Water makes for the most important part of the body; our body is made up of 70- percent of water and regardless of the time of the year, requires good hydration. Your body uses water in all its cells, organs and tissues in order to regulate and maintain all bodily functions. Because your body loses lots of water through sweat, digestion and urination, it is imperative to keep it hydrated throughout. As winter days approach and temperatures begin to drop, the air around us tends to become drier and our bodies receive less moisture as compared to warmer months. Our consumption of fluids in general, and water in particular, goes down too. During warmer months, it is easier to drink the recommended number of glasses of water, which is 8-10 glasses, while it becomes difficult to consume this amount in winter. Thirst is a side-effect of heat and an indication of dehydration, which is rarely a condition in colder months, keeping you away from water for most parts of the day. Does feeling thirsty less frequently in winters mean that our bodies need fewer glasses of water as compared to the summer months? What is the adequate amount of water we should be consuming?
Why do we feel less thirsty in winter?
You may have up to 4 cups of hot steaming tea when it is cold but not even 3 glasses of water on most days. While the idea of a hot beverage is welcoming with temperatures dropping, water is hardly given the attention it deserves. According to Nutritionist Dr. Simran Saini from Fortis Hospital, "Weather decides the amount of water you drink through the day. During winters, the body does not get easily dehydrated and it does not need water to cool itself down like in summer. However, not drinking water or drinking less water may cause dehydration." The reason of not feeling thirsty may also include that our warm bodies feel hydrated most of the time leading to increased hydration and decreased thirst.
How does the weather determine how much water one should drink in a day? During winters, the body does not get easily dehydrated and it does not need water to cool itself down
In summer and monsoon, we generally lose a great deal of water, considering we sweat a lot, which results in feeling dehydrated, hence the body asks for more water. Moreover, most of the times we end up using air conditioners which lead to dryness, making us drink more water through the day. On the other hand, in winter, our body loses the same amount of water, but in a longer period of time. We tend to lose water from our bodies due to respiratory fluid loss through breathing. Moreover, our bodies work hard under the weight of extra clothes, and the sweat produced quickly evaporates in the cold, dry air.
How much should one ideally drink in winter?
It is not necessary to gulp down several glasses of water in one go. You don't want to stuff yourself and end up feeling sick. Take small sips through the day to ensure your body is hydrated enough.
Dr. Saini tells us, "We recommend at least 6-8 glasses of water every day; it shouldn't be necessarily gulping down one glass at a time, but it can include taking small sips through the day." She recommends these important tips to stay hydrated through the day. It is not necessary to gulp down several glasses of water in one go
- It is not mandatory to stay hydrated by drinking only water; you can drink a bowlful of hot soup. Soup contains a lot of water and so it can help you stay hydrated. Add seasonal veggies like spinach, carrots and beans to the mix for a nutrition boost.
- We usually like all things warm, so it is good to sip on lukewarm honey and lemon water every day. This way, not only will you be able to stay hydrated, but also keep yourself healthy. Restrict this to not more than once or twice a day. Just a cup of hot water with a squeeze of lime will also give you the Vitamin C required to fight the cold.
- Try Green Tea. You have a variety of flavours to chose from these days - from Tulsi to Chamomile. Pick a flavour you like and sip away.
- Try and include water-based fruits and vegetables in your diet. These natural sources of water will help you keep hydrated and keep you healthy.
It is imperative to load up on water as our bodies are constantly losing some part of it every moment, regardless of the season.