Are we what we drink?

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova.

Rachel Jeffery, Accredited Practising Dietitian

When we are active, we are very conscious to eat well, but we do not often think about the things we drink. 

All of us are made up of around 50-80 per cent water, so it is very important that we replace fluid lost from our body everyday. 

Water is needed in our bodies for digestion and absorption of foods, dissolving nutrients, eliminating waste products and regulating our body temperatures.

Confusion and tiredness

If we do not drink enough fluids during the day and particularly with increased activity, it can lead to dehydration causing confusion, tiredness and a lack of physical strength. 

Not a great combination if you have a long and busy day ahead of you.

Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration so you should not rely on it alone to tell you that you need a drink. A good way to measure if you are drinking enough fluids is the colour of your urine. The darker in colour your urine, the more you need to drink. 

Ideally we should all aim for clear/straw coloured urine which indicates a good fluid intake.

If you are involved in strenuous activity, aim to have 150ml-250ml of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during the session. After the activity drink until you need to use the bathroom and keep an eye on the colour of your urine. Remember the clearer and lighter in colour the better.

Water the best

Water is the fluid of choice, but many find water alone boring. Chilled water with slices of lemon or limes is often nicer to drink than warm, stale water.

Milk is probably the next best fluid to drink as it is a good source of protein and calcium.

Again one to three glasses of milk is probably enough each day. There are many types of juices, fruit drinks, sports drinks, cordials and soft drinks on the market now. These are alright occasionally but should not make up the bulk of your fluid intake on a daily basis.

Avoid caffeinated drinks such as cola, guarana and more than four cups of tea or coffee each day. As these drinks can cause an increase in your heart rate and lead to increased urination.

So, keep up your fluids, drink plenty of water and watch the colour of your urine. 

Author Bio

Rachel Jeffery is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) with over 25 years of experience. Rachel completed her studies at Deakin University, Victoria and Flinders University, South Australia. She has worked in the fields of clinical and community nutrition.

Rachel specialises in the areas of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Women’s Health and Fertility including Endometriosis, and Weight Management. 

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