Staying hydrated is so vital for our brain health! Dehydration causes an imbalance in the homeostatic function of the internal environment, which can adversely affect cognitive performance (including attention, memory) and mood. It tends to lead to that horrible sluggish, headachy, brain fog feeling!
Every so often we make it our goal to drink more water, but it’s so hard to be consistent!! To make the resolution stick, we decided we need to change water from being a chore in to bring a treat! How did we do this?
Add lovely things:
We love fruit and herb infused water!! It is so pretty and it makes the water taste so much more interesting and thus we are more likely to drink it. Infusing water is so simple, just add some herbs and fruit to jug / bottle / jar of water and leave it for at least an hour before drinking.
The flavours tend to be gentle and very refreshing. However, for a more intense flavour, bash the ingredients around a bit before leaving the mixture for a few hours (we usually prep ours before going to bed and leave them overnight) in the fridge to let the flavours infuse into the water. You can also blend the water and fruit together for homemade agua frescas!
It can be fun to play around with different recipes, the possibilities are endless! These are some of our favourites:
-Cucumber, mint and strawberries – Such a classic and super refreshing
-Blueberry and lavender – Sooo relaxing.
-Strawberries, lime and basil – Yummy and invigorating, this is our favourite, “right lets do this” water.
-Pineapple and sage – Sweet and fun!
-Pear, cinnamon and ginger – Warming and comforting, we sometimes like this one warm.
It is difficult to go wrong with water infusions. Just remember to select organic whenever possible, especially with fruits you don’t peel, as you don’t want to be drinking pesticides.
Make it look pretty:
We have found that making water look exciting makes the whole experience more enjoyable- try drinking infused water out of a wine glass, a cocktail glass or out of a jam jar with a straw. Much more fun! It almost tricks you into thinking you are drinking something else!
Keep a jug or glass bottle of infused water in the fridge and use that as a goal to help you measure your intake, e.g. I am going to drink one or two of these per day. If we have something prepped in advance and in the fridge it’s so much easier to stick to our goals in the moment.
If you are out and about, like at work, get a dedicated refillable bottle to use. Again, if it looks cool, fun or pretty it helps! We like the idea of a large water bottle, between 1-2 litres in capacity; from a psychological point of view, it is much easier to drink two bottles of water a day than 12 glasses.
If you’re worried about carrying around a gigantic water bottle then just buy two of three smaller ones to keep in all the different you locations you spend most time, e.g. at work, home, in your gym bag.
As well as sipping throughout the day we personally find it helps to drink a glass of water as soon as we wake up in the morning (water infused with berries, lemon and rosemary is our favourite morning ritual!). This habit is probably the most neglected yet most important.
Think about it…your body has had no water for 8-10 hours whilst sweating during the night so the first thing people should be doing is drink a good pint of water as soon as they wake up. This will not only help give you more energy but wake you up and get you ready for the day ahead.
When you are hungry, start with a glass of water before you reach for a snack; sometimes thirst can be misinterpreted as feelings of hunger. Telling people about our goals can also help as it makes us more committed. Recruiting a partner, friend or colleague can be even better as you can support each other and share ideas and tips!
It’s good to mix things up to keep life fun and to make goals manageable! So drink a mixture of beverages.
Why not drink herbal teas including Green Tea, Peppermint, Lemon & Ginger, etc to give your water a bit of extra flavour.
If you drink a lot of alcohol, coffee, or juices a good rule of thumb is for every non-water based drink try to follow with a side of water, especially if it contains caffeine as it has laxative effects, which leads to us to expelling water more quickly.
Did you know that being dehydrated by just 2% can effect energy levels by 30%. So if you need to drink 2 litres of water per day, being just 40ml down on your water intake will effect your energy dramatically! So it’s important to keep hydrated!
-Adan A. (2012). Cognitive performance and dehydration. Journal of American Collage of Nutrition. 31, 71-78.
-Hodges, M. (2012). Effects of Dehydration on Cognitive Functioning, Mood, and Physical Performance. 13, Article 2.