NGC: Are You Drinking Enough?

are you drinking enough

Want to know a subtle and sneaky thing that could be making you feel tired and irritable? Giving you headaches? The answer is mild dehydration. Or, on the flip-side, drinking enough fluids is a super easy way to give you more energy and improve your mood. Who doesn’t want that this time of year (and all year long)?! Being adequately hydrated will also help you digest foods well, circulate nutrients throughout your body, and keep you regular. Which only leaves one question: how much do you need to drink? Is the popular advice of “8 glasses of water a day” right? In short, no.

Are You Drinking Enough?

How much fluids you need depends on your body size and how much you sweat. A good starting place is:

  • 2.2 Litres (9 cups) for women
  • 3 Litres (12 cups) for men

Your needs will vary from this if you’re particularly petite, large, physically active, or vacationing in a hot location. Your individual sweet spot is the amount of fluids where your pee is clear to light yellow, but you’re not needing to pee non-stop all day and night. Start with the amount I’ve listed above and adjust to find your sweet spot.

Now I need to address a couple of things that you’ve likely heard about drinks and hydration:

  1. Coffee is dehydrating. Myth. That’s right, this one isn’t true. Coffee and tea aren’t dehydrating. Go ahead and count them towards your cups of fluid per day.
  2. Alcohol is dehydrating. True. Yes, alcohol is dehydrating. (Now you know why I planned this Nutrition Game Changer for the holiday season.) Add an extra 1 – 2 glasses of fluids for each glass of wine, beer, or booze that you drink.

So, What Counts Towards Drinking Enough Fluids?

  • Water (plain, fizzy, or flavoured).
  • Juice (fruit or veggie).
  • Coffee, tea, herbal tea.
  • Milk and plant-based milk alternatives.
  • Broth and soup.
  • Pop (or “soda” for you American readers). Yes, it does count. But relying on it frequently will send you over the recommended amounts of sugar.
  • Electrolyte drinks (e.g. sports dinks). They have a role if you are exercising for 1 hour or longer and/or sweating excessively (e.g. in a hot and humid location, wearing heavy equipment). That sweat you’re losing is salty so you need to replace both fluids and the salt (a.k.a. electrolytes). Athletes in training will have additional fluid and nutrient needs. That’s a different situation than I’m covering in this post. If it describes you, I recommend connecting with a sports dietitian.

[Note: a Nutrition Game Changer (NGC) is a food or habit that has made a big impact on the nutritional health of clients I’ve worked with. And, in my life too. Some may call these nutrition hacks. But I'm not a fan of that phrase. I share one NGC each month.]

Curious about how I can help you achieve your health and nutrition goals? Schedule a (free) call to find out.

Could Drinking More Water Really Make You Happier?

Drinking More Water Really Make You Happier

Could drinking more water really make you happier? Some of the symptoms of mild dehydration are tiredness and irritability. Imagine if drinking some more fluids could be the secret to being happier? Now that’s worth a try!

The fluid recommendations are 2.7 Litres of total fluid per day for women and 3.7 Litres of total fluids for men (age 19 – 70 who aren’t intense athletes, living in 30 degree C or hotter weather, or pregnant/ breastfeeding). But those are the recommendations for total fluids – including everything you drink and the liquid naturally found in food. And, when I look closely at the evidence on which they created those recommendations, it isn’t super strong.

My personal experience is that people feel their best on a bit more water than is recommended. That’s why I recommend that women drink 2.5 Litres of water (or other naturally sugar-free and decaffeinated beverages). And, men drink 3.5 Litres of water.

Your other beverages and the fluid in your foods will be on top of this water.

Reach this level for a few days and see how you feel. Then, slowly decrease the amount of water that you’re drinking and take note of how you feel. You’ll find the sweet spot between needing to pee constantly, and having good energy.

Curious about how I can help you achieve your health and nutrition goals? Schedule a (free) call to find out.

When Can I Stop Boiling Water for My Baby?

Stop Boiling Water for My Baby

“Can you tell me when I can stop boiling water for my baby (formula)? And when I can stop sterilizing her bottles? Seems silly since she puts everything else in her mouth.” Thank you to the parent who asked me this question.  Parents also often ask me a related question: whether they need to boil water when they’re teaching their babies how to drink from a lidless cup or sippy cup. So I’ll answer all these water-related questions together here.

Sterilizing Baby Bottles

It’s safest to always sterilize bottles before using them. As long as you’re using bottles (for any liquid), do continue to sterilize them. Breastmilk and formula are both rich foods for babies, and unfortunately for germs too. Bottles, nipples, lids, etc have so many nooks and crannies that they’re difficult to scrub clean. Sterilizing is the best way to make sure that you’re keeping your baby safe. Use a sterilizer or boil all parts in a pot of boiling water. Household dishwashers aren’t able to truly sterilize bottles. For more directions check out: http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile69a.stm

Boiling Water for Baby Formula

If you’re feeding your baby powdered or liquid concentrate formula, always use water that has been boiled. There is no age to stop using the boiled water. There are thorough step-by-step instructions available at this great resource: http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile69b.stm

Boiling Water for Baby (Drinking)

Any time after you’ve started introducing solid foods, you can start providing your baby the opportunity to learn how to use an open/ lidless cup and a sippy cup (yes, even as young as 6 months). As long as you have safe drinking water, you can use water from your cold tap. There’s no need to pre-boil this water. What do I mean by “safe drinking water”? I mean that you live in a city or town with a municipal water system and you’re using the water that’s intended for drinking (sometimes the term “potable” is used). Or, you’re on a well system that you’ve had tested recently and know is safe. If you haven’t had your well tested in a long time, this is a great reason to get testing done.

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