On paper, it's been pretty muggy for the last few weeks - and I'm not talking about Love Island. The air has been a little thicker than normal as the UK enjoys a host of hazy summer days. It's been glorious but sometimes our green and pleasant land isn't quite built for these sticky temperatures. Humidity is all well and good when you step out of a plane in the tropics, but not so pleasant when it hits you on the Northern Line.
In these warmer months it is so important to keep hydrated. Dehydration has a mammoth impact on our bodies. Ever noticed your dreams were a little cray cray after a hot night's sleep? Well, this could all be down to the effects of dehydration the brain. Research has shown that water loss of as little as 2% saw decrements in human physical and cognitive performance.
Other signs include dry mouth, dark urine, dizziness and headaches. So, although your first instinct may be to reach for the rose you must keep on top of your water intake. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends an intake of 2.5 litres of water for men and 2.0 litres of water for women per day, via food and drink consumption.
Slow and steady wins the race with water, so keep sipping throughout the day, keeping a BPA free bottle on the go as this can act as a reminder. It sounds obvious, but if it's there you're far more likely to drink it so fill up before you pop out and keep it out as a reminder if you work at a desk.
If you find water boring, jazzing up your jug is simpler that you think. By suspending fruit, herbs and spices in water, 'steeping' will extract chemical compounds from your botanicals of choice. This means you can get an extra fill of vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Infused water is nothing new but if you are yet to try it why not give it a go.
Herbal teas are not just for Christmas. Brew one your favourites to use a base, add ice, mineral water, then get creative. Green tea and fresh mint, chamomile and rosemary, peppermint and basil, cinnamon sticks and rooibos, sage and sparkling water are some of my favourite combos.
Once you're there throw in cucumber, berries, citrus fruit, apples, pears, plums, peach - whatever takes your fancy. Think pimms without the pimms. If you have a sweeter tooth add a drop or two of alcohol free stevia to take it up a notch but with all those lovely flavours you won't need it.
#1 When infusing water use a wooden spoon to give any fruit and vegetables a bit of a bash about to release flavour
#2 By peeling citrus fruit you can avoid the sometimes bitter taste of zest
#3 If you're adding spice, use the real deal as powdered spice ain't nice in water