Winter is the season of snow, the season of gift giving, the season of celebrating new beginnings, but it’s also the season of dehydration, which leads to fatigue, dull hair, dry skin and scalp, chapped lips, and lowered immunity.
Dehydration is exacerbated during winter months when we suffer lengthy periods of weather that is cold, dry, and at increased altitudes. In fact, the average healthy adult is robbed of approximately 2 quarts of water per day through a series of evaporation-type activities—through breathing, through the humidifying of dry air (which is why your exhaled breath appears white), and because the body has to work harder to heat up its core temperature. This extra effort requires more water to the tune of about 4 quarts of water per day to stay properly hydrated. Add more depending on the climate you live in, if your health is poor, of if you’re especially active during winter.
1. Start Your Day With Water
You’re doing your body a service if you start every morning with a tall glass of water. After 7 or more hours of fasting, water will energize and help flush out your organs. If you really want a morning kick (one that’s way more effective on the inside than coffee) try a glass of lukewarm water with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon to get you started. The lemon juice and cayenne pepper will help detox your body, boost your immunity, and destroying bad bacteria in your digestive system.
2. Nix the Coffee
Most of us need a morning coffee to get started in the early hours. However, caffeine, a diuretic, actually robs the body of what little water it has left after a long night of slumber. And you can imagine what coffee’s effect is if you have 2 or 3 cups. So do yourself a favor and drink a liter of water between each coffee or switch to herbal tea.
3. Add Extra Taste To Plain Old Water
Many people don’t like water because “it has no taste!” Well luckily you can fix that problem fairly easy. Add some fresh and healthy flavor to your bland water with a quick squeeze of a lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange. Or add some thinly sliced ginger, lemon rind, or cucumber. You can even add frozen berries for some zip (just make sure they have no sugar added).
4. Seeing is Reminding
I understand that you can get so busy during a day that you just forget to drink any water. However, if you’re sitting at a desk, typing at a computer, you can keep a large refillable bottle at your desk to take sips as you work. There is something to the power of seeing the bottle—and drinking from the bottle. You’ll likely even get into the habit of going to the washroom and water cooler for a quick break to stretch your legs and refill.
5. Warm and Hydrate with Herbal Tea
What’s that you say—your office is like an igloo? Well then easy fix, just swap regular water for herbal teas (just don’t add any sugar). You can find an herbal tea in almost any flavor (at zero calories) to keep you hydrated and warm all day long.
6. Attach a Water Bottle To Your Hip
Well not literally, but carrying a refillable water bottle with you—when you do errands, go for walks, take a yoga class, play with the kids, an even go to the movie theater—will help solidify a healthy habit and make it part of your regular routine. Soon you’ll be brining your water buddy everywhere, and never paying for outrageously priced movie drinks again!
7. Drink Water Before You Eat
This healthy habit is a dual purpose. When you make a point to drink water prior to meals you’re not only ensuring proper hydration; you’re also filling yourself up so you won’t eat as much or curb to binge eating. Often times we mistake hunger for thirst and overeat as a result.
8. Water Down Beverages
I make a habit to dilute other drinks. Makes sense, when most fruit juices and iced teas are too sweet anyhow. Start with a mix of half a glass of juice mixed with half a glass of water and trust me, you’ll be using less and less juice as time passes.
9. Drink Water Socially
If you’re at a party or out for dinner, make a habit of alternating every glass of wine or cocktail with a tall glass of water. This is a handy way to decrease the rate of alcohol absorption so you don’t end up with a hangover (a common culprit of dehydration). And to hydrate while you drink, opt to use sparkling water as your mix.
10. Consume Foods With Hydration Benefits
Do you know what foods like cucumber, watermelon, grapes, celery, oranges, and tomatoes have in common? They are all water rich foods that contribute nourishment and hydration to your diet. This is why a fresh fruit and vegetable smoothie—blended with fresh fruits, mixed greens, low fat yogurt, and water makes a great breakfast.