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The food and drink balance. Important for everyone!

The food and drink balance. Important for everyone!

A balanced diet with enough liquid is essential for everyone, especially those who are ill. This week is Nutrition and Hydration week, which aims to ensure the good food, sufficient water and assistance to eat and drink that are all vital for recovery.

With concerns about hospital food in the news again, it is a timely moment for this campaign.

Good nutrition and sufficient hydration is essential to maintain good health. We know what we should eat – but what should we drink?

The European recommendation is to drink 1.6 litres of (non-alcoholic!) fluid a day for women, and two litres for men. Those in hot environments or who are doing heavy exercise will probably need more. If your urine is dark, you have a headache and you feel tired, a big drink of water may be all that you need.

The answer is not always ‘just drink more’. Too much water can be a problem if it is not balanced with food. The United States Park Service found this out when encouraging Grand Canyon visitors to drink plenty for their hot, dry hikes. There were many cases of ‘water intoxication’ – so visitors are now reminded to eat properly as well.

Despite the advertising hype, the best liquid for hydration is water. Sports drinks and juice may taste good, but they contain a lot of sugar. Tea and coffee also have to be drunk in moderation to ease the caffeine dose.

There’s simply no substitute for good old water – so fill up a bottle for your trip to the gym.