Sharpen Up Your Mind!

As the nights are drawing in earlier and earlier, and you’ve had a long and hard day at work, the idea of fitting in some exercise before you call time on your day is less than appealing! Curling up in front of the TV seems much more like your cup of tea. But the simple fact is if we make the effort, we will feel more energised with a positive mind set, as well as giving ourselves a big pat on the back!

Growing evidence has revealed that exercise affects our brains in such a way that it can relieve depression and anxiety whilst keeping our minds active, regardless of age.  Keeping fit will also keep our doctors happy!  The risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes is greatly reduced when we take regular exercise and keep our weight within a healthy range.  However, less emphasis is placed on the effects that a healthy lifestyle has on our brains.  A strange concept considering that our brains are the physical organ that respond to everything we put our bodies through!

In order to protect our cognitive function and help prevent the onset of dementia, a healthy diet and plenty of activity into old age will help.  Great news at a time when we’re generally living longer, but not so good when the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are closely associated with this longevity.  But the idea that we can do something to help ourselves is very welcome, and this is all down to diet and exercise.

It’s never too late to take up some form of exercise, even if you’ve never done much before.  A brisk walk to get the heart pumping and the limbs toned is a great place to start, and as you build up stamina you could increase this to a gentle jog. If you have the funds, a gym membership is well worth the cash.  Your instructor will give you a thorough induction to assess your fitness levels, and will create an exercise schedule specifically for you, taking into account any existing medical issues you may have.  As with any fitness programme, make sure you take regular trips to the water coolers to drink, in order to keep your body’s organs (the brain being just as important as the others) cleansed and hydrated.  Eating a healthy diet, avoiding processed foods and cutting down on fats, sugars and alcohol will complement your new exercise regime, as will eating water rich foods, and drinking more water.

If there’s one important thing to remember it’s this – ageing is 30% genetics and 70% lifestyle. Making the right choices now will enable us to live life to the full later.  Food for thought if you feel like missing some exercise in favour of laying on the couch!

8 Tips to Drink More Water

As our summer draws to a close and we gear up for autumn, we might all convince ourselves that the weather is going to be cold, and we pack away our summer wardrobes and pull out our comfy woollies and thick socks!  But our extreme weather trends lately see us set for some more warm weather well into October.  It’s really important that we remember to take care of ourselves, and keep up our healthy diet and hydration, so that when the weather does cool down for hibernation season, we’re ready for it!

Below are some tips and reminders about how we can manage our water intake throughout the day, ensuring we reach the magic 2 litres!

  1. Wakey wakey!

When you wake from your night’s sleep, it’s likely that you won’t have taken in any fluids for the last eight hours or so. Have a glass as soon as you get out of bed. It’s a good start!

  1. Replace your Caffeine fix

If you’re like us, the first thing you do when you get to the kitchen in the morning is flick on the kettle to make tea or coffee.  Try hot water with a squeeze of lemon instead – a great detox and calorie free!

  1. Invest in a bottle

Buying a reusable water bottle can be as cheap or expensive as you like.  There are thousands on the market, but all have one function – to get us to drink water. Keeping your bottle topped up and with you at all times will remind you to drink plenty.

  1. Set alarm bells ringing!

If you get really engrossed in your work, or forget what time of day it is, set alarms on your phone every hour or so to remind you to drink. Stretch your legs by walking to the water cooler – you’ll kill two birds with one stone.

  1. Prone to Snacking?

When you’re a bit peckish, it may well be that in reality you’re thirsty. Have some water and wait a few minutes. If you no longer have the hunger pangs, you’ll have your answer!

  1. Refill your body!

When we go for a wee, we’re essentially losing water.  Replenish it every time you go and your internal systems will all be functioning as they should!

  1. Eat as much water as you can

You did read that correctly!  Water rich foods are a great source of hydration, and there are so many to choose from, with fruit and vegetables being at the top of our go to list!

  1. Drink plenty if you want to drink plenty!

Whether you like a social drink now and again, or are a complete party animal, it’s vital to try and match your alcoholic drinks with water. One for one should see your hangover kept to a minimum and will also help flush some of those alcohol toxins from your body more quickly.

Overlooked Benefits of Drinking Water

Did you know that on a normal day (and by normal, we’re not talking about this freakishly hot summer we’re experiencing at present) we can lose almost half a litre of water from our bodies through perspiration (most of that through our feet alone)?  Unless we’re exercising, this perspiration mostly goes unnoticed, as it’s our body’s way of regulating its core temperature, even whilst resting.  But this fluid still needs to be replaced, and more so during or after physical activity (and particularly during this freakishly hot summer we’re experiencing at present!).

As we know, the recommended daily water consumption can vary, based on sex, weight, age and activity level, as well as other factors such as the climate you live in, but the rule of thumb is 2 litres (or 8 glasses) a day.  During the working day, this level of fluid intake can sometimes be difficult to maintain, as for some, it could mean countless trips to the bathroom!

The good news is that we don’t have to ‘down’ that much water quickly.  A cup or bottle on your desk will suffice, sipping at regular intervals, and a lunch consisting of water rich foods will also help to keep your fluid levels up.

As well as common sense basic survival, there are some benefits that are often overlooked when we keep ourselves properly hydrated.  Optimum hydration will:

Increase your Brain Function

If you’re struggling to concentrate, and feeling a little sluggish, don’t reach for the coffee – drink some water instead. Your brain is like a well-oiled machine – keep it hydrated and lubricated and you’ll see an increase in focus, you’ll be more alert and your concentration and productivity will improve.  A dehydrated brain will affect your mood, reduce your cognitive and motor skills, affect your memory and can also make you more sensitive to pain.

Flush Out Those Toxins

Drinking water regularly will help to flush out waste. Your skin will be hydrated and will look clearer, and your internal organs will function at full capacity! Dehydration can lead to tight, dry skin that’s prone to premature ageing, and internally your bowels will struggle, leading to constipation. Also, when we don’t drink enough, infrequent urination can cause urinary tract infections.

Keep Your Weight in Check

Quite often, we think we’re hungry when in fact we just need a drink.  Try it.  A glass of water can fill a gap in your belly, making you feel fuller.  The added benefit is that water can also improve your metabolism.

Give your Immune System a Boost

Staying hydrated is the easiest way to achieve the healthiest immune system. Water will carry oxygen to all the body’s cells resulting in properly functioning systems, whilst flushing away harmful toxins.  Keeping everything ‘flushed through’ lessens the chances of nasty illnesses developing.

Prevent Cramps, Sprains, Aches and Pains!

Water acts as a lubricant to the joints and muscles in our bodies.  Keeping them well hydrated will reduce the chances of muscle cramps and achy joints.  You’ll be more flexible and exercise will see you less sore the next day!  Of course, regular cardio exercise where you sweat more could see a reduction in minerals and electrolytes, and these can be replaced with an isotonic sports drink.

Prevent a Hangover, Naturally!

Too much to drink on a Saturday night can give you the mother of all hangovers the next day.  Reduce the risk by drinking water in between alcoholic drinks, and then a large glass before you go to bed.  You won’t smell so bad the next day either – bad breath is a clear sign of dehydration – whether it’s caused by alcohol consumption or not!

Enjoy the Benefits

Start your day by drinking a glass of water before you eat or drink anything else.  Keep a bottle with you throughout the day to ensure you remember to drink.  You may well have a couple of extra visits to the loo than you’re used to, but your body will function better, your mood will be lifted and overall you’ll be a healthier you.

Whatever environment you work in, a water cooler could be the solution to your drinking water needs.  Your employer has a duty of care to its workers, so if you haven’t already got one, ask. The benefits will be conducive to all!

5 Water Rich Foods to Help Us Stay Hydrated This Summer

Summer has well and truly arrived, and at the time of writing we’ve had a scorcher of a weekend with temperatures just shy of 30 degrees. Hydration as always, is really important particularly with soaring temperatures (which look set to continue for the foreseeable!), so we’ve all been drinking more fluids than usual.  After all, most of us have taken up residence in our gardens, enjoying it while we can, and the only thing to do to keep cool is sit in the shade with a nice cold drink!

So does the hot weather impact on our diets? In my house it certainly does!  Not because I can’t stand the thought of a hot dinner, more because I don’t want to stand and cook it!  But generally speaking, the summer is a time of Barbecues, salads and easy to prepare foods, which is perfect for the list below, detailing some of the foods richest in water content – all super healthy and ideal for helping you stay hydrated.



The Great British salad staple, with a water content of 96%.  High in vitamins A and K which are great for healthy bones and immune system, lettuce can be quite a versatile food stuff.

Top tip: If you’re watching your weight, use large leaves as a wrap instead of a tortilla.



Again, a salad staple (but can be an acquired taste), with a 95% water content.  Rich in vitamin K, potassium and fibre celery is an excellent source of nutrients and water.

Top tip:  Dieters can munch their way through a mountain of the stuff – you’ll expend more calories with the action of eating it than you’ll consume!



Ultra-low in calories, with a 95% water content plus small amounts of Vitamin K, magnesium and potassium.  Who doesn’t love cucumber added to a cheese sandwich?

Top tip:  Sliced cucumber rested on the eyelids will sooth tired, puffy eyes, and reduce the appearance of ‘bags’.



The perfect summer fruit!  Containing 92% water, watermelon is full of vitamins A and C plus magnesium and other nutrients.  A large slice will fill you up with very little calorie intake.

Top tip: When selecting your watermelon, go for an oval, uniform shape. Avoid the shiny ones – they’re not properly ripe!



A real summer favourite!  Strawberries contain around 91% water and are packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants. Use as part of a healthy fruit salad, or be really bad and just add sugar, cream or ice-cream!

Top tip: Grow your own!  Needing relatively little care, plant your strawberry plants early, in well-drained soil in a sunny position. Water regularly, pick the flowers to encourage growth and you’ll have a bumper harvest, and save a bundle!

Prevention or Cure? Water is the answer!

It’s a proven fact that drinking more water will improve your overall health and make you feel (and look) better. Dehydration can lead to feelings of exhaustion, lack of energy and bring on headaches, so it’s vitally important to drink plenty throughout the day, whether you feel thirsty or not! Not only will this combat the symptoms already listed, but it will keep your body’s level of hydration in balance, helping with more than fighting illness. It will help your skin too.

Your skin is the largest organ of the body, and should be looked after! If you treat it right throughout your lifetime, then it will repay you with a healthy complexion and fewer wrinkles as you get older. As we age, our skin can suffer from sun damage among other things, where less collagen is produced, causing it to lose some of its suppleness. By drinking water your skin will remain hydrated thus improving wrinkled areas and giving a more youthful glow. It can also help with skin that’s prone to acne or breakouts. Although it can’t act as an acne treatment, it will help clear the skin and wash out any toxins, which can dramatically improve the appearance of blemished skin.

So in order to take advantage of the most economical, pure and convenient beauty routine, make sure you keep your water bottle with you at all times, sipping throughout your day, particularly during warmer months and exercise. At work, if you haven’t already got one, consider asking your employer to invest in a water cooler – not only will it help with keeping everyone hydrated, but could be a performance enhancer too – a hydrated brain will function to the max!

Would you like to achieve Glowing Skin, Weight loss, Elevated Mood, whilst feeling Energised? Here’s the simplest way…

It’s always possible to go for a few days without food. Why anybody would do this out of choice is beyond comprehension, but it can be done with little damage to the body. Going without water on the other hand, is not only dangerous, but life threatening. If you feel thirsty, then your body is already starting to dehydrate, so the best way to combat this is by drinking regularly before thirst even registers.

Set yourself a challenge to drink more water. Go one step further, and give yourself a complete detox and drink ONLY water for a few days, or even weeks, and feel the benefits. Here are some of them:

Clearer skin
It’s an often forgotten fact that our skin is the largest organ of the body. To keep it in tip top condition drinking more water will help it to build new cells, whilst flushing out excess toxins which can build up into blemishes. Obviously it will help flush out the insides too!

Weight loss
Drinking water is not like taking a magic slimming pill – it’s more of an aid. It will supress your appetite if you drink enough, causing you to eat less, and it will also help with digestion when you do eat. Drinking before a meal will prepare your stomach for the food to follow, and will help to break it down.

Mood improvement
Dehydration can literally shrink your brain! This in turn will cause you to feel nervous or angry, grumpy or confused, and sometimes even depressed, not to mention the headaches that can plague you. Drinking plenty of water will help you stay more alert and focussed, and your mood will be lifted in no time at all!

Energy Levels
If you’re feeling tired and sluggish, then it could be because you’re a little dehydrated. This means that the cells and tissues in your body aren’t getting enough water, and without it your enzymes are unable to produce energy. Have a drink of water – it’s like a tonic!

Some quick and simple tips to follow
Eat foods rich in water, such as fruit and vegetables.
Cut down the caffeine – your body will need more water to metabolise it.
Carry a water bottle with you, or keep one on your desk at work.

The Benefit of Drinking Water to our Oral Hygiene

Most people are aware of the benefits that drinking water has on their bodies and wellbeing. And most of those people are also aware of how to look after their oral health too. We all like to think we brush twice daily and floss regularly – imperative in maintaining the health of gums and teeth – along with reducing the amount of sugar we consume! But there is one factor which is largely ignored when it comes to oral health, and that is hydration, which plays a significant role when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy.

As most of us have a habit of drinking only when we’re thirsty, we often overlook the benefit that drinking water will have on our dental hygiene. When we drink water, it can help flush away the sugars and small particles of food which may have become lodged between the teeth. Not only is this good for our overall health, but will also reduce the risk of nasty smelling breath, caused by decaying food debris.

As our mouths are full of bacteria, drinking water will help keep the volume of bad bacteria under control, thus helping to maintain a healthier mouth. The bad bacteria present can contribute to gum disease, so drinking plenty of water will help flush them away. It’s important to hydrate yourself at night before you go to bed (and more so after consuming alcohol), as while we’re asleep our mouths can become dry. These bacteria love to breed in a warm and dry environment so keep a glass of water by the bed, so that if you wake in the night you can take a few sips.

Surprisingly, there is one occasion when using water isn’t advocated – when it comes to brushing. Dentists recommend we use a good quality fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a decay fighting substance that protects the tooth’s enamel. During brushing it is now recommended that you don’t rinse – leaving the toothpaste in the mouth will ensure that the maximum benefit of the fluoride is gained. Just spit out the excess and smile!

When do we need to up our Water Intake?

Eight glasses are the general rule of thumb. Most of us know this already. But this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone, does it? After all, there are many factors to take into consideration: a person’s size, their diet and environment, level of activity, and general overall health for instance.

If you’re unwell and losing fluids either via sweat, vomiting or diarrhoea, then those fluids need to be replenished. Breastfeeding mothers also need to replace vital fluids whilst nursing their babies. And if they’re not replaced promptly, then dehydration is an imminent danger!

While we’re unable to determine exactly how many glasses of water it takes to remain hydrated all the time, there are some tips we can use to stay out of the danger zone!

1. Look down the toilet!
Looking at the colour of your urine is a good indicator of how hydrated you are. The darker in colour, the more likely you are to need hydration. If it’s a very pale-yellow colour, then the chances are that you’re drinking the adequate amount. You may have noticed that your first wee in the morning is darker in colour – this is because our body has depleted its reserves overnight. Have a quick glass of water to top up before you jump in the shower!

2. Don’t get thirsty
Feeling thirsty is the easiest way to realise you need a drink! It’s also the perfect indicator that you’re on your way to dehydration. The thirst sensation doesn’t usually present itself until we’re already 1 or 2% dehydrated by which time it’s starting to have an impact on our brain and body performance. If you’re exercising on top of that, then dehydration will be accelerated. Sip plenty of water throughout the day (whether you’re active or not) to combat those tell-tale symptoms: headaches, dizziness and cramp to name but a few!

3. Eat well

Water intake doesn’t just have to come from a glass. What we’re eating can make up a large portion of our fluid intake, and the healthier the better! Some fruits and vegetables contain up to a whopping 90% water, so eating these can only be beneficial. Although we would advocate drinking as much plain water as possible, other beverages all contribute to our fluid intake. Unfortunately, most if those ‘other’ beverages contain calories, so if you’re watching your weight, then water is most definitely the best option.

4. Aaaaand… rest
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of dehydration, then the chances are you won’t be getting a good night’s sleep. The knock-on stress of dehydration will almost certainly impact on both the quality and quantity of sleep you get. Always have a glass of water at your bedside, so that if you do wake in the night you can take a few sips.

Spruce up your Water for Spring!

With Spring just around the corner we’ll hopefully see a little rise in the temperature, and more than a few of us will be looking to start getting a bit fitter (as well as leaner) in preparation for the Summer. One of the most important factors in this preparation has to be our water intake. It can be seen as a little boring, particularly when all you want is a can of something fizzy, laden with sugar to give you that all important energy boost. There are so many ways you can drink plenty of water, so try to combine it with natural sugars for a healthier boost. Fruit and vegetable infusions are the perfect alternative to plain old water! Sliced or diced, you’ll jazz up your water so much you’ll almost feel like you’re drinking a cocktail! Here are some ideas to try:

• Strawberry and cucumber.
It may seem like more of a summer drink, but as you can buy strawberries pretty much all year round, it’s the perfect one to get you excited for summer! No alcohol needed here!

• Orange, lemon and fennel
This one will give your water a really sophisticated twist. The aniseed taste of the fennel really compliments the citrus flavours of the orange and lemon.

• Melon and mint
Slice or dice some melon and add it to a glass of iced water along with a sprig of mint leaves. With melon being so versatile, you could freeze some first and use it as the ice cubes!

• Apple and cinnamon
Perfect when you’re on the cusp. Spring can be lovely and warm, or it can still be bitterly cold. An infusion of apple and cinnamon can be a perfectly refreshing tall cool drink, or added to a mug of hot water on those cooler days for a cosy winter warmer!

• Grapefruit
If you want a shot of vitamin C without going down the usual orange route then this is the one for you! A classic citrus burst but with a slightly sour taste, perfect if you don’t have a sweet tooth.

• Tomato, celery and pepper
Salad in a glass! A sure way to brighten up your water with an ultra-healthy infusion. Providing you eat what’s in the glass after you’ve drunk the water, you’ll expend more calories munching through that celery than you’ll consume. A winner if ever there was one!

Turn Resolution Failure into Decision Success in 2018

As a nation, so many of us make New Year’s resolutions. I wonder how many of us actually keep them? Sadly, it doesn’t take long for our old bad habits to creep back in, and our good intentions of a healthier and more productive year can be forgotten before February arrives! So maybe there’s a simpler way of tackling the huge pile of resolution pressure we heap on ourselves every 31st December?

Perhaps the answer is to approach our resolutions with a new and fresh perspective. To me, a resolution is always something that I set out to do with good intention, but know that I have a good excuse to give up after a few weeks, as after all, nobody keeps them, do they? So simplify things. Don’t set unrealistic goals, and try not to think of them so much as resolutions, but more as decisions. If your goal is to lose weight, make the decision to take a little more exercise; walk where possible instead of taking the car. Instead of resolving to diet, make the decision to eat a little healthier; swap out a couple of snacks for fruit or vegetables, and cut out a fizzy drink or two in favour of a glass of water. Make the decision to give more. So many charities support us in going sober for a few months out of the year – give it a try, and donate to a worthy cause. Our shopping habits can also help us with this by choosing to purchase goods and services from companies that are both philanthropic and ethical.

It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just a few tweaks here and there. Don’t attach the word ‘resolution’ to all your goals for this year – it’s a sure fire way to fail. Make them decisions – here’s to a successful decision making 2018!