lost through the kidneys, faeces and skin as well as through breathing.  This amounts to about 2.3 litres in a day in normal conditions.  We can replenish this lost water through drinking and eating.

It is not always easy to be know when you are thirsty, especially if you are not drinking enough water.  The following as a general guide:

Body weight in kg divided by 10 PLUS 2 = amount of glasses of water (1 glass = 250ml). 

You may need more or less depending on how active you are, how hot it is, and whether you are in an air-conditioned office.

Water is the best hydration liquid, but there are quite a few varieties to choose from:

Tap water undergoes treatment which ensures it is free of harmful micro-organisms and contaminants and is therefore perfectly safe to drink.  South Africa’s national standard of water quality compares well with the World Health Organisation standards.

Bottled water is also a good choice.  However, most people choose bottled water because they believe that it is safer and healthier than tap water.  The regulations for bottled water are not as strict as those for tap water as FDA rules often don’t have the same prohibitions that municipal water has.  It has also been stated that 40% of bottled water originates from the tap, with added minerals or filtration!

Sparkling water is carbonated with carbon dioxide under pressure.  This will cause the body no harm, but may produce a small amount of flatulence and possibly gastric distension.  If those symptoms don’t occur when you drink sparkling water, then this water is just as good substitute to still water for some variety.

What about cold water versus warm water.  There is no difference once the water reaches your stomach.  Whether ice cold or boiling water, just make sure you serve yourself the water in a way that will make you drink more, not less!

Flavoured and vitamin waters are the one’s you need to be careful of.  The reason they taste so good is because they have added sugar (yes, even the vitamin water!)  The amount of sugar is equivalent to 8 teaspoons of sugar!  This makes them very ‘expensive’ from a calorie perspective.  Even if you are happy with your weight, these waters give you nothing but energy (no extra vitamins, minerals and other goodness), so they would not be the best nutritional choice. 

There are other ‘fluids’ that you can choose which will rehydrate you.  They include milk (it goes without saying that this should be low fat or preferably fat free), fruit juice (just watch the calories if you are weight conscious – 125ml = 1 fruit) and herbal teas.  Try not to drink Ceylon tea, coffee and fizzy drinks too often as they contain caffeine which stimulates water loss.

Tips to get into better water drinking habits:

  • Keep a jug or bottle of water on your desk – when you see it you’ll be more likely to drink it
  • Drink from a larger glass. Psychologically you feel like you are drinking less!
  • Start your day with a glass of warm water with lemon slices or sliced ginger or mint leaves
  • Drinking first thing in the morning will get your system ‘awake’ and boost your metabolism
  • Keep a water bottle in your car or while traveling and drink from it to and from work
  • Drink a glass of water every time you make a cup of tea/coffee
  • Delegate and ask someone responsible (PA, spouse, colleague) to encourage you to drink water or to make it available
  • Use a phone app to remind you to drink water regularly
  • Add lemon slices, mint, parsley, any fresh fruit or small amount of fruit juice to flavour your water
  • Make herbal teas using lemon slices, orange slices, apple, mint leaves, parsley, ginger, etc… and allow them to cool. Add ice and enjoy!

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