After announcing our partnership earlier this week, we spoke to Jenny Hardwick, a member of Britvic’s Nutrition Team, about the links between hydration, nutrition and positive Mental Health.
Good Hydration for a Good Mood
There are increasing amounts of scientific evidence to suggest that what we put into our bodies has a real influence on our mood. A healthy and balanced diet plays a role in regulating our mood as does good hydration, so it’s not to be forgotten about! The human body is made up of around 70% water and it plays several roles from helping to keep your heart pumping to regulating body temperature, so it’s important that we keep topped up, aiming for 1.5-2L water per day.
What are the effects of dehydration on our wellbeing?
When we’re dehydrated, it can take its toll on our mental wellbeing. Feelings of tiredness, dizziness and light-headedness are common, and it can impact our emotional state making us more irritable.
Concentration and memory can also be impaired and together these symptoms could leave us feeling in a poor state of wellbeing. Studies suggest that even mild dehydration can lead to increased tension and anxiety.
How do you know if you’re dehydrated?
Do you feel thirsty? That’s our bodies way of telling us we need to drink more! Also, check your pee, if you’re dehydrated your pee will be a dark yellow or orange colour so you need to be drinking more.
Good sources of hydration
Water is the gold standard for hydration. Free of calories and straight out of the tap.
Tea/ coffee/ herbal tea provide hydration and some extra nutrition if you add milk. Don’t forget to be mindful of the amount of caffeine you’re having with tea/coffee.
Milk counts as fluid and is a great way to get extra calcium in your diet. Be mindful of the fat content and choose semi-skimmed or skimmed if you’re managing your weight and full fat if you’re looking to gain weight.
Sugar free soft drinks such as squash and sodas make hydration a little more interesting. Add a drop of squash to still or sparkling water to make yourself a refreshing drink. These drinks are acidic so drink in moderation.
Fruit and Vegetables also contribute to your fluid intake! Cucumber, tomatoes, mushrooms, watermelon and apples are just a few of the foods which are high in water. It’s also a great way of reaching your 5-a day. Don’t forget smoothies and juices count too but stick to a 150ml portion per day.
Keep a water bottle handy wherever you are, if it’s there you’ll drink it! Aim for 1.5 – 2 litres a day.
Eat your fruit and veg, not only is this great for overall health and wellbeing but it also helps you to keep hydrated.
Not a fan of water? Add sugar-free squash or a wedge of fruit to make it more interesting!
Drink more if it’s hot or if you’ve been particularly active.
Resources / References
Feeding Minds, Mental Health Foundation –
British Dietetic Association & Mind
British Nutrition Foundation – Healthy Hydration
Adan, A. 2012. Cognitive Performance and Dehydration. Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Merhej, R. (2019), Dehydration and cognition: an understated relation. International Journal of Health Governance 2019:24(1):19-30.
Ganio (2011). Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men. 389414