Hydration tips: advice to stay hydrated

Almost everyone will go through periods in their life when they are dehydrated. This is because dehydration can occur due to a variety of causes including illness, traveling, extreme weather conditions and excessive exercise. The following tips may help to assist the recovery of dehydration:

  • Avoid liquids containing caffeine or alcohol such as coffee, cola, wine and beer. These liquids may exacerbate dehydration.
  • Sugary juices, lemonade or sports drinks can be high in sugar, which may worsen vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • If you can eat, try small amounts of watermelon as it has a high water content or bland starchy foods such as dried crackers, bread, rice or mashed potato as they are easily absorbed. Bananas are also a good source of potassium and sodium which help the body to recover from dehydration.
  • Avoid too much dairy food, fatty or spicy food.
  • Rest and allow the body to recover. Remember the body is primarily made up of water and if you have depleted its resources you may feel weak until your body has replaced the water it requires to function at a normal level again.
  • Avoid eating heavy foods as your body uses more water to digest it. If you don’t have a regular supply of water to assist in this process (due to being dehydrated) you could feel worse.

If you are looking for ways to stay hydrated throughout your day these suggestions may help:

  • Not all liquids are created equal – cut back on drinks that are heavily caffeinated. These drinks act as a diuretic and can cause water loss by increasing your need to urinate. Instead keep a bottle of water with you and sip throughout the day. If you don’t like plain water consider adding fresh fruit for a splash of favour.
  • Be fussy with foods – choose foods to snack on that have a high water weight balance such as lettuce, watermelon, broccoli, carrots and apples. Not only do these foods add to your recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake but they contain 70-80% water and top up your body’s water levels.
  • Start the day full of water – it’s often hard to start the day with a large glass of water when all you feel like is your normal caffeine kick, however boosting your body’s water supply first thing in the morning helps to recover fluids that we lose naturally while sleeping (through breathing, sweating) and during night-time and early morning urination.

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