During the colder winter months, many people struggle to drink as much water as they do during the summer. However, ensuring that we consume enough fluids is just as important when it is cold as when it is warm out. Staying hydrated is essential for our survival but there are also many added health benefits of drinking plenty of water.
- Drinking water ensures that we maintain a balance of our essential bodily fluids.
- Bodily fluids are necessary for digestion, absorption, circulation, transporting nutrients and maintaining body temperature. We lose water through perspiration and excretion of waste. As our bodies are made up of around 60% water, it is therefore vital that any fluid we lose is replenished.
- Water keeps our kidneys healthy and helps to prevent kidney stones.
- Drinking enough water is important for our digestive systems as it can prevent constipation.
- Staying hydrated can have a positive impact on energy levels and brain function, as well as reduce headaches that may be linked to dehydration. Various studies have found a link between mild dehydration and the impairment of brain functioning and memory loss.
- Water consumption can influence feelings of satiety and boost metabolism, which can help with weight loss.
But how much is enough?
Some have argued that there is a lack of scientific evidence proving that the previous guideline of 8 glasses a day for an adult is in fact necessary; however, this recommendation is still widely given, as an average of 1-1.5 liters per day is believed to be sufficient to replace total water lost. This would fluctuate depending on activity levels and climate.
Tips to help you drink more water:
- Keep a large reusable bottle with you and take it with you everywhere. Fill it up at the start of every day and sip your way through it. This way, it won’t seem so daunting to try and get through 8 whole glasses in one sitting.
- As a general practice, try to have a glass of water with every meal.
- Herbal or fruit teas are a good option for when you need a warming drink. There are many varieties of teas available, including redbush, ginger, peppermint and chamomile. These are all naturally caffeine free. For coffee-lovers, try dandelion coffee, which is in fact a tea that doesn’t contain caffeine, but has a taste similar to that of coffee.
- If the taste (or lack thereof) of water is what puts you off, try adding fruit or herbal tea bags to a jug or bottle of cold water. This can add a subtle flavor without the calories or artificial sweeteners that store-bought flavored waters might contain.
- Sparkling water is a great alternative and has been found to have the same effect on overall hydration as non-carbonated water. It can, however, cause gas and bloating in some people so try to avoid drinking it when exercising. Add some lemon and lime slices for an even more refreshing taste.
- We take in around 20% of our water through the foods that we eat. Eating water-rich vegetables, salad and fruits is another good way to increase our daily water intake. Cucumber, celery, lettuce, mushrooms, watermelon and oranges are some examples of foods with high water content.