Approximately 60 per cent of our body is water, so being adequately hydrated is important to achieve and maintain peak bodily function.
Headaches, dry skin, constipation, poor mental or physical performance, and kidney stones are just some of the consequences of “running dry”—dehydration. Even more serious are higher risks of heart attack, stroke and bladder cancer.
While water is the best drink for every-one, some people struggle to meet their daily requirement of six to eight glasses. If you need additional help, choose lower kilojoule options with some benefits and minimal or no harm.
Caffeine drinks are no substitute for plain water. Caffeine can cause sleep disturbances, anxiety, irritability, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, stress, depression, stomach upsets, headaches and nausea. And café-style coffees have been found to contain up to three times more caffeine than is usually reported for coffee. So-called energy drinks are also loaded with caffeine and are too easily over-consumed by younger people.
Sweetened beverages like soft drink, cordial, sports drinks, iced tea and fruit juices hide a lot of sugar and can contribute to weight gain. Limit these to one glass per day for both adults and children. The safety of artificially sweetened diet drinks is disputed and research suggests that they may actually cause you to crave sugar, and for those who yield, to put on weight!
Four Top Watering Choices
- Water: Naturally kilojoule-free! Add a slice of lime or lemon for flavour. Set yourself a minimum target, like five glasses or a 1.25 litre water bottle daily.
- Fresh vegetable juice: Lower in kilojoules than fruit juice but bursting with antioxidants. Make it yourself and avoid any with added salt.
- Herbal tea: Often fragrant or colourful from the herbs, flowers, roots and spices used to make it, which also supply antioxidants. Drink unsweetened or with a teaspoon of honey.
- Fortified dairy alternatives, such as soy milk: These can provide protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and other valuable nutrients besides fluid.