It’s very important to get the right amount of fluid to be healthy. However, there are lots of mixed messages about how much, and what to drink and this can be confusing.
Do you really need to drink six to eight glasses of water on top of all my other drinks? Is it true that tea and coffee do not count towards your fluid intake? (FYI The answer to both these questions is no!)
Your body is nearly two-thirds water and so it’s important that you drink enough to stay hydrated and healthy. If you don’t get enough fluid you may feel tired, get headaches and not perform at your best.
The amount of fluid you need depends on many things including the weather, how much physical activity you do and your age, but the Eatwell Guide suggest six to eight glasses of fluid per day.
This is on top of the water provided by food you eat. You can get water from nearly all fluids that you drink, apart from stronger alcoholic drinks such as wine and spirits.
Your body has ways to make sure you stay hydrated. Feeling thirsty is your body’s way of telling you that you need to drink more.
However, the easiest way to spot that you might not be getting enough water is if your wee is a dark yellow colour during the day.
If you are getting enough water your wee should be a pale straw colour. So if it is darker than this or if you are going to the loo infrequently or passing very small amounts of urine, then you probably need to drink some more fluid.
You also need to drink more if it is hot, or if your temperature is high due to physical activity or illness.
If you don’t drink enough water you will become dehydrated. The first thing you will notice is increased thirst and a dry sticky mouth. Other effects include tiredness, poor concentration, headache and dizziness or light headedness.
Having regular drinks throughout the day will help you stay well hydrated especially when it is hot or you are exercising.
Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to dehydration and may need to be encouraged to drink more.