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Keep hydrated, eat nutritious food to reduce stress and improve wellbeing

Published on: March 14, 2022

Compass is backing Nutrition Hydration Week 2022 as we know good quality food and plenty of healthy drinks are very important for children and young people’s wellbeing.

Danielle Grant, our new Positive Effect Health and Wellbeing Trainer, taught nutrition in further education for over seven years and delivered nutrition workshops to professional athletes, sports teams and young people.

She says: “Around half the amount of stress we experience in our bodies is attributed to diet and nutrition.

“The relationship between stress and poor nutrition causes a downward spiral effect. The short-term impact on health can develop into much more serious illness and mental health concerns.”

And Danielle explained that proper hydration helps maintain blood volume – which aids the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and organs. It also helps remove waste products.

She said even the slightest amount of dehydration can impact the body. As little as 2% dehydration can impair work performance. And 4% dehydration can affect your ability to think clearly and reduce work capacity by 20-40%.

Here are her best tips for hydrating getting the right nutrition.

Top 5 tips for staying hydrated

  1. If you find water a little plain: add fruit to your water to give it some flavour.
  2. Hydrate during exercise and sport by taking little sips frequently. Allow for an extra 200ml for every hour of activity.
  3. Fruit and Vegetables are comprised of 80-90%, so add plenty of water rich vegetables to your meals.
  4. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, to hydrate the body, after your 7-8 hours asleep.
  5. Drink 20 minutes before, or 1 hour after meal-times to reduce bloating and to improve digestion.

Top 5 tips for eating well

  1. Eat whole foods: Whole grains, unrefined and unprocessed. These have more fibre and protein and less sugar. For example wholegrain rice, oats, beans and pulses.
  2. Eat the Rainbow! All colourful foods contain different and vital vitamins and minerals; each with their own benefits. Try to include as many colours as possible on your plate with every meal.
  3. Try to avoid adding sugars to your diet. You get it in your fruit and veg anyway. And in processed food!
  4. Take your roughage in a side of vegetables for every meal to improve digestion and gut health.
  5. Chew your food and take your time! Digestion starts when your teeth grind the food and enzymes in your spit get to work. Chewing well means you will get more nutrients and you will better digest the foods; avoiding bloating. Take your time to sit and enjoy your food and take a break.

Danielle said: “Good food doesn’t have to be expensive, and good meals don’t have to take a long time to prepare.

“By learning how to eat well and stay hydrated at a young age we are creating a legacy of healthier adults free from many illnesses, and diseases associated with poor diet.”