It’s easy to think of water as ordinary, boring even, and to forget that 60% of our entire body is made of the stuff! Why do we seem to pay so little attention to something as essential to our nourishment and wellbeing as water? We spoke to Nutritional Therapist and health & nutrition writer Naomi Mead to get her best advice and how to rediscover and fall back in love with water.
1. How do you adapt your daily routine to maximise your water intake?
- I always begin the day with a glass of warm water with a slice of fresh lemon, as this then sets a precedent for the rest of the day.
- I always ensure that I carry a water bottle with me at all times. I’m a huge fan of Infruition water bottles.
- Always ask for water at the table when I go out to eat. I also ensure that I match every alcoholic drink with a glass of water.
2. How can we make sure we’re drinking enough water at work?
- Keep a bottle of water with you on your desk. If it’s in your line of vision, you are less likely to forget to have a drink.
- Set a few alerts on your phone throughout the day to remind yourself! There is now even an app for this purpose called Daily Water Free Reminder
- Switching your tea or coffee for herbal teas is a great way to up your fluid intake, especially during the winter months (when it can be harder to keep water intake up). Peppermint, fennel and ginger are all good options, especially post lunch as they provide additional digestive support. However, most importantly choose one you enjoy and will want to drink more of.
3. What are your top tips for falling back in love with water?
- Infuse your water with fresh fruits and herbs, which can add flavour to your water, and give you an added boost of vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients at the same time.
- Fresh lemon + ginger, strawberry + basil, and rosemary + grapefruit are just a few delicious combinations you can try.
4. In your experience working to transform peoples’ nutritional habits, what are the most common misconceptions around water and hydration?
- That you don’t need to drink water until you feel thirsty. The truth is that our thirst sensation doesn’t actually kick in until we’re around 1- 2% dehydrated, and by this time it may already be having a negative impact on how the body and mind functions. Don’t wait until you are feeling thirsty before having a glass of water. Instead, focus on sipping water throughout the day, little and often, so you’re not allowing your body to get to the point where you absolutely need a drink.
- Confusing the symptoms of thirst for hunger is another commonly made mistake, so if it hasn’t been long since you last ate something; try a glass of water first!
- Most individuals know that they should probably be drinking more water (the classic “2 litres a day” mantra!), but don’t necessarily understand why. For example, even mild dehydration can have a significant impact on mood, energy levels and mental performance.
- That you should drink 2 litres a day! This figure has no sound scientific basis and doesn’t take into account individuality or activity levels. The colour of your urine is actually the best indicator of your hydration levels. It should be pale, almost straw-coloured; any darker and it’s a sign that you are dehydrated.
5. What’s the truth on the coffee, black tea vs water dilemma. Can we supplement our hydration through drinking beverages other than water? Or is that itself a myth?
- You can boost your water intake by upping your fruit and vegetable intake. Cucumber, lettuce, celery, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, spinach and watermelon are all at least 90% water, so pack your diet with these juicy foods.
- Although caffeine is a diuretic, caffeinated drinks still contribute towards your fluid intake. However, caffeine, especially in large quantities, can have other negative health effects in some individuals. There is no substitute for drinking pure water; caffeinated drinks, in moderation, can supplement this but should never replace it.
Naomi Mead is a Nutritional Therapist trained and accredited at the renowned Institute of Optimum Nutrition. She is also an established health and nutrition writer and provides regular content for publications and websites, including Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, and Cotswold Life Magazine. Naomi offers one-on-one consultations, group talks and cookery workshops, and has a particular interest in the areas of weight management, female health, and sports nutrition. Her approach is both supportive and very practical, and she will provide you with nutritional advice tailored to your individual goals and lifestyle.