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Nutrition and hydration

When it comes to managing our energy, what we consume plays a significant role. Rushing from one meeting or court appearance to the next, couple with long hours at work can often lead to less than healthy food and drink choices.

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Maintaining nutrition and hydration

A UK study found that car drivers who were dehydrated had a marked reduction in their ability to make safety related decisions. Good hydration supports many of the body and mind’s processes including digestion, temperature control and the transport of oxygen and nutrients. Often when we feel lethargic or have a headache we are experiencing symptoms of dehydration.

Maintaining good hydration is straightforward; water is the best and sipping water throughout the day is a brilliant way to maintain optimum energy levels. Tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, smoothies and juices all count towards our water intake but have other negative impacts on health such as too much sugar or caffeine. These, along with popular sports drinks and coconut water, increase sugar consumption quickly and will result in a rapid sugar ‘high’. Aim to keep these drinks to a minimum and avoid consuming caffeine after lunch as this will disrupt your sleep. Fruit and vegetables also add water to our diets so it is worth including these in our diets.


Nutritionists have known for some time that different foods contribute to better health and particularly to maintaining steady energy release throughout the day. The brain needs a steady supply of nutrients and glucose to maintain optimal concentration and mental performance, vital in a legal role where immediate complex decisions are often required. Focusing on the glycaemic index of foodstuffs can be a helpful way to monitor and control the speed in which glucose is released into the bloodstream after eating.

Unfortunately, when we adopt poor eating habits, for example snacking on items high in carbohydrates, it creates a vicious cycle of peaks and troughs in blood-glucose levels. When levels dip dramatically we experience cravings, lethargy, irritability and sleepiness and search for the next snack to alleviate symptoms. Caffeine operates in a similar way and coffee is the frequent choice of the sleep deprived barrister. Sleep is then disturbed by the caffeine intake and the next day includes coffee again to provide a quick and easy boost in energy and focus. Experts in nutrition often advise a period of cutting out caffeine completely when experiencing fatigue.

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