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Keep an eye on your wee

June 2018

Couple holding bottle of water
The more you learn about it, the more important water becomes

Most of us will remember to water our favourite plants in hot summer weather...but how many of us remember to water ourselves as well?

A survey carried out by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution showed that 89% of the British population is not drinking enough water to ensure they are property hydrated.

Women apparently are better at it than seems a fifth of all men (20%) drink no water at all during the day. This is compared with 13% of women. Interestingly it seems the older we get the less water we drink. An amazing 25% of those over the age of 55 said they drank no water at all during the day. This compared with just 7% of people aged between 25 and 34.

Education and knowledge about the important of keeping hydrated is better now than when we were kids, so perhaps that is why youngsters today drink so much more water than our age sector does.

Today there is even a Natural Hydration Council in the UK, a non profit organisation dedicated to researching the science and explaining the facts about healthy hydration.

But why all this fuss about water?

Well, according to the Natural Hydration Council, water makes up to 60% of an adult’s and 75% of a child’s body weight and performs many crucial roles in our overall health. Interestingly, fat tissue does not have as much water as lean tissue.

For a start, your essential organs such as your lungs, brain, heart, liver and kidneys are very wet, between 65 and 85 per cent water. It is vital for our blood, making up well over half of our overall blood volume. The actual plasma in our blood, a protein salt solution in which red and white blood cells and platelets are suspended, comprises a high 92 per cent water.

One scary thing that might help us remember to drink enough water is the fact that our brains are made up of 73% water. So poor hydration can have an adverse effect on how our brains function.

Dry as a bone doesn’t apply to the bones in our body...even those contain 31 per cent water.

But that is just the start. Water helps insulate our organs and lubricates our joints and is vital to help remove waste products from our major organs and to help regulate our body temperature.

Sadly the human body hasn’t been made with the facility to store this vital liquid, so we have to hydrate ourselves on a regular basis.
Public Health England’s Eatwell Guide recommends drinking 6-8 glasses of fluid per day. This is supported by European recommendations...the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) advises an intake of 2.5 litres of water for men and 2.0 litres of water for women per day via both food and drink. From  this they recommend that 70–80% of the daily water intake should come from drinks.

Whilst you can meet your body’s water requirements from other drinks, water is one of the healthiest ways to hydrate as it doesn’t contain sugar or calories. Other drinks can add your fluid intake of course, but some such as alcohol can also lead to dehydration. So water is the healthiest and easiest way to ensure good hydration levels.

Of course like everything you can take things to extremes and drinking excessive amounts of any fluid including water can be dangerous. One tip often used in Australia where the hot climate makes hydration even more of an issue is to look at the colour of your urine. Light yellow is normal and indicates an ideal hydration status. A pale golden honey transparent colour is also okay but it may mean that you need to rehydrate soon. A distinct yellow, cloudier colour means your body needs water and a dark colour means urgent hydration is required.

At the opposite end of the scale, drinking excessive amounts of fluid is not helpful and, in rare cases can be dangerous. If you are passing urine frequently and your urine is very pale or totally transparent, you may be drinking more than you need.

In recent years there has been more emphasis on saturated fats and sugar in our diet than on water. Water may not be the most interesting or exciting addition to our diet, but it is certainly one of the most important.

Evidently as we age, our recognition of thirst can reduce. Especially in these warmer months, keep an eye on your wee and make sure you drink enough to ensure a health happy summer.

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