Drink more water

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How much water should I drink?

The advice seems to change constantly.  Traditionally we are usually told that we should drink 6 glasses a day.  Or is that 8?

Another bit of contemporary wisdom suggests, "If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated."

Some fad diets suggest the exact opposite and tell us that we shouldn't drink water and instead should drink only fruit and vegetable juice.

The official health advice in the UK suggests that the ideal amount is 1.2 litres of fluid a day. This equates to 6-8 cups.

But does tea and coffee count?  Is that not diuretic, meaning that we actually lose more water than we take in with the beverage? And what about beer?

Well, common sense seems key here. Many of us have experienced the dehydration that accompanies drinking alcohol. When we are thirsty on a hot day, a nice cold pint of beer might seem refreshing at first, but we will dehydrate more.

Caffeine in drinks such as cola, coffee and tea do act as a diuretic, but it depends on how much caffeine there is in the drink.  For example, three strong Italian coffees in those little cups will provide a large caffeine dose, but little fluid, therefore, will be dehydrating.  But a large cup of weak tea delivers more water and less caffeine.

Exercise and hot weather will increase our demands for water, and plain water is best.  Sports drinks tend to be loaded with sugar and therefore calories, so won't be ideal for our purposes of weight loss.

Here's a top tip for you if you are a person who says, "but i don't like drinking water."  Add a little hot water, or leave a bottle of water so that the water you drink is at room temperature.  This can make a huge difference.

The other objection to drinking more water is, "But I'll keep having to go to the toilet."  Well, possibly, but two things spring to mind here.  Firstly what is wrong about going to the toilet? Secondly, if you drink the water with food, this effect is minimised as the water passes through the system much slower and it can help prevent constipation and aid digestion.

You may want to consider increasing your water intake if you suffer chronic or persistent tiredness, lack of energy and if your urine is usually dark and odorous.

Don't overdo it though. Drinking far too much water can actually do harm as the extra water that is passed out through the kidneys takes out valuable electrolytes with it.

Try this. Add a glass of water to every meal in addition to your usual intake.  See what happens and if this improves your sense of well-being.

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