Drink to Hydration Week

07/03/2019 - 06:00
Feeling tired? Drink water. Losing concentration? Drink water. We’re told over and over again to drink more water, but does it really make a difference?

Ahead of Nutrition and Hydration Week (11-17 March), and Twinings Foodservice’s launch of Cold In’fuse, it spoke to Colette Heneghan, peak performance and nutrition coach and an expert in hydration about the importance of drinking water.

Heneghan said: “Even just a couple of hours in an air-conditioned office is going to have a negative effect on hydration.  Normal daily turnover of water is 4% of body weight, just from everyday activities such as breathing and normal organ function. 

“Negative effects can be observed from just 1%, so in a matter of a few hours of normal working, if you haven’t had water then there could already be implications for your performance.”

The Natural Hydration Council cite that 89% of people are not drinking enough water every day, yet being just 1% dehydrated already starts to affect cognitive performance and short-term memory. 

Bouts of tiredness, headaches and lack of concentration may also be experienced, yet simply maintaining our water intake can help to reverse symptoms of dehydration. 

A Business Fundamental

“Drinking water in the workplace should be a business fundamental,” explained Heneghan.

“It’s something that has to be spoken about.  We need to get more workplaces and workplace caterers to focus on hydration to reap the dual benefits for employer and employee.  We’re missing a really easy fix here for many of our day to day symptoms such as tiredness, headaches and brain fog.” 

“I go to many meetings in offices where water isn’t provided and even in a meeting of only a couple of hours, without water, concentration and cognitive function can be impaired. If you have been in that meeting for just 2 hours without a drink, it’s likely you’re dehydrated and by the end of it, you’ve already been less brilliant than you wanted to be.”

“Worryingly, air-conditioned offices have an even greater effect on dehydration levels.  After just a few hours of being at work, if we haven’t had a drink then we are already likely to be dehydrated. Without water, employees can expect brain fog and lack of concentration to appear.

“In theory, we should be sipping water every hour to maintain hydration for optimum performance.  At the end of the day we want to be at our best, so why comprise that state!?”

But the benefits of hydration are not just confined to tiredness and memory, she added: “Another factor with dehydration is that it can affect our immunity, potentially making employees more susceptible to colds and infections. This can obviously lead to additional sick days and greater time off.”

But not all drinks are the same

“There is a difference in the type of hydration that we receive from different drinks”, explains Colette, “All drinks have some hydration, but the gold standard is water.  The ideal drink is something that doesn’t have sugar and doesn’t have anything artificial. The problem however, is that one of the biggest barriers to drinking water is that we don’t like the taste.”

Jacqui Chapman, shopper marketing manager at Twinings Foodservice added: “We all know that we should drink more water, yet still almost 9 in 10 of us simply don’t drink enough to keep our hydration levels at the optimum level for brain and body performance.  We should be drinking around 6 to 8 glasses a day but one of the biggest barriers to drinking water is the taste.”

To combat the taste of water, Twinings have developed Cold In’fuse, which an be added to cold water and release a fruity flavour.

The way forward…

So, how can we increase our water intake?   

“If employees simply drank water immediately after they woke in the morning, after hours of dehydration, it would be a massive upgrade to their business day and would get them off on the right track. Water bottles are also an easy win, they are portable and are on hand for sips of water to be taken throughout the day. Employers can either offer these as part of an employee welfare scheme or include as part of a promotion within an outlet.” 

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