Is it Safe to Drink Water in Plastic Bottles?

Well, yes and no. In fact, the answer will vary depending on what plastic is being used. Thanks to the latest research below, we have been able to succinctly provide you with a clear answer to this question. It is important to firstly identify the different types of plastics that are widely used for bottled water and other drinks. There are seven different types of plastics:

  • Polythene Terephthalate (PETE or PET)
  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polystyrene or Styrofoam (PS)
  • Other Plastics

Reviewing these different types of plastics will enable us to determine whether your bottled water is harmful to your body or not.

Polythene Terephthalate (PETE or PET)

This is the most common plastic used and is a strong and lightweight plastic for packaging, water bottles, soda bottles, medicine bottles, beer bottles, salad dressing containers and mouthwash bottles. PET is approved by the FDA and health and safety agencies across the globe as being safe for contact with foods and beverages. Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated that this plastic is safe to use and does not contain any bisphenol-A (BPA) or phthalates (plasticizers). BPA is a chemical compound that has been shown to seep into food and drinks and cause negative health effects. It is important to remember many manufacturers create products free from this compound now. It is considered safe practice to not let your plastic products sit in a heated environment anyway as a precaution.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE has a higher density as opposed to the previous one. It is used for milk jugs, household cleaner containers, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, cereal box liners, and more. Similarly, to what was mentioned earlier, this plastic is considered safe to use and be in contact with food and beverages.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

This is the most durable plastic that is long lasting and is used across many industries for numerous applications to form rigid or flexible items. PVC is used to make cling film, plumbing pipes, shower curtains, pool toys and detergent bottles. Polyvinyl Chloride is known to be toxic and very harmful to humans due to the Phthalates found within it. Finding this plastic in your water bottle would not happen but you should probably avoid reheating food with cling film on from now on.

Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Like the PET, this polyethylene is low density in order for it to be more flexible and allow to be manipulated and reform its structure. Squeezy bottles, shopping bags, clothing, froze food bags, bread bags are made from LDPE for example. As it is safe by the FDA, it is recommended to keep out of the sun and heated environments.

Polypropylene (PP)

This plastic is predominately used to form such items as yogurt containers, ketchup bottles, syrup bottles, and medicine bottles. Polypropylene is considered safe to use and to be heated in microwaves.

Polystyrene or Styrofoam (PS)

PS permits to create plastic cutlery, plastic food boxes, disposable coffee cups, disc cases, meat trays, etc. Due to the chemical compounds found in the plastic after long-term exposure, polystyrene can be harmful to the body.

Other Plastics

These include polycarbonate, polylactide, acrylic, acrylonitrile butadiene, styrene, fiberglass, and nylon. It also contains the chemical BPA which has been linked to infertility, hyperactivity and other health problems when ingested regularly. They are used to make products such as sunglasses and computer cases.

Analysis

Now that we have looked at the different types of plastics, it should become much easier to answer the question. Since plastic water bottles are made from PET which is not made from BPA, you can drink water safely from your plastic bottle. If in doubt, you can simply refer to the “resin identification code” on the bottom of the bottle, which will indicate a number and let you know what plastic it is.

It is also worth mentioning that not only you should care for your health when it comes to plastic, but you should also reflect on the environmental impact. Our most recent blog investigates the consequences of using plastic on the environment and draws upon the overwhelming amount of evidence urging for a more sustainable solution.

Therefore, due to health reasons and the challenges facing the world, people are now looking at alternative methods to drink water. Here are some steps you can take to lower your risk of ingesting harmful plastics and caring for the planet.

  1. Use filtered water in a stainless-steel bottle
  2. Use bottle refilling stations to refill your stainless-steel bottle
  3. Use hygienic water fountains
  4. Use cups and plates that contain no plastic
  5. Avoid reusing a plastic water bottle
  6. Avoid microwaving food and beverages in plastic
  7. Avoid putting plastic containers in a dishwasher
  8. Do not leave your bottled water in hot environments

Conclusion

In order to understand if it is safe to drink water from plastic bottles, one must question what plastic you are using and how frequently you are using it to consume your beverages. We have found that most plastic used for food and drink in shops is considered safe but conducting your own research by referring to the resin identification code is always a smart move. Keeping your bottle out of light and heated environments are considered best practice, as well as, not reusing disposable plastic. In addition, looking to more sustainable options such as stainless steel bottles and utilising water fountains is a great solution to protect the environment and reduce plastic pollution.

What is the Environmental Impact of Plastic Cups?

Over recent years, we have seen the impact of single-use plastic cups and their effect on the environment. Through decades of producing plastic that is cheap and convenient, we have failed, as a planet, to recognise the devastating impact it has had upon wildlife and natural habitats. From the highest mountains to the deepest oceans across the globe, plastic pollution has left its mark upon the world. Here are some facts about the environmental impact of plastic that you may not be aware of.

Non-Recyclable Plastic

Contrary to the notion that most plastic can be recycled, this is in fact false. A large amount of plastic can not be recycled due to the type it is; this is because of the chemical compound used to form the plastic. Most plastics, for example, originate from crude oil and are thermoset plastic. This means that you can not remold and recycle it in any way. Therefore, simply throwing your plastic cups into the recycle bin after use will not guarantee it a sustainable outcome.

Plastic in Paper Cups

People are becoming increasingly aware that your takeaway cup of coffee or cup of water is not as recyclable as previously believed. This is due to the plastic wax that sits on the inside of the cups. Unfortunately, people are still putting their paper coffee cups and plastic drinking cups into the recycle bin after use. The misconception of how recyclable these items are is partly due to the disconnect from both the claimed recyclability from the manufacture and the rate at which they are actually recycled. The complication in the design of these products has blurred the lines and caused confusion as to what is recyclable and what is not. Inadvertabley, this has led to approximately 2.5 billion coffee cups being used and thrown away in the UK, and just 1 in 400 cups recycled each year.

Global Impact

Much like our water footprint discussed in our previous blog, plastic pollution is a global issue. Many countries around the world have effective waste management infrastructures that can adequately and securely dispose of plastic. The challenge is that due to much plastic being non-recyclable, many countries are accumulating an alarming amount of plastic that does not have any sustainable option to it. Global plastic production is rapidly increasing also. In 2000, global plastic production was 3.39 billion tones, whereas, in 2015, global plastic production reached a staggering 7.82 billion tones. Shockingly, from this an estimated 55% was discarded, 25% was incinerated and only 20% was recycled. Consequently, when we look at these figures it is no wonder we see that the desecration and pollution of natural habitats are prevalent around the world, including the rise in global warming annually.

Despite how worrying these facts can be, all is not without hope. There is a lot that we can do to fix this issue and protect future generations and the world as a whole.

It is important that counties fully comprehend the gravity of the situation and the long-term effect it will have. We do not only have a collective responsibility but also an individual one to set an example and make a difference. For example, businesses and organisations can play a vital role in this matter. Here are some ways your business can help make a positive difference and reduce the use of plastic:

  • Businesses can help by ensuring they have thorough Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) integrated into their business model.
  • Look to employ more sustainable solutions for your customers such as a plastic reduction in products.
  • Take more active measures to reduce the environmental impact of your business activities is an excellent way to reduce plastic and other environmental issues.
  • Finally, staying updated with the latest scientific evidence and research on subjects can greatly aid in your pursuit of sustainability

At Cooleraid, we have understood this and, thus, looked to sustainable solutions for our customers and the planet. For example, our transition from traditional 100% recyclable plastic cups to a PLA compostable paper cup has put us one step closer to a completely sustainable closed-loop system. We have been able to reduce our plastic waste by as much as 95-98% and are continuously looking to reduce this further through our other activities. The overall goal is to shorten the life cycle of disposable cups and give our customers peace of mind so you do not have to think about the recyclability of your drink. To find out more about Cooleraid’s social responsibility, take a look at our Lifeline page.

Conclusion

The environmental impact of plastic is alarming. There is plenty of evidence showing how it is disrupting wildlife from habitats to their food supply. Not only is it impacting wildlife but it is also affecting many parts of the world through global warming and pollution. The common belief that simply discarding your plastic waste in a recycling bin is enough, has simply proved not to be the case. Therefore, it is the responsibility of governments, businesses, and individuals to take action and look to a more sustainable solution to the issue surrounding plastic. Our collective responsibility to take necessary measures will inevitably benefit our future generations and the planet as a whole.

Does Drinking Water Help You Lose Weight?

 

Does drinking water help you to lose weight? Yes, it does. Scientific evidence suggests that not only does it help you lose weight, but it also helps you stay satiated for longer, reduces your energy intake, and boosts your metabolism. Staying hydrated is a very important ingredient in the recipe for healthy weight loss. Yet, this does not mean that you should look to drink gallons of water per day in a frantic effort to reduce your waistline. Doing this, can lead to more serious health problems which will detrimentally impact your health. Here are some useful tips which should quench your thirst for knowledge regarding water and weight loss.

A Glass of Water Before Your Meal

The notion that drinking water before you eat is widely believed to help aid in weight loss due to the fact it suppresses your appetite and induces the sensation of feeling satiated. A number of studies have confirmed this, showing that pre-meal water consumption does reduce energy intake, particularly in adults (PubMed). This can also be supported in a separate study (BBC) where a number of adults aged 55 to 75 agreed to take part in an experiment over the course of 2 weeks. The participants were split into 2 groups. The first group followed a low calorie diet but did not drink any extra water before meals. The second group followed the same diet but had to drink 2 glasses of water before their meals. Over the course of 12 weeks, the first group lost on average 11lbs, whereas, the second group lost 15.5lbs.

Review

It does appear that enjoying a crisp, refreshing glass of water before your meal will significantly aid in one’s diet. Ultimately, consuming a glass of water before your meal is beneficial for weight loss, however, it is also important to consider that a healthy low calorie meal and substituting unhealthy beverages is just as important in this process.

Watch What You Drink

There is a general misconception that consuming drinks labelled ‘zero sugar’ or ‘diet soda’ will help with weight loss. This popular belief has been exasperated by the media, and as more research is conducted, news is revealing that substituting all fizzy drinks for pure simple water is, in fact, the real answer. A study in 2015 found that the consumption of ‘zero sugar’ fizzy drinks loaded with artificial sweeteners actually escalated abdominal obesity (PubMed) increasing the waist circumference of adults in the long-term. Using ‘zero sugar’ drink’s as a tool for weight management is therefore quite counterproductive and could be equally as damaging as drinks containing sugar. Drinks with sugar naturally are loaded with calories which increase your daily energy consumption exponentially; such a large quantity of refined sugars in someone’s drink also increases your appetite and insulin produced in the body. This is not exclusive to just fizzy drinks, being mindful of the sugars hidden in alcohol, juices and other beverages are also just as important. Studies have consistently proven that switching to water promotes short-term and long-term weight loss (Oxford Academic).

Review

The evidence is conclusive that by simply drinking clean water you will see improvement in your weight loss goals and overall health. Drinking beverages containing sugar and artificial sweeteners will increase your waist size and could precisely be the reason for the stagnation in your reaching your weight loss goals; by substituting these beverages for H2O you will ultimately reap the benefits of water.

Drinking Water Boosts Your Metabolism

Ingesting more water can actually help you burn body fat even when you are sitting down. Studies have revealed that if you drink just 500ml of water it can actually spike your resting metabolic rate by 24% (PubMed). Evidence consistently proposes across various studies that drinking water is significantly associated with weight loss with one particular study seeing weight loss up to an extra 2kg completely independent of exercise. This will most likely be music to some of our reader’s ears, the fact that you can actually lose weight without even signing a gym membership! That being said, this study was over the course of 1 year, therefore, it is important to recognise exercise will compliment your weight loss plan. Not only does it boost your metabolism but drinking water is essential for the absorption of nutrients and minerals in your diet, as well as, carrying oxygen to vital organs and muscle groups (Mayo Clinic).

Review

By just having a glass of water you will obtain a distinctive advantage in your weight loss due it boosting your metabolism. Drinking water also lubricates the joints and helps absorb nutrients and minerals from your diet. This makes it even more important for those that are going to the gym and exercising, which can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Water and the Gym

Going to the gym will naturally help you lose bodyweight much quicker and water compliments this goal a lot. Water lubricates the joints, helps regulate the body’s temperature and is necessary for hydration, especially when exercising. Conclusive evidence has been accumulated in this field of study advising adequate hydration of the body during physical exercise for optimal performance and health. Dehydration across various studies (Science Direct) has strongly indicated an adverse effect in physical performance for those that are not staying hydrated. This is a very important factor to consider for people that are engaging in popular training styles such as high intensity interval training (HIIT), which rapidly deplete glycogen stores in the muscle, thus, making it imperative for the body to have enough water to feed nutrients and minerals to the body.

Review

It is important that you are hydrated when undertaking physical exercise. Ensuring you drink plenty of water and not become distracted by various branded beverages can boost your weight loss tremendously.

Making Sure You Drink the Right Amount

If you are reading this and believe that chugging gallons of water is the way forward, then you probably want to put that jug of water down for a second. How much water you need to drink is thought to completely depend on a number of factors, such as your weight, height and activity level (WebMD). For example, if you are exercising regularly, then you must drink more water due to water loss through perspiration, on the other hand, if you are drinking other beverages such as a glass of wine or beer, then you will need more water to counteract the dehydration caused by alcohol. Our bodies can also only sustain so much water before it starts to negatively impact our overall health. Over hydrating, the body can be a very serious matter leading to kidney problems and possible water intoxication. In the UK, the NHS recommends that you should consume about 6-8 glasses (1.2 litres) of fluid per day (NHS) to stay hydrated, whereas, American research recommends 8oz glasses of water per day (1.9 litres), otherwise known as the 8×8 rule. The disparity in these figures is thought to be due to the difference in climate conditions between the US and the UK. A good way to ensure you are drinking enough is to simply use these guidelines and to check what colour your urine is. The NHS provides a guide (NHS) that is easy to understand, detailing what colour your urine should be, including additional signs and symptoms of hydration and dehydration.

Review

It is imperative to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to help you achieve your weight loss goals. It is important that you drink the right amount of water and not too much, this is because water intake is completely dependent on your activity level, height, weight and foods you consume.

Conclusion

The emerging buzz around water and weight loss has sparked curiosity and an unquenchable thirst for the truth around how we can utilise water to lose weight. Scientific evidence does, in fact, strongly suggests that consuming the recommended amount of water per day will help you lose weight. We have provided some simple tips you can employ today based on the research covered so you can harness the potential benefits of water and achieve healthy weight loss.

10 Tips for Drinking More Water Per Day

  1. Wake up and have a glass of cold water in the morning to boost your metabolism
  2. Don’t like plain water? Flavour your water with fruits such as lemon and berries
  3. Have a glass of water before your meal
  4. Have a glass of water with your meal instead of other beverages
  5. Track how much and what you drink
  6. Take a bottle of water to the gym
  7. Use your water cooler instead of drinking fizzy drinks
  8. Prepare the right amount of water you will drink in the fridge
  9. Set reminders so you will not forget
  10. Drink herbal tea so you do not always have to drink cold beverages

Do you have any other useful tips? Join in the conversation on our Twitter page and share with us your ideas and thoughts.

How to Reduce your Water Footprint

Introduction

Most people on a day-to-day basis take for granted the water we use. It is either our ignorance or the ability to disregard certain facts in the world which have led to the global water crisis facing the planet. The water footprint is a key tool to drive change and help businesses and governments solve this issue facing our future generations. In the 1990s alone, some 8.1 tons of natural resources were used to satisfy a person’s need, while in 2015, almost 12 tons of resources were extracted per person. Water consumption alone during this period increased from 3.32 trillion cubic meters to 3.87 trillion cubic meters by 2010 (ourworldindata.org). The increasing consumption of water means that it is essential to consider our water footprint to benefit our environment. So what exactly is our water footprint and how can we take action to reduce it?

What is your Water Footprint?

The water footprint is used by many countries all over the world to help reduce their water consumption. It shows the total amount of water used to produce goods or services that are consumed by a person, community, business, etc. To fully understand it, there are two factors that need to be considered: these being our direct and indirect footprint.

Direct water footprint

Our direct water footprint can easily be defined as the water we use at home. It is the water flowing through the mains of our buildings and plumbing systems across many parts of the globe.

Indirect water footprint

Indirect water footprints refer to the freshwater consumption and pollution associated with the production of the goods and services consumed by us; it can sometimes be referred to as virtual water (watereducation.org). For example, most people are unaware it takes 2,000 gallons of water to produce a single pair of jeans, (Curiosity) 168 litres of water to produce 1 pint of beer, and a standard cup of coffee has a water footprint of 130 litres. (Guardian, 2013).

When we start to dive deeper into the water used to produce our food, drinks, clothes, etc. the question of why we need to reduce our water footprint becomes more apparent. It uncovers two fundamental areas of concern for our planet: water use and water consumption.

Water Use

This is the amount of water that is withdrawn from its natural resource in order to respond to the demand of agricultural, industrial and domestic users. For example, in 2019 agriculture irrigation solely accounted for 70% of water withdrawal worldwide (worldbank.org) and this is expected to increase in the future as demand rises. The United States is the largest user of industrial water, withdrawing 300 billion cubic meters per year and with the population expected to grow to almost 10 billion globally by 2050, fears of severe water scarcity are expected to boom simultaneously.

Water Consumption

Water consumption is the amount of water extracted from its natural source, however, it cannot be returned as it is no longer available for reuse. Most of this is evaporated or integrated into the goods and services we use. For example, out of 70% of the water used in agriculture irrigation, around 50% of that is estimated to be lost. This greatly challenges our efforts when it comes to finding solutions such as recycling water because most of the water used can no longer be retrieved.

Both water use and consumption have growing pressure upon the environment and can contribute to water scarcity, droughts, water exploitation, and water pollution. With only 2.5% of the earth’s water being fresh (National Geographic), it is clearly very important for us to do the best we can to reduce our water footprint.

Global Water Crisis Facts and Impact

The effect of our water use and consumption across the globe to produce goods and services can be felt across many countries. The exploitation of this resource has rippled throughout our societies calling for a state of urgency. We are at an inflection point when it comes to managing our water supplies and if change does not happen now, we could see the devastating consequences of our negligence. Take a look below at some facts about the impact of our water use/consumption and its effect upon the planet.

Facts and Impact Section

How to Reduce Your Water Footprint at Home

We have clearly established above why it is important to reduce our water footprint, now we must look at how we can alleviate the stress upon the environment. Take a look at some quick tips below to help you reduce both your direct and indirect water footprint.

Reducing your Direct Water Footprint

  • Do not clean your vegetables under a running tap, use a bowl of water instead. (Lenntech)
  • Do not fill your kettle all the way. Boil your kettle with just the right amount of water.
  • Turn off your taps completely. Do not ignore a leaky tap. It is thought that fixing a leaky tap could help save thousands of litres of clean water in a year. Need help? Check out these useful tips to get started. (Guardian)
  • Turn the washing machine on when it is full. Save water by completely filling the washing machine, not turning it on half full.
  • Keep a jug of water in your fridge. This way you can have cold water without running the tap and you can manage your water use.
  • Wash your car with a bucket and a sponge. This way you will not waste perfectly clean water through a hose.
  • Invest in an energy efficient dishwasher and washing machine. This will save you money and save water.
  • Install a modern dual flush toilet. These conserve much more water than your standard toilet which uses a greater amount of volume.
  • Take short showers instead of long baths. It is estimated that an average 8 minute shower uses 62 litres of water as opposed to 80 litres when we take a bath. (Guardian)

Reducing your Indirect Water Footprint

  • Watch what you eat. Being more conscious of what we put into our mouths makes a huge difference. For example, buying 1 kg of chocolate has an average global water footprint of 25,000 litres of water. (waterfootprint.org)
  • Use fewer animal products. Most animal products have a higher water footprint than fruits and vegetables. Reducing your meat intake and purchasing fewer animal products is a great way to reduce your indirect water footprint.
  • Switch from eating red meat to white meat. If you are not quite ready to become a vegetarian then you can significantly reduce your water footprint by eating chicken as opposed to beef. 1 kg Chicken, for example, has a water footprint of 3,900 litres compared to beef at a staggering 15,500 litres.
  • What you drink also matters. Your standard 125ml cup of coffee has a water footprint of around 130 litres compared to a cup of tea at only 30 litres.
  • Do you take sugar with your tea? Cutting down your sugar consumption can benefit both you and the planet. Just a kilo of sugar from sugar canes takes 1,500 litres to produce. Even if you are not ready to take sugar out of your tea or coffee then reducing your fizzy drinks, sweets, etc. makes a massive difference.
  • Buy more sustainable clothes. What clothes you wear matters and with fast fashion constantly pushing the latest trends out, this industry has one of the biggest impacts on water use. It is estimated that just 1 cotton t-shirt requires 2,700 litres to produce. (The River Trust)
  • Buy a water saving shower head. This is an excellent way to control the pressure and volume of water that comes out of your shower, saving you water and money at the same time.

How businesses can reduce their water footprint

We have established that there is plenty that people can do at home to reduce their water footprint, however, businesses need to recognise that they have a larger responsibility when it comes to diminishing their water footprint. Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility should be woven into the fabric of every business plan and companies that successfully take action and reduce their water footprint can make a tremendous positive impact on the environment. Here are some simple steps that your business can take to start saving water today.

Valuing Water

Most water is under appreciated in businesses; the manufacturing and production process to provide goods and services, including the supply chain process, puts a great deal of stress upon our natural resources. Companies should clearly define desired outcomes to manage their water consumption. Developing business sustainability goals that focus upon the reduction of water used is an essential first step to valuing water usage.

Measure Water Consumption

By measuring the water consumption of your company, realistic targets can then be created that look at reducing water consumption. Hire a professional to come into the business and conduct a full water audit in order to attain a clear understanding of how much water your facilities are using. This can potentially identify any inefficient ways you are wasting water saving you money in the long-term.

Taking Action

Once you have an idea of how much water your business is using, it is time to take action. You can review and analyse the findings and assess where your business is wasting water, and take the opportunity to further maximise your operations. You can also compare your water usage against industry benchmarks to then set realistic goals in reducing your water footprint. Collaboration is key at this stage and engaging with suppliers (Guardian) on water management solutions may provide you with the best practices to help save water which is relatively inexpensive and simple to implement.

Do not give up

Finally, it is important that once you have taken action to stay in control of your water management. Ensure that you are maintaining success and setting an example to your competitors, community and more. Promote your efforts and commitments to reducing your water footprint; this will ensure others will not only value your company more but also follow in your footsteps. Embedding a sustainable culture in your organisation can do wonders for your business and the planet.

The Water Footprint Assessment

The Water Footprint Assessment is an excellent tool to use which can help develop a broad range of strategies and policies from environmental, social and economic perspectives for your business. It is a four phase assessment developed by the Water Footprint Network (Water Footprint Network) and will even help you calculate your company’s water footprint.

Conclusion

To conclude, our water footprint is a very important measurement that can aid in mitigating our impact on freshwater resources across the globe. We have ascertained that if we are to reduce our water footprint, we must consider two factors; these being our direct and indirect water footprint. More importantly, we can see that there are many quick and simple ways that you can implement today to reduce your water footprint simply around the home. We have covered how businesses can look to lower their water footprint and make the first steps to save water with simple and inexpensive methods. A key point to take from this is that it is becoming increasingly alarming that water scarcity in many countries will increase rapidly over the next few decades. It is detrimental that we are active in our approach to reduce water footprints both at an individual and organisation level. With these easy home practices, you can start reducing your water footprint today which will help safeguard our current and future generations from the global water crisis.

Do you have any other useful tips? Join in the conversation on our Twitter page and share with us your ideas and thoughts.

Resolution Resolutions for 2020!

We all head into the New Year full of promises we’ve made to ourselves; we’ll be healthier, fitter, kinder and in general more positive about the choices we make.  Changing bad habits is no mean feat, so it’s important to get the right mind-set before embarking on any drastic changes.

Your resolutions may be focused to areas that you need to improve, so be sure to congratulate yourself at appropriate milestones when you reach them.  See the bigger picture – not quick fixes that won’t last!

Another way to look at things is to make some smaller changes first before launching into anything life changing.  For example, rather than deciding you need to lose 2 stone, why not pledge to eat a healthy diet?  As long as you cut down on fats and sugars, you’ll more likely than not lose pounds without even realising it.  Drinking more water will also help, as it aids digestion. Perhaps you could throw away your scales – the pressure of seeing those numbers is quite often what derails the best weight loss intentions. Go by the fit of your clothes, or take measurements instead.

Whatever your resolution, keep some simple rules in place to help you stay on track. They could be things like:

  • Setting small goals to motivate you. Bitesize chunks is the way to go. Don’t overload your mind with too much clutter; keeping things simple will ease the way.
  • Limiting your resolutions to a manageable amount. As we said above, you don’t need to overload your mind with clutter. You still need to be able to focus on other important stuff.
  • Writing your goals and aspirations down. The act of writing itself signals intent, and having a visual reminder or ‘prompt’ will only help in your success.
  • Sharing your resolution journey with others. This will make you more accountable. If others are in the know, they’ll want to see your progress too.
  • Reviewing your progress, and not punishing yourself if you slip. Falling ‘off the wagon’ needn’t be the end – after all, tomorrow is another day.  Just dust yourself down and climb back on!

Hydration During the Winter Season

With summer now being a dim and distant memory and those cold and frosty mornings becoming standard, it’s that time of year when by nature we tend to ‘cosy up’.  Our hydration habits of the summer seem to be forgotten, and our usual frequent drinks of water are replaced with more infrequent hot drinks.  This is likely to be partly psychosomatic – our minds tell us we need water to cool down – when we’re feeling cold we don’t need the water!

Of course, as long as we’re drinking, we’re not doing too much damage to ourselves. Right?

When you consider that it’s thought that over a third of Brits don’t drink any water at all, even during the summer months, then it stands to reason that this number could increase during the winter.

Unless we’re doing some exercise, it’s harder to detect the usual indicators of dehydration when we’re a bit chilly. Here are some facts to consider:

  • Water loss still occurs, even if we’re cold to our bones! Shivering will help us burn off calories, and then when we layer up in order to get warm, we can sweat without even realising.  Most of this excess moisture will be absorbed into our clothes, completely undetected.
  • You can see water loss. Those freezing cold days can be an eye opener.  Stepping outside your front door and seeing your breath will help you realise just how cold it is. That breath is actually water vapour – water that should be replaced through proper hydration.
  • Circulation can slow. Our hands, fingers, nose, feet and toes are often the coldest parts of our bodies during the winter.  The extremities tend to have reduced blood circulation causing our kidneys to pass more water.  This can result in more frequent loo visits.
  • Central heating can dry us out. The first thing we do during a cold snap is whack up the heating.  Days later we may notice that our skin is dry and our hair lacklustre.  Our bodies are literally drying from the outside in!
  • Our favourite tipple may warm us up too much! How cosy, when we sit by the fire and have a shot of whiskey or brandy to warm our cockles!  Very high in alcohol, these drinks can dehydrate our organs in no time, not to mention leave us with a headache in the morning. Match your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water to remain hydrated.

Not everybody wants to drink water, whatever time of year it is.  If you prefer something a bit more exciting, switch it up a little.  There are plenty of flavourings and ideas to try to bring a little more variety to your drinks!

Looking After Your Voice

Ever feel like you struggle to find your voice? We mean literally. When you first wake in the morning it might take a few minutes before the frog in your throat hops off elsewhere and you can talk in a relatively normal voice. In the summer when it’s hot and you open your mouth to say something and a high pitched squeak comes out. Even in the winter, when you’ve got the central heating on full whack, and all you can muster is a hoarse grunt!

This is down to a combination of mild dehydration and a dry atmosphere. As talking is usually second nature – something we do without thinking about it – it can be difficult to remember that our vocal chords need good hydration in order to function just like the rest of our body.

There are a few factors that can impede our ability to speak clearly and which contribute to ‘drying out’ or dehydrating our vocal chords.

  • Physical activity can make us lose water through sweating which needs to be replenished if dehydration is to be avoided.
  • Heating/Air Con. Either of these (particularly in confined spaces) will dry out the atmosphere in no time at all!
  • Some cold and flu or allergy medications can have a drying effect of the body.
  • As a diuretic, caffeine based drinks make us lose more water through urination than regular water would.
  • General illness. Just being under the weather can be dehydrating, particularly if you’re running a bit of a temperature.  Your sore throat might not just be because you’re sick – it may be a knock on effect from water deficit.
  • We all know how bad for our bodies the toxic chemicals from smoking are. First hit are our throats!
  • Breathing in pollutants in the air are almost unavoidable. If you live near to an industrial area, or high traffic area where there are elevated vehicle fumes, it may be wise to wear an anti-pollution mask.

If you are suffering from a dry throat when you speak, you’re almost certainly dehydrated already.  Drink water regularly, rather than just when you’re thirsty. After all, you will rarely see an artist singing on stage who doesn’t have a bottle of water to hand. When your voice is your livelihood you need to look after it!

Can Dehydration Affect Your Sleep?

What’s the first thing you think about when you wake up?  Is it how you don’t want to get out of bed, because you’re tired and would just rather put your head back under the pillow?  Maybe it’s that you’re feeling a little thirsty, and are ready to head downstairs and flick on the kettle for a large bucket of coffee?  For most of us, it’s connected with either of the above, and both can be linked with a lack of hydration overnight.

If your first thought of the day is about drinking copious amounts of coffee or tea or other caffeinated beverages, then you could be doing your sleep habits no good at all.  You don’t need to forfeit the early morning pick-me-up completely, but maybe think about starting off with some water first just so that you’re not overloading on diuretics.

It could seem like a vicious circle that you can’t get out of, but the less sleep you have, the more likely you are to be dehydrated.  The more tired you feel, the more coffee you might want to consume in order to combat that tiredness, which as a knock on effect will dehydrate you more quickly.

There is also a scientific explanation for dehydration during sleep (or lack of it) – our brains produce a hormone called vasopressin which basically signals the kidneys to conserve enough water to prevent dehydration.  The less we sleep, the lower the level of vasopressin that’s produced. The lower the level, the less we sleep.  There’s that vicious circle.

The easiest way to stay on top is to make sure you compensate for your body’s water deficit.  Drink less caffeine and more water.  Simple.  Electrolytes also help with hydration and fluid regulation so if you’re looking for a little less of a plain liquid to drink, then you could switch to coconut water which is packed with them.  Vegetable and fruit juices are also electrolyte rich so long as they’re freshly made, and not of the pasteurised and added sugar variety.

 

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7 Simple Tips to Make You Drink More Water

As if by magic we’ve reached September!  After the heatwave of a fortnight ago, it’s strange to realise that the weather is starting to have that autumnal feel too – the mornings are decidedly cool compared to those of last month.

During the hot weather, we obviously tend to drink a little more than normal as dehydration sets in quicker when we’re all hot and bothered.  We shouldn’t reduce the amount we drink though just because it’s cooling down a bit.

Water is the aid for many a health issue, and we already know that staying hydrated can improve digestion, complexion and immune system health.  Challenge yourself – drink 1-2 litres of water per day for the next 2 weeks and see how much better you feel.  And if you’re not sure how you’ll manage it, below are some simple tips to help you.

  1. Drink a glass as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. If you can, ditch the coffee in favour of some water, hot if you like, with a squeeze of lemon juice.  If you really can’t do without the caffeine boost, drink some water first, then have your usual rocket fuel.
  2. During your working day, each time you have a loo break, have some water afterwards. Think of it as the perfect ‘wash’ cycle for your insides – wash, rinse, repeat!
  3. Drinking spring water almost feels like a luxury! You may be lucky enough to have a water cooler at work, but not many of us have them at home. A good quality water filter is a close second and will sit neatly on your kitchen counter to remind you to drink.
  4. Water dense foods are a great way to drink what you eat! Fruit and vegetables are a fabulous way to hydrate.
  5. Sparkling mineral water is perfect if you love fizzy drinks. Add a splash of cordial if you need a sweet fix.
  6. Eating spicy food is a sure fire way to make sure you consume a bit more water. Cooling your mouth down may seem like the primary goal, but the more water you need to douse those flames, the better for you!
  7. Dilute your other drinking habits. By this we don’t literally mean add water to your other drinks, but be mindful that coffee and tea are diuretic so need counterbalancing. If you’re partial to a night on the town, drinking one for one will reduce the chances of a bad hangover too!

Why Do We Need To Drink More Water?

Most of us can say that we’re healthy.  We feel ready for the day when we get out of bed in the morning, and thankfully get through the day without incident! Most of us.

But even those of us that don’t have any illness, chronic or otherwise, could be neglecting our bodies without realising it.  And it can all start with mild dehydration.

There is an almond sized gland in our brains called the hypothalamus which controls certain metabolic processes and other activities of the nervous system; for example hunger, body temperature, sleep, fatigue and thirst.  When there’s not enough fluid in our body, this gland detects dehydration and releases certain hormones which control the kidneys and stops them from releasing more water.  Urination is reduced which then signals the brain to crave more water in order to return hydration levels to normal.

If you ignore your body’s signals for more water, chronic dehydration and other potential illnesses and infections could be only hours away.

It would be unrealistic to drink water 24/7, without any other drinks included in our diets.  If like us you need a strong coffee to get going in the morning, do try and balance it out with a glass of water afterwards.  Coffee and tea are diuretic which increase blood flow to the kidneys, forcing urination whether we need it or not!

Ensuring hydration throughout the day will support overall cellular health, it will kick start your metabolism, decrease swelling in joints, reduce the chances of fatigue, muscle cramps and dizziness, as well as keeping your kidneys and other organs in good working order.

Our brains are the driving force behind all of our body’s organs, functions and responses to those functions – we really shouldn’t trick them, just hydrate them!