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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Summer 2023

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DIETETICS STAY HYDRATED

DIETETICS STAY HYDRATED THIS SUMMER Are you finding it hard to concentrate, feeling fatigued, foggy, bloated, or moody? Did you know that these can also be signs you are not drinking enough fluids and not just symptoms of your neurological condition? As Rochelle discussed in her article What Role Does Water Play in the Body? our body uses water for so many functions. From transporting oxygen and energy around our bodies, to regulating body temperature, aiding digestion and supporting muscle contractions – the list can go on and on. Studies have indicated that even just one to two per cent body water loss can impair how well your brain is functioning. Making sure you are well hydrated can be a game changer for managing MS and symptoms of other neurological conditions. How do you know if you are well hydrated? The common recommendation of eight cups or two litres per day is not necessarily true when it comes to knowing if you are maintaining your hydration status or not, but this guide can be a good place to start. The amount of fluid you need to drink each day is variable and depends on many factors, some including body size, heat, activity levels, amount of salty food eaten, so it can be likely that on particular days or with certain people this amount may not be enough. The simplest, most effective way to assess your hydration status is the colour of your urine*, with a goal: for your urine to be coloured straw-yellow or lighter across the whole day. Drinking regularly across the day will be the best way to achieve this. But won’t I be heading to the toilet more? This is likely, especially if you are experiencing MS or neurological related continence issues. However, don’t let this deter you. Maintaining a better hydration status can support you to avoid complications such as urinary tract infections, constipation and kidney stones. If incontinence is an issue for you, front loading your fluids at the start of the day and avoiding fluids 1-2 hours before going to bed is a useful strategy, so is keeping a journal of times you drink and go to the toilet, along with volumes drunk and the colour of your urine. This can provide insight into spacing water evenly and regularly over the rest of the day. If you have not done so already, be sure to have a chat to your GP and/or neurologist for more support. Increasing fluids is challenging, so here are some tips we often share with our Clients: Start your day with a glass of water. You don’t just have to just drink water! 1 4 While you are sleeping your body doesn’t get All sorts of fluids count toward getting enough 2 3 any fluids therefore drinking a glass at the start of the day can help to flush your system of toxins, which can result in benefits such as increased energy and immunity, increasing metabolism and preventing headaches. It will also help you to develop and maintain the habit of increasing your daily water intake. Carry a drink a bottle around with you so you always have access to water. If you are at home most of the time, strategically place bottles/jugs/glasses of water in areas of your house you frequently visit. When you see the bottle, take a drink. Doing the above, but find you are still forgetting to drink over the day? Set reminders on your phone or computer that remind you to drink. Another option is to link drinking to an activity that you do frequently over the day. For example, when you eat make it a habit to also have a drink of water, or whenever you use the bathroom use that opportunity to also get a glass of water. FLAVOUR YOUR WATER Start with: / 1L water / 1 cup of ice (If you like your drinks cold) Then add one of the following options, or make up your own combo! Strawberry, basil and lemon: / 1/2 cup strawberries stemmed and sliced, fresh or frozen / 5 large basil leaves torn / 1 lemon thinly sliced Honeydew, cucumber, and mint: / 1/2 cup honeydew cubes / 1 cucumber thinly sliced / 10 fresh mint leaves torn Blueberry, lemon, and rosemary: / 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen / 1 lemon thinly sliced / 4 sprigs fresh rosemary water. Here are my favourite healthy alternatives to plain water: - Cold tea infusions - Flavour your water - see our yummy flavour combinations below! - Adding water rich foods to your meals and snacks such as lettuce, tomatoes, capsicum, asparagus, strawberries and watermelon. - Change the temperature of the water to what you like: ice blocks, warm water, tea! - Still not sold? Sugar free or diet cordials and soft drink also count! If you are having difficulty hydrating your body, you can always talk to one of our dietitian’s at MSWA for assistance. GEMMA TOOVEY MSWA DIETITIAN Watermelon, kiwi, and lime: / 1 cup watermelon cubes / 1 kiwi fruit diced or cut into circles / 1 lime sliced into circles Storage: Leave the fruit and herbs in the water for up to 24 hours then remove from the water. Store the infused water in the refrigerator for up to three days (four days total). Recipes and photo from: www.culinaryhill.com/8-infused-water-recipes/ *Please note some medications and certain foods can change the colour of urine which makes this method difficult. If you are concerned, ask to speak to a dietitian. 18 19

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