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Stress Management for Health Course

Fluid Intake

 

"Even small levels of dehydration can cause lethargy, headaches, mood changes."

(Julie Dean, British Dietetic Association)

 

Research suggests that two thirds of us do not drink enough water per day and this can have a negative effect on our physical and psychological well-being.  Dr Fereydoon Batmanghelids, author of the book Your Body's Many Cries For Water, believes that many health problems can be partly linked to low fluid intake.  Water is an essential nutrient of vital importance to our health, we can last for weeks without food but only a few days without water.

Adults need two to three litres of fluid a day, that's 6 - 8 glasses.  Some people are more prone to the effects of low fluid intake than other people, but we shouldn't wait until we are thirsty before drinking. 

A large proportion of the human body is made up of water, it is used in many body processes such as digestion, absorption and transport of nutrients, it is vital for healthy kidney function, dilutes body waste, and regulates body temperature.  Water is the base of all blood and fluid and lubricates the organs and joints. 

One study, published in the Lancet medical journal, showed that when people with inflamed joints were given water there was a reduction in the inflammation of the joints.

Some of the reasons we may not be drinking enough water include the fact that our diet is so full of salt and also contains lots of tea, coffee and caffeine-laden drinks which have a diuretic action on the body increasing the bodys loss of water.  When we talk about increasing fluid intake we do not mean increasing our tea and coffee intake; food supplies us with some of the fluid, but we need to drink more pure water. 

Clinical Psychologist Dr David Lewis specialises in the management and treatment of stress and says that 1 in 3 of us do not drink enough fluids. 

Dr Lewis goes on to say that its important how we drink water:

 

"Gulping it down can actually increase your risk of dehydration due to a process known as water diuresis.  The golden rule is to sip the water slowly and never be tempted to drink a glass all at once."

(Ref Dr D. Lewis, Volvic Hydration Report)

 

Health Problems

A variety of physical and psychological health problems have been linked to low fluid intake:

 

        Indigestion

        Constipation

        Gall Stones

        Skin

        Angina

        Colitis

        Fatigue

        Headaches

       Kidney Dysfunction

       High Blood Pressure

       Skin Conditions

        Back Pain

        Kidney stones

       Mood swings

       Palpitations

        Stress

        Ulcers

        Arthritis

        Diabetes

 

Dehydration is a stressor to the body.  The Food and Mood Project in Sussex carried out research on nutrition and health and one of the things that people said helped their health most was increasing their fluid intake.  A diet that is high in fruits and vegetables will supply us with a lot of healthy fluid but a diet full of salt, fat, caffeine, sugar and alcohol causes the body to loose water.

Water on its own can be quite plain and boring, you can drink fruit teas, or dilute one third of pure fruit juice with two thirds of water.  Don't drink artificially coloured, flavoured, sugary fruit drinks, its diluted fruit juices that you need.

 

Caution

If you have to watch your fluid intake for any type of health problem always see your doctor before increasing your fluid intake.

 

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