Nutrition and Hydration Week – Staying Hydrated and Nourished

The mission of Nutrition and Hydration Week is to “create a global movement to reinforce, focus, energise, creative activity and engagement for nutrition and hydration”. This is key to maintaining the health and wellbeing of our community! We want to share with you some of the best tips to ensure you are staying hydrated and making sure you are well nourished too! If you wish to take part in Nutrition and Hydration Week 2018, it is between the 12th and 18th March.

What is a Nutrient?

A nutrient is a substance that provides nourishment essential for the maintenance of life and for growth. The main nutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.

Tips to Stay Well Nourished

Fruit and vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals and should make up just over a third of the food we eat each day. Make sure you're eating at lest 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day to help you reach this goal. There's evidence to show that people who eat at least five portions a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers!

Starchy foods should make up just over one third of everything we eat too, this means we should base our meals on these foods. Examples of these foods are potatoes with the skin ON! The skins are a great source of fibre and vitamins, you will find the same with wholegrain varieties of rice, pasta and bread! The brown or wholemeal versions of food generally have more vitamins and minerals than their white varieties which is only one of the benefits of making the switch!

Milk and dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt are good sources of protein, they also contain calcium, which helps keep your bones healthy. To get the benefits of these foods without too much fat try using semi-skimmed milk, skimmed milk or 1% fat milk instead. You can also find lower fat cheeses, yoghurts and even alternatives such as soya milk, soya yoghurts and cheeses if you're willing to make that healthy change.

Beans, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins are essential for your body to grow and to repair itself. You will find that meat is a great source of protein as well as vitamins and minerals – including vitamin B12, without it your body can feel weak, tired, dizzy and you could even feel very tired throughout the day! Make sure that you're eating lean cuts of meat and poultry to cut down on the fat content wherever possible. Fish is another important source of protein, vitamins and minerals too. If you aim for two portions of fish a week you will be doing very well on your nutrition journey. Oily fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Your body cannot make these special fats and they may help lower the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis. Nuts are high in fibre and a good alternative to snacks high in saturated fat, but make sure to eat them in moderation as they have a high level of fat too.

Staying Hydrated

Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly. You should drink water every day and most people need around 6-8 glasses of water per day, but you're the best judge of what your body needs!

Here are some tips from Family Doctor to stay hydrated: 

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. To reduce your costs, carry a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water.
  • If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
  • Drink water before, during, and after a workout.
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan. Some research suggests that drinking water can help you feel full.
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when you go to bed. Or, drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it’s free.

If you're still trying to work out if you're drinking enough, signs of hydration include:

  • Little or no urine.
  • Urine that is darker than usual.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Sleepiness or fatigue.
  • Extreme thirst.
  • Headache.
  • Confusion.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • No tears when crying.

Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water, do not wait until the signs of dehydration start to show before taking action, as it can have severe consequences on your body and health.

Make sure to check the Nutrition and Hydration Week website to see what you can do to get involved in this week and the updated dates each year during March.

If you're trying to improve your wellbeing then make sure to try these 5 small steps to support your wellbeing alongside hydration and nourishment!

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