14 Tips for Better Nutrition and Hydration
Good nutrition and hydration are important for a healthy and happy life. Good nutrition helps to increase energy levels, support immunity, and improve mental health.
At the end of the article, Dr. Joshua Berkowitz, a Medical Director at IV Boost shares his top 14 tips to help improve nutrition and hydration habits to boost health, wellbeing, and performance.
But first, let’s start with definitions.
What Is Good Nutrition?
Nutrition is the biochemical and physiological process that includes ingestion, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism, and excretion of food and drinks.
Good nutrition means eating a balanced and healthy diet, so your body is getting all the vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to function at its optimum performance.
Macronutrients are nutrients that provide us with energy, and we need to consume these in higher quantities. Fat, protein, and carbohydrates are all macronutrients.
Micronutrients are mostly made up of vitamins and minerals and are consumed in smaller quantities. We generally get these within our macronutrients. For example, protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and eggs are also good sources of iron, calcium, and vitamin D, offering both macro and micronutrients.
Fruit and vegetables are often carbohydrate-rich but also contain high vitamin and mineral content.
Eating a varied diet is essential in keeping the body healthy. A balanced diet includes:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables – these are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Fruit and vegetables are essential for supporting the immune system and maintaining a healthy gut. Aim for at least five portions a day. Fruit and vegetables should make up a third of our daily food intake.
- Healthy fats – oily fish (salmon, tuna), avocados, nuts, and oils such as vegetable and rapeseed, olive, and sunflower are all sources of good fats. It’s important to consume them sparingly.
- Protein – fish, chicken, eggs, dairy products, red meat, nuts, beans, and pulses are all good sources of protein and highly beneficial to the body.
- Complex carbohydrates – potatoes, wholegrain varieties of pasta, bread, brown rice are a good source of energy and fibre.
Foods that are high in sugar, trans-fats, salt, or highly processed should be minimised or avoided as they contain little or no nutritional value and can compromise bodily function.
For further information on nutrition read the NHS Eatwell Guide.
9 Signs of Inadequate Nutrition
There are many early indicators of poor nutrition and it’s important to identify and act upon these symptoms at the earliest opportunity, so you can make modifications to your diet and improve your health and wellbeing. Some of the early indicators include:
- Unexplained fatigue
It is normal that we all get tired from time to time – stress, over-exercising, not getting enough sleep and overworking are all common contributors to fatigue, but if you cannot account for the cause, it may be time to look at your diet.
- Hair loss or dry, brittle hair
Our hair follicles need good nutrition to remain healthy and keep our hair in optimum condition. Signs of poor nutrition can be evidenced through hair thinning, hair loss, straw-like, brittle hair and loss of pigmentation.
- Brain fog
If you’re struggling with your memory or concentration your diet may hold the answer. Our brains are the most complex organ, controlling our whole bodies and require a lot of energy to function. Like every other organ in our body, the brain requires good nutrition to function at its full potential.
- Poor oral health
Bleeding, sore, or inflamed gums and cavities can be the signs of bad nutrition. Cavities are caused by sugary foods (as well as not brushing correctly) and painful gums may indicate a vitamin deficiency.
- Getting sick easily
If you seem to catch every illness going, your diet may be to blame. Good immunity requires good nutrition, so your body has the strength to fight off infection.
- Prolonged healing
A poor diet can affect the recovery time of a wound, as nutritional deficiencies can impede the processes required to promote healing.
- Digestive problems
Regular constipation or diarrhoea are common indicators of poor nutrition and could signal a deficiency of fibre in the diet.
- Poor skin health and skin ageing
The skin is the largest organ in our body and can be one of the first to signal poor nutrition. If the skin is dry, flaky, dull, or susceptible to skin rashes, nutritional deficiencies may be the cause. Fine lines and wrinkles can also be accentuated and accelerated through a poor diet.
- Brittle nails
There are numerous signs of poor nutrition which can be seen through the health of nails. If your nails are discoloured, cracked, dry, ridged, have the appearance of white marks or lines, are grey in colour, or spooning up, you may be nutritionally deficient.
What Is Good Hydration?
Our body is made up of around 60% water and it is therefore important to keep hydrated in order to keep the body functioning effectively. Just as a flower without water will wilt and eventually die, the same can be said of the human body – we need hydration and good nutrition to thrive and survive.
Drinking enough fluids every day is imperative. Water helps to regulate the body’s temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infection, deliver nutrients to cells, and enable all our organs to function effectively.
How Much Should We Be Drinking Each Day?
Adults should be drinking at least 2 litres (8 glasses) of water a day to achieve good hydration but various factors such as diet, climate, exercise/exertion levels, and the state of health can all affect the amount of water and fluids we need to be drinking a day.
7 Signs of Dehydration
Symptoms of dehydration can include:
- Excessive thirst
- Dark, strong-coloured urine
- Muscle tiredness
- Dizziness and light-headedness
- Dry mouth, lips, and eyes
- Passing urine less than four times a day
With chronic dehydration, some of these symptoms may be prevalent but alongside other signs such as constipation, altered digestive function, muscle weakness, headaches, poor concentration, confusion, and dry, flaky skin. Learn more about chronic dehydration – causes, symptoms, and treatment.
14 Tips for Better Nutrition and Hydration
- Fill at least 1/3 of your plate with fresh fruit or vegetables at every meal
- Include protein in every meal to balance blood sugar and keep you feeling fuller for longer
- Carry healthy snacks such as fruit or nuts rather than opting for convenience foods
- Use vegetables to marinate meat and flavour dishes
- Plan your meals – this will not only save money but also prevent spontaneity and ensure meals are healthy and nutritional
- Never go to the supermarket when you’re hungry to resist the urge to buy junk or fast food
- Swap white bread for whole grain varieties that are higher in fibre and more nutritious
- Swap calorific mayo for mustard
- Don’t wait until you’re absolutely parched! If you’re feeling thirsty, you are already slightly hydrated.
- Always carry a water bottle with you and sip water constantly throughout the day – you will know how much you are drinking
- Flavour the water with fresh fruit or vegetables to make it taste more appealing
- Beverages such as herbal teas, juices, and milk can be counted, but avoid alcohol and anything sugary which can lead to dehydration
- Consume plenty of water-rich fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet
- Set a regular alarm to help get you into the habit of drinking water
Fast recovery from dehydration can be made with the IV Boost Hydration Booster which contains a combination of glucose, saline, and vitamins, specially formulated to rehydrate and ease the symptoms of dehydration.
IV Boost provides a range of IV therapies, tailored to improve health and wellbeing and address health concerns. For further information and to discuss your nutrition requirements, please contact our friendly team 020 3095 0002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org