Why Hydration Matters in the Winter Too
Its seemingly easy to drink plenty of water during the hot summer months. A glass of ice water is refreshing and cools us off.
Unfortunately, as the days get shorter and colder we can forget to drink water and opt for hot caffeinated beverages instead. It may seem like drinking water in the winter isn’t as important as hotter months, but this time of year it is just as, if not more important to stay on top of staying hydrated.
We’ve heard most of our lives that water is vital to life because of the high rate of water that composes the human body. In fact, we are approximately 60 percent water with the brain and heart being roughly 70 percent and the lungs over 80 percent water! These facts alone point to how important it is to stay hydrated year-round and not lose track of your water intake in the winter.
Why Winter Hydration Matters
Poor hydration can make the body become sluggish and inefficient at breaking down fat for energy. This reaction may cause us to pack on weight more rapidly and have a harder time losing weight.* When the body is dehydrated, it is also more apt to hold onto the water it does receive causing additional weight gain.*
This one seems obvious but in the winter signs of dehydration are less noticeable. It is easy to tell when you haven’t had enough water on hotter days because thirst is a main symptoms. The causes of winter dehydration are also less noticeable. Extra layers and drier air may cause our perspiration to turn to vapor more quickly and we may become dehydrated without noticing.
The winter months seem to bring on a lot of illnesses and viruses. When the body is dehydrated, it might have more difficulty fighting off sickness and we may become more susceptible to falling ill.
Water can be vital for the body to regulate and maintain its temperature. Regardless of the season or temperature, not having enough water may cause the body’s core temperature to decrease. Hypothermia is more common among those who were dehydrated due to poor access to fluids. Warmer fluids would be ideal in this case, like room temperature water.
Add some lemon or fruits to your water to add some delicious flavors and vitamins.
What To Drink
Obviously water is the primary answer here, but there are some other drinks to keep you hydrated. Fruit infused water has a great taste and may add beneficial electrolytes and antioxidants to hydrate you quickly.*
Cold months tend to make us want to cozy up with a warm beverage. Hot drinks can be effective at keeping us hydrated as well. A hot cup of green tea with lemon is an excellent option because it adds electrolytes and has a low level of caffeine which can lead to dehydration.
What Not To Drink
Caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration because of their diuretic effect. Diuretics work by causing the kidneys to excrete more salt and water leading to increased bathroom visits and ultimately less water in the body. These types of drinks may also lead to dehydration by replacing those hydrating beverages we would be drinking. Sugar-laden sodas and other high sugar drinks can also lead to dehydration.
Hydrate Through Food
There are a lot of fruits and vegetables with high-water content. This is a great way to stay hydrated because you’re not only getting in water, but also nutrient-dense snacks to help boost energy.*
Fruits like grapes, watermelon, oranges, and pineapple are all great snacks to keep you hydrated. Lettuce, celery, zucchini, and tomatoes all have a high water content along with important phytonutrients.
This winter make it easy on yourself to stay hydrated by following a few tips:
- Keep a water bottle easily accessible
- Set reminders to drink a set amount of water an hour
- Find an accountability partner for your hydration goals
- Stock your fridge with fruits and vegetables with high water content
- There are many apps available on your phone to keep you accountable as well
- Replace your lunchtime soda with a glass of lemon water instead
Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly.
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Staying hydrated is important year-round, but can slip our minds during the winter. We’re less likely to notice we are in need of water and can become dehydrated quickly. The health concerns for dehydration go beyond chapped lips, dry skin, and increased thirst. We might run the risk of serious health consequences that may lead to hospitalization or worse. Stay on track with your health goals this winter by keeping hydrated!