Tea-ing off: The health benefits of drinking tea

It may come as a surprise to regular readers, but as well as enjoying coffee, we also enjoy an occasional cup of tea here at The Water Cooler Today. Drinking tea, particularly green tea, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, where it is touted to cure everything from headaches to depression. In the UK alone, 165 million cups of tea are consumed every day.
Today, we will be investigating the actual health benefits of drinking tea.
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Coconut oil coffee : Miracle drink or just plain nutty?

This week, we’re getting our coffee taste buds tingling with a spot of coconut coffee. We’re not talking coffee with a dash of coconut flavoured syrup, we’re talking coffee and coconut oil. This combination has been all over social media, with converts stating it boosts your metabolism and improves your immune system. Now we’re not too sure of the scientific evidence for these statements, but we do like a bit of coconut, and you know we like our coffee, so we decided to give it a try.
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Winter dehydration: Is it a thing?

If there’s one thing we know for sure about British winter, it’s that there’s a lot of water involved. Snow, rain, hail, there’s much precipitation occurring. With all this water, you’d think that winter hydration wouldn’t be a problem. In actual fact, the body’s thirst response is diminished by up to 40% in cold weather, so we don’t always realise we’re thirsty, and in turn, neglect to properly hydrate. In today’s blog, we discuss why this may be, and share our tips for keeping your water intake up as the temperature drops.

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Choosing the right water filter for your home

Fed up of limescale in your kettle? Find the taste of your tap water a bit off? Sounds like it’s time to invest in a water filter. The UK water filter market is enormous, with a cornucopia of product, technology, and price options, but never fear, The Water Cooler Today is here to make this decision easier for you. Let’s dive straight into what you should consider when purchasing a water filter for your home.

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5 tips to top up your water intake

Fresh water
Fig 1. Lovely fresh water
Believe it or not, there are some people out there who (whisper it) don’t like drinking water. Mind boggling, we know. Here at The Water Cooler Today, we are water’s number one fans, and we’ve pooled our knowledge and resources to help you increase your intake of H20, to feel happier, healthier, and more alert! Let’s jump into it…

1.       Spice up the flavour

Lemon water
Fig 2. Water with a slice of lemon
If the taste of plain water is too much for you, there’s an easy solution – change it! You can filter your drinks for a purer taste, or carbonate your water for a sparkling sensation. There are some fantastic bottles available currently that enable you to infuse fruit into your water, but if you don’t fancy splashing the cash, simple freeze a slice of lemon or lime and drop it into your bottle.

2.       Remind yourself

Smart phone
Fig 3. Smart phone with apps

Most people don’t hit their water target because they simply forget. But do not fear, there are apps available to help you! Apps like Carbodroid, Waterlogged, and Daily Water Free will keep track of how often you drink, as well as reminding you when you’re falling behind. For a less high tech reminder, draw measurement lines and time restrictions on the bottle you drink from.

3.       Update your receptacle

Plastic bottle
Fig 4. Disposable plastic bottles
Don’t tell me you’re drinking out of a plain old glass or plastic disposable bottle? How embarrassing… Find yourself a bottle or glass that you will remember to take everywhere, maybe it’s shaped in an amusing way, maybe you can hook it onto your belt – find a bottle that works for you. If sipping away at water is boring, jazz up the process with a straw cup or fancy straw. If it works for five year olds, it’ll work for you too.

4.       Hydrate alternatively

Herbal tea
Fig 5. Herbal tea
We require around eight glasses of fluid per day, but these don’t have to be through plain water. You can sip on fruit juice, sparkling water, coffee, herbal tea, or tonic water. Experiment with the soft drinks aisle until you find your hydration groove. One word of warning, however. Lay off the fizzy drinks! The amount of sugar you’ll find in a glass of fizzy drink will diminish any health benefit you’ll gain from upping your hydration.

5.       Include your food

Slice of watermelon
Fig 6. Watermelon
You don’t even need to drink all of your eight glasses, as lots of fruit and vegetables provide a huge hit of hydration. Nibbling on fruit like watermelon (92% water), or grapefruit (91%) water, as well as vegetables like cucumber (at a whopping 96% water), will go a long way to contributing to your fluid levels, as well as gaining some lovely vitamins from your food as a bonus.

Now we’ve shared our water wisdom with you, you’ve got no excuse for not hitting your hydration targets. We know that being properly hydrated increases our productivity, alertness, digestion, and skin, so get yourself to a tap right now!  

Surviving dry January

Oasis in the desert

It’s January, we’ve all overindulged over the festive season, and our waistlines and purses are (quite literally) paying the price. This is where Cancer Research come in. They’ve challenged us to a ‘Dryathalon’, otherwise known as Dry January. Participating in Dry January couldn’t be simpler, all you have to do is avoid alcohol for one whole month. When February comes a-knocking, you’ll be thinner, happier, healthier, and wealthier. You can donate the money you would have spent on alcohol to Cancer Research here.

The benefits of Dry January are obvious, with 16% of adults in the UK participating in 2016, but that doesn’t make it any easier! In order to help you on your mission to stay booze free, we’re bringing you some survival techniques that you may even enjoy.

Spread the word

Get the word out!

Avoid tempting invitations and spontaneous drinks by getting the message out about what you’re doing. Update your Facebook friends with your mission, and be sure to group WhatsApp your family members. You can even include a link to what you’re raising money for. You may even inspire a few others to ditch the booze too!

Don’t neglect your friends

Just because you’re not hanging out in the pub, doesn’t mean you have to see your friends any less. This is your month to try out every whacky activity possible together. See how you fare on an escape game, don your clown shoes for a bowling match, get your hustle on with a board game night, just try something! I guarantee that without the haze of alcohol, you will learn new and interesting things about the people you’re usually knocking it back with.

You might be forgoing the drink this month, but your friends may not be. One of the main reason people fall of the wagon whilst participating in this challenge is pressure from friends, colleagues, and family to ‘just have one’. You are going to need to remain strong. You can pretend to be on medication, offer to be the designated driver, or just be honest.

Find something to do

With nights that you’ll remember the next day, and weekend mornings now open, you’ll never have so much time to start some new hobbies. Whether it’s learning a new language, getting crafty, honing your dance moves, or perfecting your ping pong skills, January is your month. Set yourself targets to complete by the end of the month, and you’ll focus so much on your new craft that you’ll forget how lovely a glass of wine would be.

Try something else

Matcha smoothie
Green smoothie

Hands up who doesn’t feel like they’re socialising without a glass in their hand? To feel like you’re still in the loop, experiment with soft drinks. Plenty of restaurants and bars now provide a mocktail or virgin cocktail menu, with all sorts of delicious combinations for you.

You can take this one step further, and host your own mocktail night. With a host of fresh ingredients, a group of willing friends, and a cocktail shaker, you can have yourself a fantastic party. We’ve found some super mocktail recipes here for you to try out.

Get to the gym

Take advantage of your healthy sober glow, by getting yourself to the gym. Exercising will cause your body to release endorphins that will make you feel and look great. If the gym isn’t your thing, investigate joining a sports club or dance group, your perfect fitness regime is out there somewhere – you just have to find it.

Buddy up

Double up your efforts by enlisting a sober friend. Find a booze-free buddy to see this month through with. Find sober hobbies together, and back each other up in the face of peer pressure. When one of you lacks the motivation, it’s down to your buddy to lend you some.

Remember your motivation

Coffee cup and sticky note
Post it note reminders can be super handy

Whether it’s the money you’ll be raising for charity, the weight loss effect, or the money you’ll save, keep the reason for your dryathalon at the forefront of your mind. Place a prominent reminder in your purse or wallet so that if you ever go to buy a drink, you’ll have a swift reminder of why you shouldn’t. You can change the background on your phone, place photos on your desk, or post it notes on your dashboard to keep the message fresh.

Go easy

It’s not ideal, and I don’t want to hear your excuses, but we all slip up every now and then. If the worst happens do not berate yourself too much, just get back on the wagon with renewed determination. Try and work out where you fell down, and avoid being in that same situation or scenario again.

Reward yourself

Our last point is probably the most important of all. Whether you allow yourself a little treat every day, or a big treat once a week – recognise that you are doing some amazing for your body, your mental health, and for charity and act accordingly. Plan something you’ve always wanted to have or do for the end of January, the motivation will keep you going through the tough times.

To conclude

We hope to see you reach the end of January, happier, healthier, and proud of yourself! Do you have any tips for getting through the dryathalon? Let us know in the comments below, or find us here on Twitter.

5 top tips for hydrating in the gym

Sneakers on the stairs

It’s January, and we all know what the first month of the year brings…. new years resolutions! According to a YouGov poll, 68% of respondents listed their resolutions as either losing weight, or getting fitter. Now this means one thing, a lot of you will be dragging yourself to the gym this month.

What if we told you that we had a trick for making that punishing workout a touch easier? You know us by now, so I’m assuming you know what this tip will be. That’s right, keep yourself hydrated! We’ve all been pushing it on a treadmill and thought, ‘Oh god, my legs are going to collapse!’, this may be because lean muscle tissue contains more than 75% water, so if you’re dehydrated during exercise, your muscles will tire faster.

We know it’s hard and logistically challenging to remember to drink whilst huffing and puffing away on a treadmill, so we’ve thought of our five favourite tips for staying hydrated in the gym.

1. Hydrate before you go-go

Gym bunnies often forget that proper hydration starts hours before you even put your trainers on. If you’re dehydrated before you workout, your core temperature will raise faster, meaning your heart will have to work harder than usual,

Ensure you drink around half a litre at least four hours before exercise. When you’re ten or fifteen minutes away from the gym, drink a further 250ml. Your body will thank you when you’re pushing it to the max.

2. Bottle it up

We don’t have to inform you of the environmental damage that plastic disposable bottles cause. That’s before we even begin mentioning the chemical nasties that plastic bottles can contain (we’re looking at you, BPA). Find yourself a reusable sports bottle that’s suited to you. Make it distinctive and personal to you to ensure you won’t leave it behind on a machine, and find a dispense top that you can get on with – we’ve all experienced pouring water down ourselves whilst trying to move and drink at the same time.

3. Choose your liquid

Water faucet
Water fountain

A lot of new gym goers get suckered into buying the flashy colourful sports drinks from the gym vending machines, however, if you’re exercising for under an hour, the classic H2O is all you need. If you’re working out for longer than an hour, consider a sports drink.

There are many sports drinks available, however, these can contain a heap of sugar and colourings. Consider sipping on natural coconut water instead, which is packed with potassium and electrolytes, not to mention, it’s pretty damn tasty!

4. Keep the sip going

Try to drink between 200 and 300ml of liquid every ten to twenty minutes whilst exercising. Utilise your rests in between reps to drink your water, little and often does the trick. It can be logistically tricky to glug your water when in vigorous motion on a treadmill or cross-trainer, but don’t be afraid to reduce your speed for thirty seconds to refresh. Some things are more important than beating your personal best.

5. Top it up

All gyms will have at least one water cooler available, whether it’s your standard bottle dispenser, or a plumbed in fountain. Ensure you take advantage of yours by topping up your water bottle frequently. No one wants to get halfway through their treadmill run and realise the well has run dry. The price of these fountains is included in your gym membership, you’ve already paid for this water – don’t waste it!

To conclude…

41% of us admit to breaking our last year’s resolution – and that’s just those of us that admit to breaking it! Keeping hydrated will make keeping this resolution a little easier, so cheers, and good luck!

The A-Z of water: B & C

There’s no way around it, water can be a complex area to know. There’s lots of keywords and terms bandied about by experts, that even we find confusing on occasion! To this end, we will be bringing you the A-Z of water terms, bringing you the secret, technical, and quirky language connected to H20.

We got off to ‘A’ phenomenal start last week with the ‘A’s of water (see what we did there?!). This week it’s time to switch to plan B, so we can C how to talk water (we have so many alphabet puns to get through here).

Baseflow: (Geology) Streamflow coming from ground water seepage into a stream

Bathe: (Language) Wash with water

Bathometer: (Geology) An instrument used to measure the depth of water

Bathymetry: (Geology) The measurement of large bodies of water

Bedew: (Language) To wet with

Benthic : (Oceanography) The bottom of lakes or oceans

Benthos: (Biology) All plants/animals living on or associated with the bottom of a body of water

Besprinkle: (Language) Sprinkle all over with small drops

Bifurcate: (Geology) Dividing structure which splits the flow of water

Billabong: (Geology) A dead end channel extending from the main stream of a river

Billow: (Language) A large wave or swell of water

Blear: (Language) To dim with water or tears

Brackish: (Food) Having a salty taste

Calf: (Geology) A large floating chunk of ice

Canal: (Geography) Waterway

Conduit: (Geography) A channel for conveying water

Confluence: (Language) The act of flowing together

Contrail: (Language) A visible trail of streaks of condensed water

We hope you’ve enjoyed your besprinkling of water language this week. Which is your favourite water word? Let us know in the comments.