Health

by Anne Laing and Tim Bean

What to drink?

Drink plenty of spring or distilled water throughout the day. It’s common to assume we should eat whenever we feel fatigued, but we often mistake dehydration for hunger. If you become dehydrated, there’s nowhere for your body to store the energy molecule glycogen, so you feel tired and heavy-headed. Water helps the blood transport oxygen, so the level of oxygen in the bloodstream is greatest when the body is well-hydrated.

Note

A loss of only two per cent in your hydration levels can lead to a 20 per cent drop in concentration!

Drinking green or herb teas instead of other, caffeinated drinks will lift your alertness. As well as having anti-oxidant properties, green tea is also classed as a thermogenic herb. In other words, it gives your metabolism a boost in the right direction. Green tea contains only 20 grams of caffeine, whereas coffee (single shot) contains 80 grams and diet cola 60 grams of caffeine.

If you have to have milk in your drinks, request it ‘skinny’. You have to eat and drink anyway, so choose healthy options.

Alcohol

Don’t let alcohol ruin your body. Drinking too much alcohol has a detrimental effect on both men and women. One glass of wine usually contains two units of alcohol, and has the same amount of sugar calories as a can of cola (eight teaspoons, or 120 calories). To stay sharp in the office don’t drink during the week; to stay in shape at weekends, don’t have more than two drinks per night.

Like dairy and wheat, alcohol has a disruptive effect on your hormones, suppressing testosterone and elevating oestrogen. Guys – drinking too much alcohol will not make you more of a man; it will make you more of a woman. After a binge, a liver can take up to a month to recover. Repeated damage leads to cirrhosis, where the liver is so scarred it no longer works efficiently. A healthy liver is the key to performance longevity – so take care of yours.

Don’t bow to pressure at parties. Add a twist of lemon or lime to iced water for a tangy thirst-quencher without the calories. A dash of non-sweetened cranberry, grape, pineapple or other juice with sparkling water makes a great low-calorie spritzer. Sparkling water can also fool people into thinking you’re drinking champagne.

Diet drinks

Avoid so-called ‘diet’ drinks – you are literally drinking acid. Diet Cola and other soda drinks have a pH of around 2.0 to 2.3. That makes these drinks 100,000 times more acidic than purified water, which generally has a pH of 7.0.