You may have read a piece of false advice that drinking water will prevent the coronavirus infection. This is not true. The NHS says, “There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus’. However, drinking fluid does help boosts the immune system and is important for your overall health.
But how much fluid should you be drinking per day? And do drinks such as tea, coffee and soft drinks count towards your daily fluid intake? Or is water the only really healthy option to drink?
How much is enough?
There are several recommendations for how much water you should drink:
- According to the NHS, here in the UK people should drink about 1.2 litres – that’s six to eight glasses of fluid every day to stop them from getting dehydrated. In hotter countries you will need more, as you may lose more water through sweating
- BDA experts recommend a different amount for men and women. According to guidelines, adult males should drink 2 litres of water a day, while adult females should aim for an intake of 1.6 litres
- The European Food Safety Authority advises an intake of 2.5 litres of water for men and 2 litres of water a day for women – though it recognises that only 70-80% of this amount should come from fluids, since 20-30% of our daily water intake comes from food, such as soup, stews, fruits and vegetables
As these recommendations vary you may want to aim for a minimum of 1.2 litres a day, and increase this amount on hotter days and when you’re exercising. Try to always have regular drinks throughout the day, especially whenever you feel thirsty, and check the colour of your urine; if you’re drinking enough, says the BDA, it should be a straw or pale yellow colour (if it’s darker, you need to drink more). Meanwhile, remember that it’s also possible to drink far too much fluid, which in rare cases can be dangerous because it lowers the level of salt in your blood.
What should you drink?
All fluids contain water so they all count towards your daily intake. But some make healthier choices than others. Plain water for instance is often the best thing to drink because it contains no calories or sugars. If you’re not keen on the taste of water, try adding a splash of juice or a slice of lemon or lime.
The following can also count towards your daily fluid intake:
Not only does milk provide water, but it’s also a good source of calcium and protein, as well as other vitamins and minerals. The healthiest types are semi-skimmed or skimmed – though avoid giving these to young children, as they should drink only whole milk until they reach their second birthday. Try to avoid flavoured milks and milkshakes too, as they tend to contain added sugar.
Tea and coffee
The NHS claims it’s fine to drink tea and coffee as part of a balanced diet – though both contain caffeine, which can make you produce urine more quickly than non-caffeinated drinks, especially if you drink a lot of it. One solution is to choose decaffeinated tea and coffee, or to try fruit and herbal teas.
The healthiest way to drink tea and coffee is to drink them without sugar – plus watch out for flavoured syrups, which are often added to coffee shop drinks, as these are high in sugar. If you must have your tea or coffee sweet, the NHS guidelines state that artificial sweeteners are safe to use.
Many squashes contain a lot of sugar, which is bad news for your teeth and your waistline. If you want to drink squash that contains added sugar, try to dilute it really well to reduce its sugar content. Alternatively, consider trying one of the many no-added-sugar squashes that are available in most supermarkets.
One small glass of fruit juice counts as one of your recommended 5 daily portions of fruit and vegetables. But it’s good to remember that fruit juice is naturally high in sugar, even those labelled as unsweetened. This is why the NHS recommends drinking no more than 150ml of fruit juice each day.
You could also try watering down fruit juice. Try one third juice to two thirds water for a healthier drink. Or dilute juice with sparkling water to make a healthy alternative to fizzy soft drinks, many of which contain both sugar and caffeine.
For more tips to support your physical wellbeing visit cabaphysical.org.uk
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