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Dr Richard Davies - health column

A well balanced diet and staying hydrated is very important for everyone, but especially important for those being cared for in a hospital or care home.

This week is Nutrition and Hydration Week (13-19 March); a week aimed at highlighting how poor nutrition and hydration can lead to a deterioration in health, increased and prolonged hospital admissions, and a rise in costs for the NHS.

Medical evidence also shows that good nutrition and hydration can assist in preventing conditions such as pressure ulcers, heart disease, diabetes, and low blood pressure. It is also recognised that it helps to keep you alert and feel generally healthier.

As part of Nutrition and Hydration Week, people are being encouraged to pledge their support to raising awareness of the importance of nutrition and hydration as an essential element of care.

If you’re looking at ways of improving your diet, here are a few things that could help:
  • Base your meals on starchy food – these include potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread
  • Eat plenty of fruit and veg – It’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day
  • Eat more fish – fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals
  • Cut down on saturated fat and sugar – we all need fat in our diet, but it’s important to pay attention to the amount of fat that we’re eating
  • Eat less salt – eating too much salt can raise blood pressure, which can lead to people developing heart disease or having a stroke
  • Stay active – staying active is an important part of maintaining overall good health
  • Be aware of dehydration – we need to drink about 1.6 - 2 litres of fluid every day.

You can find out more about the week and pledge your support at http://nutritionandhydrationweek.co.uk

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