Staying Hydrated in the Winter Months

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated in the summer when hot weather has us outdoors and active.  Did you know that winter dehydration can be just as damaging to our bodies?

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), winter dehydration really is a problem.  When the winter months hit, and the outside temperature drops, the kidneys actually make more urine.  Dehydration happens when the body loses more water than it takes in.

Signs of Dehydration

Are you drinking enough water? How can you tell? Feeling the sensation of thirst is actually the first sign of minor dehydration.

Some other signs of  minor dehydration are:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor memory
  • Mood changes

If this sounds like you, you may not be taking in enough fluids throughout the day. Studies have also shown that those who do stay chronically dehydrated may be at a higher risk for developing conditions like kidney stones, and experience more urinary tract infections.  One important study even found that mild dehydration had the same effects on the blood vessel linings as smoking a cigarette.  Dehydration has also been linked to higher levels of inflammation, hardening of the arteries, and plays a vital role in regulating blood pressure.

How Much Fluid is Enough?

Daily fluid intake needs vary each day = by person, levels of activity, and as we have learned – seasons.  Keep in mind that it is impossible to give an exact recommendation for each reader, however, the federal Institute of Medicine recommends that women take in 2.7 liters and men 3.7 liters of water per day.

This total encompasses everything taken in, such as watery foods like fruit and other fluids besides water.  The drinking recommendation is 64 ounces for women and 96 ounces for men.  In the winter, people, in general, are more sedentary and drink more hot beverages, which are sipped slowly.  This contributes to fewer feelings of thirst and overall less intake.

How to Increase Winter Fluid Intake

Increasing and maintaining fluid intake in the winter months may come naturally to some people.  Mindfully drinking and developing new daily habits can squash dehydration before it starts.

Try developing the four daily habits below:

  1. Drink one full glass of water first thing in the morning and one glass at night when you brush your teeth.
  2. Use a water bottle with a time schedule on the side and a reminder function to help you drink throughout the day.
  3. Drink your food! Incorporate more soups and broths into your meals.
  4. Eat more fruit like berries and watermelon that have a lot of water content.
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