We are supporting Nutrition and Hydration Week 2017 - which takes place between 13 to 19 March - by raising awareness about the importance of keeping hydrated and eating a nutritious diet.
As part of this national awareness week, our specialist dietitian Veronica Mitchell writes about the importance of eating well and drinking enough liquids - to your overall health and wellbeing.
You can read more about healthy eating and access a range of healthy, tasty recipes from our dietitians - in our dedicated healthy eating section.
The importance of nutrition and hydration, by dietitian Veronica Mitchell
It is that time of year again when we highlight the need to have good nutrition and to stay well hydrated. You may wonder why we focus on nutrition and fluids. It is well documented that over 3 million people in the UK are at risk of malnutrition - and the overall cost of malnutrition is around £13 billion a year.
The health risks of malnutrition includes:
- Increased risk of infection
- Risk of pressure sores
- Delayed wound healing
- Reduced muscle strength
- Low mood
- Recurrent and longer hospital stay
Some of the best ways to improve nutrition is through:
- Eating little and often
- Fortifying meals by using high calorie foods such as cheese, oil, butter, milk powder and cream
- Having high calorie snacks such as nuts, crisps, avocados, cheese or hummus on toasts or crackers
Less is known about the prevalence of dehydration especially in the elderly.
Poor hydration has a negative impact, including:
- Tiredness and confusion
- Dry mouth, lips and eyes
- Urinary tract infections
To improve your hydration, try the following:
- Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of fluids per day. Any fluids – water, milk, tea, coffee, squash or fruit juice count. Alcohol does not count and will increase dehydration further
- Most fruits and vegetables have high water content, so try to eat more of these as healthy snacks!
- Have soup as part of your meal
If you feel you need assistance with improving your nutrition, ask your GP to refer you to a dietitian.