Nutrition and Hydration Week is an important annual campaign which focuses on promoting awareness and encouraging people to ensure good nutrition and hydration as part of their daily diet. Beginning today and running until 20th March, the campaign began small in the UK, but has since grown into a global event. There are many ways you can get involved with Nutrition and Hydration week which include taking steps to look after your own health through making positive lifestyle changes.
Why nutrition is important
Good nutrition is vital to our health. There are many complications involved with malnutrition, particularly in those who are receiving medical treatment or are recovering from an illness. Getting the right balance of nutrients is one of the reasons why faddy diets, which eliminate certain food groups, can have consequences on your nutrition levels if followed for a prolonged period.
Without the right nutrients, your body will lack what it needs to fight diseases as well as respond to medication. Many illnesses and treatments can lead people to suffer a loss of appetite, anosmia (loss of taste/smell), etc which may make us not want to eat, but it’s still important that we get the right nutrients to keep our bodies fighting.
Hydration is equally important, and staying hydrated is essential for the body to absorb nutrients and medication, as well as preventing dehydration. It is recommended that adults drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day, whilst people who are particularly active should drink additional fluids to replace any that are lost during exercise. Typical signs of dehydration include:
• feeling lightheaded or thirsty
• a dry mouth or lips
• feeling tired
• having dark coloured, strong-smelling urine
• going a long time without passing urine
If you are showing any of these signs, you might be suffering from dehydration, therefore it’s important to re-hydrate as soon as possible.
About Nutrition and Hydration Week
The main aim of Nutrition and Hydration Week is to promote good nutrition and hydration all over the world, regardless of location or culture. Healthy eating and hydration is a key part of ensuring quality care, especially social care, whilst also making sure that those who provide care at both profit and non-profit levels, are familiar with what support is needed. It is hoped that spreading awareness will lead to a reduction in the number of illnesses caused by malnutrition and dehydration and ensure better care for all.
The campaign takes place between 14th and 20th March, and there will be a series of events taking place across the country to mark the campaign. Keep an eye out on social media, including our own Facebook and Twitter accounts, for messages around the campaign and for useful information about nutrition and staying hydrated.
At the forefront of the campaign is the World Afternoon Tea event in which people all over the world are being asked to serve afternoon tea to help break the world record for multi-site afternoon teas! You can take part by hosting an event within your local care setting to showcase the work that is taking place there.
There are also many other great ideas for fundraising available on the Nutrition and Hydration Week website.
Nutrition and hydration tips
Ensuring that your body receives the right levels of nutrition and hydration is important, so it’s important to look after yourself as well other people such as children, vulnerable adults and those who are unwell. Some key tips for ensuring your body gets what it needs include:
- Drink water regularly throughout the day, keep a bottle to hand and take regular sips. 6 to 8 glasses a day is recommended.
- Eat foods which naturally contain water such as cucumbers and watermelons, which provide an additional source of water.
- Those who lack adequate nutrition should eat meals containing plenty of energy and protein such as: meat, oily fish, eggs, nuts, as well as full fat dairy from yoghurt and cheese.
- If you’re unsure about what you should be eating, check with your GP, especially if you’re caring for someone who may have additional nutritional needs.
- Don’t leave out whole food groups in your diet. Juicing for example may be a great way to get lots of vitamins and minerals, but you may miss out on other sources of nutrition such as protein which your body needs to stay strong and keep illnesses away.
Nutrition and hydration are important issues which can often get overlooked amidst the other health campaigns that are out there. Be sure to do your bit for Nutrition and Hydration Awareness Week and continue to practice good habits once it’s over. For more information about nutrition, the NHS website has a wealth of valuable resources to help you out.