Dr Helen Flaherty, Head of Health Promotion at HeartResearch UK shares her advice on how you can keep your heart healthy by staying hydrated.
Staying hydrated throughout the day is really important for keeping your heart and circulatory system healthy. Dehydration makes the heart work harder and it can cause your blood pressure to drop. Being hydrated can also help with weight loss as thirst can quite often feel the same as hunger! During hot weather, or physical activity, we lose water through sweating and this can lead to dehydration. Guidance says we should aim to drink between 6-8 cups of fluid every day.
Have a read of some of our tips below to help you stay hydrated.
How do I know if I am dehydrated?
When you become dehydrated, you may notice symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, irritability or difficulty concentrating. The easiest way to tell if you are dehydrated is the colour of your urine. If your urine is pale and clear then you’re hydrated. However, if your urine becomes more yellow, brown or dark in colour with a strong smell, this suggests you aren’t drinking enough.
I’m struggling to keep hydrated – what can I do?
Regular drinks of water throughout the day is the best way to keep hydrated. Water is always best, but if you don’t like water, or want to mix things up, fluids such as herbal teas and sugar-free squash are also good. You should avoid having too many drinks with added sugar and caffeine in them, such as sweet tea and coffee, energy drinks or sugary pop.
Keeping hydrated out and about
If you’re going out for the day, make sure you take a drink with you. You can also get water from foods. Fruit and vegetables tend to have a high water content, especially cucumber, watermelon, tomatoes, oranges and apples. Try snacking on these foods rather than foods with a high fat and salt content, such as crisps or salted nuts, as these can make you feel thirsty.
You can find more healthy tips, recipes and advice at heartresearch.org.uk.