Do I have to drink only water to hit my fluid intake?
Nope. Milk, juice, coffee,tea..basically all sources of fluids contribute to your intake. Of course water is an excellent choice because it is readily available, inexpensive and is the healthier choice. Sipping on fluid throughout the day is very important but don’t get too stressed about just drinking water. Aim for no added sugar sources of fluid as we can often forget that drinks can add extra calories to our overall intake. One can of fizzy drink can contain around 200kcal. Also be aware that certain sources of fluid can contain caffeine. Some people are more sensitive than others so it’s important to be mindful of our overall intake.
For healthy adults, up to 400 mg/day is considered safe. Pregnant or breastfeeding women are advised to consume no more than 200 mg/day. A regular cup of instant coffee usually contains around 100mg of caffeine.
How much is enough?
People will have a wide variety of fluid requirements. We lose water every day through perspiration,excretion and even through breathing. People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, ill or exercising need different amounts of fluid and this is extremely important to be aware of. A rule of thumb is for the average, healthy person to aim for at least 2 litres of water per day and closer to 2.5 or 3 litres for men.
I find it so hard to drink plain water and it is stopping me from drinking enough – help!
Have you tried adding some fruit to plain water? Or some no added sugar cordial? Setting yourself some goals throughout the day to drink more can really help. For example, mark a spot halfway down on your bottle and vow to drink much by 11am. Continue this throughout the day and see how you feel!
What really happens if we do not drink enough water?
Dehydration can occur very, very easily and it can hinder the body from carrying out it’s normal functions. We will have less energy, feel tired, dizzy and have darkly-coloured urine. Always ask yourself – Am I feeling thirsty? If you are exercising, ill or even during warmer weather you will automatically need more to keep hydrated.
Some food contains water too – does that count?
Food can help with fluid intake but you should still aim to drink 2L per day. Food like fruit and vegetables have high water content and soups and stews can help us to top up our overall fluid intake and prevent dehydration.
Often when we feel thirsty we are already dehydrated. Maintaining adequate hydration helps maintain energy levels, focus, keeps skin clearer, aids digestion and can help prevent muscle cramps.
Stay hydrated with our top tips, hacks and fun facts during the Good4U 4×4 Challenge!! Stay tuned!
Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.