Top tip number four is: dehydration can lead to poor concentration and headaches. Always carry a water bottle to encourage you to drink regularly throughout the day.
Water plays an essential role in our bodies – through temperature regulation, nutrient transportation and absorption, and waste removal – it makes up on average 60 per cent of our body weight. The Eatwell Guide recommends 6-8 glasses of water per day – adding a slice of lemon, cucumber, or a piece of mint to your drink can enhance flavour and make your drink extra refreshing. Our water intake can also be increased through other sources such as drinking tea, juice, smoothies and milk. Likewise, our food intake can also contribute significantly to our water intake. Some foods such as fruits, vegetables, soups and stews are also great sources of water.
A 2012 research study published in The Journal of Nutrition found dehydration impacted cognitive function, mood and concentration when compared to hydrated individuals. So, it is important to continuously replenish your water intake to avoid experiencing these negative effects. Carrying a water bottle can serve as a great reminder to encourage you to drink more regularly.
The hypothalamus in the brain regulates our fluid intake. It acts as the thirst signal via a negative feedback loop in order to allow us to seek hydration. However, with age, this feedback loop can weaken. As a result, it is imperative to drink water regularly without solely relying on these signals. Our kidneys also play a role in water regulation. When the body detects a lack of water, the kidneys reduce the amount of water lost through urine. As a result, the urine becomes darker in colour, which can be an indicator of dehydration.
If you’re on a texture modified diet, you can maximise your hydration by consuming thickened beverages – this is not just limited to water, it can also include smoothies, juices, and tea – all of which can provide a great source of water for those with dysphagia.