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Drinking and alcohol

Water and non-alcoholic drinks

Keeping properly hydrated is vital for our bodies to work properly. Not drinking enough can cause constipation, headaches, tiredness and irritability.

Drink about six to eight cups of liquid a day. This doesn’t have to be water. Vary what you drink – tea, coffee, fruit juice or squash – but avoid sugary fizzy drinks as they contain unnecessary calories, which can lead to weight gain.

Don’t rely on feeling thirsty to tell you when to drink, as when we get older our sense of thirst gets weaker.


Many of us enjoy a drink now and then, but drinking more than the recommended limits can damage our health, and government guidance says we should drink in moderation.

Men and women should not regularly exceed 14 units a week.

A pint of beer (4% alcohol) and a 175ml standard glass of wine (13% alcohol) both contain 2.3 units.

Having wine or beer most evenings, with your meal or while watching TV, for example, can be as harmful to your health as binge drinking. It can result in damage to your liver, brain, blood vessels and other organs, and can cause sleep problems and increase the risk of falls.

Visit the Drinkaware website for more guidance on alcohol and health.

It’s particularly important to drink plenty water in hot weather and stick to a normal diet to replace salt loss from sweating. See our Staying cool in a heatwave guide for more tips on coping in the heat.

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Further information


Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174

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