The importance of water shouldn't be under-estimated; it comprises 70% of the Earth's surface and two-thirds of the human body, with our cells and organs depending on it to function correctly. Put simply – water is essential for us to survive.
But why? With a number of functions that are fundamental to protect and conserve the body, from protecting the spinal cord and tissues, to transporting oxygen to cells and regulating temperature, water is also the most important factor influencing the body’s method of retaining nutrients. The food we eat is water-soluble and when broken down, valuable nutrients can be easily absorbed and passed around the body through the blood. In addition to ensuring the body can absorb vitamins and minerals, water removes and flushes out toxins that are harmful.
There are many factors that affect hydration; age, gender, activity, BMI and climate all influence internal water levels. The importance of water in maintaining a hydrated and healthy lifestyle is unquestionable, yet there is much discussion over the best ways to stay hydrated. European recommendations suggest that per day women should drink around 1.6 litres of fluid, about 8 200ml glasses and men around 2.0 litres, 10 800ml glasses.
What does count as a hydrating fluid? Is it water alone or can other beverages contribute, such as tea, coffee and low calorie juice and fruit drinks with their high water content.
The properties of caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee are often perceived to dehydrate due to their diuretic properties but in moderate amounts, caffeine doesn’t affect hydration.
There are a wide variety of herbal teas available, for example, peppermint and fruit teas, which are often caffeine free. These provide hydration without caffeine for those who wish to avoid it. So a refreshing cup of tea can help effectively hydrate the body and contribute to the recommended daily intake whilst offering the added bonus of taste varieties.
Dehydration in the elderly is particularly common due to decreased kidney function and conditions including Parkinson’s, Dementia, or those who have experienced a stroke or have difficulty swallowing. The ability to recognise thirst also decreases with age so ensuring seniors drink around eight glasses of fluid a day is a difficult challenge. Regularly offering a cup of tea, or making it readily available to residents at care homes via their own tea-making facilities, will ensure seniors combat dehydration.
The importance of water is undisputed and there are a number of ways to stay hydrated if the taste of water does not appeal. Head over to Tetley’s website to discover a diversity of blends, from classic black tea to fruit and herbal infusions, that will contribute to a daily water intake with exciting and varying flavours.