Stay hydrated using these savvy hacks

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By The Gut Health Doctor Team

Dr Megan Rossi in a lab looking through a microscope

Did you know that it’s possible to survive for weeks without food? But without water you would struggle to last more than a few days? Most of us have heard that water is vital for our health, including preventing common gut issues like constipation. But many of us don’t really know the science or extent of how good we can feel when we stay hydrated. So let’s take a closer look…

Water is essential for all the cells in your body to function. It makes up between 50-60% of your weight, depending on your gender, age and body composition.

Not only is it the major component of all your bodily fluids but it also has lots of other important biological roles, including:

  • ‘Detoxing’ the body i.e. excreting waste through sweat, pee & poop 
  • Regulating body temperature (reducing hot flushes and headaches)
  • Optimising brain function (improving focus and memory)
  • Lubricating and cushioning joints, spinal cord & tissues (avoiding aches and pains)
  • Supporting physical performance (hitting your personal best)

In the UK, guidance is to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid per day (roughly 1.2 litres). We’d argue that most of us would benefit from even more than this. How much you should drinks depends on activity levels, the weather, etc. See how to assess your hydration status below! That target may not sound like a lot on paper but, in practice, a lot of us struggle to reach even this lower target and therefore stay hydrated.

So to help you stay hydrated and reap all the health benefits, here are 6 savvy hacks to try:

Photo of two mason jars with water and cucumber, blueberries, strawberries and mint included

1. Play around with plants

Add some of your favourite fruit and veg to jazz up your water. For example, you can add cucumber, lemons, limes, berries, mint or basil to a jug of water with lots of ice to enjoy throughout the day

Photo of air up with overlaid scientific visuals to show how it uses the retronasal pathway

2. Harness scent-based taste

If you want an even more convenient option than adding plants, try out a revolutionary new drinking system called air up. The refillable water bottles harness the science of smell to transform pure water into a tasty sensation via aroma pods. Many people assume that taste is entirely achieved through our tongues and taste buds. But, in reality, the tongue is only partially responsible for a portion of the flavour experience. When you suck up the water in an air up bottle, it transports the water and natural aromas into your mouth so you get the sensation of taste via the retronasal pathway. It’s a convenient and exciting way to change up your drinking experience and hit your hydration target, especially when on the go. Want to try for yourself? Get 10% off using the code MEGAN10 until 1st August*.

Photo of a coffee in a white mug on a white surface with a picture of a milky heart in the coffee

3. A brew or two still counts…

Although many may believe otherwise, studies have shown that coffee is just as hydrating as water! As long as you’re used to drinking it and you stick to no more than 3-4 shots of coffee a day (or half that if you’re pregnant). So enjoy your coffee or tea, but avoid caffeine after midday to not disrupt your sleep.

Photo outdoors on holiday of a greek salad with a jug and glass of water in the background

4. Drink when you want

Many people are under the assumption that drinking water with meals affects your digestion. However, for most people drinking water with meals won’t have any negative impact on digestion. In fact for many it can help slow them down and be more mindful at the dinner table. Despite what you may have heard, the science reaffirms it doesn’t ‘dilute’ your digestive enzymes and it doesn’t ‘flush’ your meal out of your stomach- so you’re free to drink when you want!

Two glasses of kombucha with mint and straws on a block of wood

5. Balance out dehydrating drinks

Alcohol is the main fluid that will dehydrate you. It is a diuretic, which means it promotes water loss through urine. Of course, feel free to enjoy alcohol responsibility (remember INclusion not EXclusion) but to keep yourself hydrated in the process, switch every other drink to non-alcoholic like sparkling water or kombucha.

NHS hydration chart showing light to dark colour pee and what this means in terms of hydration health

6. Want to know if you’re hydrated? Check your pee!

The colour of your wee is one of the best ways to determine hydration. Dark and strong-smelling urine is a clear sign that you need to drink more fluids, as per this NHS urine colour chart. Be aware though, high-dose vitamins can turn your pee a bright, almost neon-yellow colour. The most common culprit is vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, which is in most multivitamins. This neon colour doesn’t mean you’re dehydrated, it’s just a harmless sign that you’re taking more than your body needs, and the excess excretes in your pee. Check out the hydration status chart across to assess your levels.

Photo of water being poured into a glass on a table


Finding new ways to make drinking water more enjoyable and convenient is the secret to stay hydrated. Work some of our suggestions into your daily routine and we’re sure you will find it both easy and rewarding when it comes to hitting your hydration target. In fact we recommend making a note of how good you feel out of 10 now and after 2 weeks of optimising your hydration.

Remember, 6-8 glasses a day is just a generalised estimate — if you’re losing water through sweat when exercising, or because it’s sweltering outside, make sure to increase your water intake to suit (we recommend using the hydration chart to guide you ). It’s also worth noting that it is possible to take in too much water if you have certain health conditions, such as kidney disease, liver disease, or heart failure. In this case, we recommend talking to your doctor or with a registered dietitian at The Gut Health Clinic.

*air up® discount terms and conditions: the code MEGAN10 gives 10% off the air up website products and is valid until 1st August 2023. It is only valued in the UK and IE. It can only be used 1time per customer.

Full disclosure: This article is part of a sponsored collaboration with air up®. All words are our own. 


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