Words by Libby Mitchell
Winter zaps the moisture out of your body. You may notice it in your dry, flaky skin, but it impacts every cell in your body. The lower temperatures diminish your thirst response. However, your need for water isn’t diminished. It’s actually higher than it is in the warmer months. “You may be expending more energy to keep warm. This dehydrates you,” said Julie Metos, PhD, RD, a nutritionist with University of Utah Health. “Also, you may not be thinking about the fact you need to hydrate because you may not notice yourself sweating like you do in the summer.”
On average you should be drinking between six and eight glasses of water a day – or roughly 100 ounces. While pure water is the best option you can also eat water-dense foods like fruits and vegetables, or from beverages like coffee or tea. “The only beverages, of course, that I’m against are soft drinks,” said Metos. “I don't count those because they have too much of that ugly sugar in them.”
When you are active you need to up your water intake. Spending a day on the slopes or going sledding with the kids? Be sure to bring a water bottle to avoid letting dehydration ruin the fun. “If you're even just a little bit dehydrated, your mental health or the way that you function can be impaired,” said Metos. “Maybe if you go have a big glass of water, you might just have a little pick-me-up.”
Water intake is even more important when you fall victim to illness in the winter months. If you develop a fever your need for water will go up. If you get a cold water can help thin out the mucus in your head and chest. “You can put a steamer in your room or drink more water,” said Metos. “All of those are good for making you feel just a little bit better.”
Making sure you are drinking enough water is good for your whole body. Your skin may not be as dry, and your lips may not crack as easily. Water can also help you keep off the winter weight gain because you will feel less hungry and not eat as much at meals. So, drink up!
Content sponsored by University of Utah Health
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