Wednesday 13 March is Global Tea Party Day, part of the annual Nutrition and Hydration Week campaign which raises awareness of the link between good hydration and good health.

Local NHS organisations are reminding both staff and members of the public of the importance of stopping for regular breaks as part of the daily routine.

David Freeman is Acting Chief Executive Officer with NHS Dorset. He said, “Many of us lead busy lives and it is sometimes easy to forget to take a break and get a quick drink or something to eat as we carry on with our day.

“Nutrition and Hydration Week reminds us of the importance of looking after ourselves and the overall health benefits of eating healthily and taking regular drinks; whether you are a tea drinker, a coffee connoisseur or prefer a simple glass of water I would encourage everyone to take a break this week as evidence shows that every cuppa really does count.”

A local campaign every drop, every cup, every bite counts was launched in 2023 as a way of encouraging patients and care home residents to drink more.

It has been adopted by a number of local health and care organisations who have seen positive changes for their patients and residents.

A short video produced by the NHS shows the benefits found by Adamscourt Luxury Retirement Home. It is available to view on the Staywell Dorset website.

Beverly Harris, Regional Care Home Manager has some tips for carers and care workers:

“Anybody can improve their hydration very simply. At our care homes, we offer people all different types of drinks such as Ovaltine, Horlicks, as well as tea and coffee. We have found that coke floats have made a huge comeback!

“Milkshakes, fruit skewers, jellies all count towards hydration – jelly shots mean that people don’t have to eat a whole jelly, so these are popular.
“All of this has had a positive impact on the people we care for.”

The NHS Eatwell Guide recommends that people should aim to drink six to eight cups or glasses of fluid a day. Water, lower-fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count.

Rachelle Pearce, Lead Practice Nurse at Portesham Surgery Mid Dorset PCN tells us the health benefits of staying hydrated:

“Making sure you drink enough can make a big difference to how well you feel and look.

“Being hydrated improves your energy levels, helps your brain and memory, reduces the likelihood of falls and the chance of getting a urinary tract infection which can cause confusion and a lot of upset.

“And it makes your skin look great too, who doesn’t want that!”

Top tips from the NHS for staying hydrated:

  • drink regularly throughout the day
  • swap sugary drinks for diet, sugar-free or no added sugar drinks
  • adults can choose lower fat milk, such as semi-skimmed, 1% fat or skimmed milk and unsweetened plant-based drinks
  • limit fruit juice and smoothies to a maximum of one small glass (150ml) a day and drink with a meal, as they’re high in sugar
  • check nutrition labels on drinks – look for drinks with green or amber colour-coded labels
  • drink extra fluids if you’ve been sweating from physical activity, or if you’re unwell – water is the best way to replace lost fluids
  •  dilute squash drinks or cordials well to reduce the sugar content
  • drink caffeine in moderation – some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, depending on how much they drink and how often. Check the label for drinks that are high in caffeine
  • if you don’t like the taste of water, try sparkling water, no added sugar squash, or add a slice of lemon or lime.

Find out more about how you can make Every Drop Count on the Staywell Dorset website.