So, last but most definitely not least in the POWER series, comes R for Revitalising Drinks. This component takes centre stage as it really needs to be a major feature of your day.
Water should be your primary beverage as it's free of additives, sugar, sweeteners or any questionable ingredients and it's generally free! Water has many benefits:
keeps you hydrated and energised
helps you feel more alert
helps you keep a healthy body weight
delivers nutrients to all your cells
makes your skin glow
helps your joints feel more supple
may relieve tension headaches
helps your body regulate body temperature
helps prevent constipation
flushes waste products out of the body,
lifts your mood ... and generally makes you feel better.
Ideally you want to go for filtered water, even if only for the taste (chlorine is not a great flavour!) and for some extra zing, you can add some refreshing veggies or fruit like cucumber, lemon, strawberries or mint. Just beware of the commercial flavoured waters which are often full of additives and sweeteners. Check the label before you buy.
What about sparkling water?
The good quality sparkling waters e.g. Perrier, San Pellegrino, are fine in moderation but avoid the cheap fizzy waters as they are very unlikely to come from a natural source - in fact, the bubbles are probably made from carbon dioxide which is acidic in the body and can be a threat to our bones e.g. #osteoporosis. Same applies to any fizzy drinks.
What other Revitalising Drinks can we enjoy?
Herbal teas such as rooibos, camomile, peppermint, fennel are all caffeine-free and super hydrating. I'm enjoying kombucha at the moment - a fermented drink based on green tea that is very beneficial for the gut. Otherwise, a slice of lemon or a couple of drops of lemon essential oil in water is a lovely way to wake up the body and get your day off to a good start.
What about juices and squashes?
Juices, squashes, soft drinks should be kept to a minimum as they are high in sugar, upsetting blood sugar balance and too many of these can be associated with obesity and diabetes - so enjoy as an occasional treat and if possible dilute your juice 50/50 with water or sparkling water to avoid a blood sugar spike.
There's nothing wrong with a couple of cups of coffee or tea. Green tea is my favourite as it contains l-theanine which is calming and can counterbalance the more stimulating caffeine. Many people, however, are sensitive to caffeine and because it's a stimulant can keep disturb sleep. If this is the case, restrict your caffeine intake to no more than two cups a day, ideally before midday because it can remain in your system for many hours after consumption and even a small amount can keep you awake at night...
Don't worry, I don't intend to spoil your day - much! The body (ie the liver) can cope with a couple of glasses a day and a moderate amount of alcohol has even been associated with lower risk of heart disease or stroke.
However, it can be dehydrating and puts added pressure on the liver, hindering its ability to detoxify other substances. Alcohol can also affect mood: although it might make you feel better initially, it is actually a depressant, making you feel unhappy after the initial effects wear off.
14 units for women and 21 for men per week. Your liver can't cope with more than 2 or 3 units per day for women/men respectively.
1 bottle of wine: 9 units
1 measure of spirit: 1 unit
½ pint beer: 1 unit
Can we drink too much water?
Most people, especially those who exercise in hot weather, are more concerned about not drinking enough water. However, overhydration, or drinking too much water, can be a very dangerous condition. Drinking more water than the kidneys can get rid of in the urine can cause too much water to collect in the body, and can throw off the balance between water and sodium in your blood.
Common symptoms of overhydration include:
nausea and vomiting
changes in mental state such as confusion or disorientation
As a rule of thumb, avoid drinking more than one litre per hour of fluid.