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11 easy ways to drink more water

19th December 2018

As we head into the summer months, with the hot Australian weather affecting the symptoms of many people with MS, water intake and hydration is hot on our minds. Not only is drinking enough water essential to our overall health and wellbeing, it can also help to manage MS symptoms such as heat sensitivity, continence problems, and fatigue.

The body cannot store fluid, and as the heat in the coming months will have us sweating more—in addition to every day fluid losses caused by breathing and going to the toilet—that fluid needs to be replaced. Prolonged exercise, air travel, and vomiting and diarrhoea also cause more fluid loss than usual.

The amount of water you need to drink every day depends on your physical activity, body weight, and the weather. Certain medical conditions can also play a factor. On average, it is recommended that adults drink between 1.5 and 2 litres every day.

The human body is comprised of 60 per cent water, and the brain is 75 per cent water. If that’s not enough, our blood is mostly water! Having enough fluid in the body help us with digestion, liver and brain function, and helps to cushion our joints (like our knees and elbows). In layman’s terms, drinking enough water is SUPER important to keep our bodies healthy and functioning the way they’re supposed to.

Always follow your GPs instructions for fluid restrictions with certain medical conditions such as heart, kidney or liver problems. For more information about water intake and your MS symptoms, contact an MS nurse.

How do I know if I’m drinking enough water?

It’s recommended that adults drink between 1.5 and 2 litres every day. The best drink is plain water.

Drink enough to quench your thirst, and until your urine appears a pale yellow colour (like a lemon or banana).

Helpful tips to help increase your intake

  1. Try different types of fluid – soda or mineral water, milk, jellies, soups, custards, whole fruits and vegetables.
  2. Add a dash of cordial or fruit/vegetable juice to your water for more flavour.
  3. Use a jug – fill up at the start of the day, and drink small amounts often.
  4. Buy a filter jug or a filtration tap for the kitchen sink, if taste is a problem.
  5. Have a drink with each meal and snack.
  6. Limit caffeine drinks (coffee, tea, chocolate milk, iced coffee, energy drinks) to a maximum of 2 or 3 cups a day.
  7. Avoid sugar-loaded drinks - a can of soft drink can contain up to 12 teaspoons of sugar, without any beneficial nutrients.
  8. Drink sports drinks if you are exercising intensively.
  9. Try herbal or fruit teas such as peppermint tea or green tea.
  10. Carry a water bottle.
  11. Suck on ice cubes in warmer weather.

Sources

Kidney Health Australia, www.kidney.org.au
Continence Foundation Australia, www.continence.org.au
St John’s First Aid, www.stjohn.org.au

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11 easy ways to drink more water