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Water, water 

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Olive Braman reports on why we need to drink more and tells of a new product to help us do so 

Most people are dehydrated much of the time, according to Dr David Lewis, author, researcher and broadcaster. We should drink a minimum of one and a half litres of liquid each day. Urine should be crystal clear. Darker urine is an indication of dehydration which may lead to kidney stones. Moisture is lost through the lungs but is necessary to keep the nasal passages lubricated especially in centrally heated homes and offices. 

Lewis says that the variety of substances we breath in each day include many we would never dream of - like salt, clay, ash, viruses, bacteria, funguses, algae and fern to name but a few. Unlubricated nasal passages are less effective at doing their job of filtering out such undesirable elements, making people more susceptible to germs and viral infections like the common cold. 

 

Why don’t we drink more water?

The answer is probably that it lacks appeal. There is too much competition from other more interesting liquids. Coffee is a diuretic, so it actually increases dehydration. Tea, especially green tea, is now recognised as a valuable antioxidant but many people, and children in particular, still prefer sweet drinks. Fruit juices, although valuable as a source of vitamin C, are effectively a food and consequently fairly high in calories. Colas and concentrated syrups are bad for teeth and carbonated mineral water is often high in sodium. 

A new way of taking the water

Give it flavour and boost its health-giving properties is one answer. The National Osteoporosis Society is endorsing a new product by Danone, which it says will contribute to bone health. Danone Activ is a bottled still water with added calcium. One litre contains 300 mg of calcium, the equivalent of a 250g  glass of milk. It will shortly be available in orange, apple and blackcurrant flavours. These contain 49.5mg of sugar per litre, which is about half the average content of most fruit drinks.  

The National Osteoporosis Society is keen to encourage us to take in more calcium to build strong teeth and bones. With age our bones start to thin - one in three women and one in twelve men over the age of 50 will suffer from osteoporosis. If untreated this can cause painful and disabling fractures. As people lead less active and longer lives, increasing numbers are developing osteoporosis. 

 

So, if Danone’s flavoured water encourages people to drink more, it may help lower the incidence of osteoporosis, and possibly help protect us from the common cold too.

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