Refresh Your Health

It’s important to stay well hydrated as the weather warms up, especially on days of extreme heat. Unfortunately, this can derail our healthy diet intentions because we are surrounded by unhealthy drink options. Being aware of the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages, and having some healthier alternatives planned, can help us avoid adding large amounts of empty calories to our diet in summer.

What benefit does keeping well hydrated have?

Fluid helps you stay healthy and energized. Our bodies contain a lot of water, and it helps with vital functions like controlling body temperature, keeping bowels regular, and getting rid of waste.

How much fluid is needed?

Individual fluid requirements will vary depending on things like physical activity and the weather, however as a general guide, we ought to aim for about:

  • 4-5 cups of fluids a day for children
  • 6-8 cups for adolescents
  • 8 cups for women (9 cups  in pregnancy and lactation)
  • 10 cups for men

This includes all hot and cold drinks, but water is the best.

How do I know if I’m drinking enough?

We expect to feel thirsty if we don’t drink enough, but it’s worth knowing that signs and symptoms of mild dehydration can include:

  • Dry lips and mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Tiredness
  • Dark strong smelling urine
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Irritability

So what’s so bad about soft drinks?

Foods that naturally contain sugars, like fruits and vegetables, come packaged with fibre and antioxidants which means they have a different effect on the body to foods with added sugars.  Soft drinks, energy drinks and fruit drinks are low in nutrients and high in calories, and limiting these will help in the prevention and management of a range of conditions, like diabetes, heart disease and dental cavities.

A 600 ml bottle of soft drink can contain 16 teaspoons of sugar!

What else could I drink?

If you get used to the taste of water you start to enjoy it, and it’s good to drink it every day, but you could also try lower sugar alternatives like:

  • Sparkling water
  • Natural flavour infused water
  • Herb teas, hot or cold
  • Vegetable juices
  • Coconut water
  • Low fat milk
  • Low sugar kombucha

Why not try some of the infused water ideas featured in our blog for a refreshing summer drink?  

Pro Nutrition SA Catrin Daly, Dietitian

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