staying hydrated - a row of water bottles filled with water

Alarmingly, in the UK, 60% of people drink just one glass of water or less a day – and we need more. Being properly hydrated is essential to life, and if you’re trying to be that little bit sharper, then proper hydration could be your best friend. So do it now, get up, go to the tap, pour yourself a glass and get drinking.

See – that was easy! And here are lots more helpful tips on staying hydrated, some from me and some from our lovely social community.

  • My top tip, as ridiculously obvious as it sounds, is to put water in front of you! Whether it’s a glass at your desk, a jug on the kitchen table, a bottle when you’re out and about – if you’ve always got water to hand you’re more likely to pick it up and drink it.
  • Keep a litre bottle on your desk so you have something to measure your intake against, or buy a bundle of smaller bottles if a litre is too daunting.
  • TIP: Flavour water naturally with fruit if you’re not keen on plain water.fruitwaterlollies
  • Eat hydrating foods such as watermelon or make your own fresh fruit ice lollies with a little crushed fruit diluted with water.
  • Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so every time you feel peckish, drink a glass of water before you eat to make sure you aren’t confusing hunger with dehydration. This is a good way to cut out unnecessary calories! herbalteas
  • Lower-fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including teas and herbal teas, coffee (in moderation, of course), and fruit juice contribute, too, as do foods with a high water content. Stick to a maximum of one 150ml serving of unsweetened fruit juice per day – this will count as one portion of your 5-a-day, but also means you’re not overdoing it on the sugar front. 
  • TIP: Why not set yourself a timer as a reminder to drink a glass of water every hour?
  • When you’re out having drinks with friends, it’s important to stay well hydrated. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes us go to the loo more, and so could result in us becoming dehydrated. Remember to keep hydrated throughout and limit your alcohol intake. flavouredwater
  • TIP: To really enjoy all the wonderful flavours of your food, water is the best ally to have at mealtimes, because it’s neutral.
  • Staying hydrated during exercise and sporting activity is super-important. The amount of fluid we need depends on the humidity and temperature of the environment, the level we’re sweating, and the intensity and duration of the activity. During moderate activity, sip water at regular intervals. With more intensive workouts of more than 1 hour, 50/50 fruit juice/water can help maintain energy levels.

To find out more about the wonderful world of water, the role it plays in keeping us healthy and how much we should be drinking each day, check out my tips to Drink water & thrive.

Extract adapted from Super Food Family Classics by Jamie Oliver, published by Penguin Random House Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2016 Super Food Family Classics). Cover photography by Paul Stuart.