Table of Contents
Water Is Life
The general idea is that summer is the season in which we should worry about drinking more to avoid dehydration due to high temperatures. Our body is mainly made up of water: about 70% of our weight is water in summer and winter. Our body consumes water even during the cold winter days when we breathe and sweat. If we have a fever when we produce urine or feces, water is lost at any time, so we must drink enough and avoid remaining dehydrated even during winter.
What Happens If You Drink Too Little Water
If you drink too little water (mild or moderate dehydration), you may feel:
- Dry mouth and lips, tiredness, mood swings, headache, reddening of the skin, sweating poorly, you will have less urine output, and darker in color, you may also experience a decrease in appetite.
- However, if the lack of water increases, it can lower blood pressure, and you may feel dizzy, faint, or confused.
The lack of water also produces more subtle problems that we do not feel immediately but are felt after days or months, such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections such as cystitis, and reduced skin elasticity. If you do not drink water or liquids and dehydration continues, liver and brain damage can occur.
- In severe dehydration, the brain cells are susceptible and give symptoms such as difficulty concentrating and confusion, among the leading indicators of severe dehydration.
- Severe dehydration (around 10%) can also endanger our survival.
How Much Water To Drink In Winter
The winter season can bring many changes, from our activities to the foods and drinks we consume. When temperatures drop, we may not need as much fluid as in hotter climates. This perception may be due to less sweating and decreased thirst or the symptoms mentioned above. If symptoms are severe, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
The recommended daily requirement of water varies from person to person, even in winter, and depends on a few factors, including:
- Physical activity: If you exercise, you sweat, and even if you swim, you consume water, so you need to drink more water to replace the loss of fluids. Make sure you drink water before, during, and after your workouts, about 200ml at a time.
- Ambient temperature: Where you live, or travel can also make a big difference. Just like the heat, the cold and high altitudes can also affect your body and lead to dehydration if you’re not drinking enough water.
- General Health: Most healthy people can easily keep hydrated by drinking water when they are thirsty, but be careful if you are older. The sense of thirst also decreases when we need liquids. However, more than drinking when thirsty may be required due to an illness or health condition requiring a higher intake. For example, a pregnant or breastfeeding woman has different fluid intake needs.
- Diet: Proper nutrition, which also includes good hydration, is essential to ensure that our bodies can generate enough heat to maintain a correct body temperature in cold weather, so hydration is critical to prevent hypothermia.
Our daily fluid requirement is typically met by a combination of foods consumed and fluid intake. The foods we eat provide about 20% of our daily fluid needs, and the other 80% are met by the fluids we drink.
Water And Food
We can get liquids from a variety of healthy sources other than a simple glass of water.
The foods that can best supply the liquids and minerals that our body needs so much are:
- Fresh fruit and seasonal vegetables.
- Broths, vegetable purées, soups, stews, etc.
- Milk and derivatives, especially for the contribution of minerals such as calcium.
Seasoned foods that do not supply liquid are also essential to avoid dehydration, such as meat, fish, and cheeses such as Grana Padano DOP. This cheese provides 32% water and concentrates necessary minerals such as zinc, selenium, magnesium, and calcium (the largest supplier of calcium among the most consumed cheeses); moreover, Grana Padano DOP provides high biological value proteins, including the nine essential amino acids.
What To Drink In Winter
In addition to water, to cover our water needs even in the cold months, we can drink:
- Warm apple cider.
- Hot milk, possibly flavored with cinnamon or bitter cocoa.
- Herbal teas and infusions of fruit, herbs, or spices (not at all or with little sugar).
- Tea and coffee (in moderation due to the content of nerve substances such as caffeine and theine).
- Fruit juices (in moderation, no more than one glass a day due to the content of naturally occurring sugars such as fructose).
- Sports drinks are recommended only after significant fluid loss due to sustained strenuous exercise (more than one hour).
Many believe that alcohol helps fight the cold because it gives an immediate sensation of warmth. Instead, although it can make the skin warm, it lowers the temperature of vital organs and can reduce core body temperature. Drinking alcohol is terrible for your overall health and should not be counted as part of a person’s fluid intake.
How Many Liters Of Water To Drink Per Day
The principles of a healthy and balanced diet always apply, even in winter, but water needs change with age.
- Children between the ages of 4 and 8 should consume at least 7 5-ounce glasses (or cups) of fluids daily.
- Children between the ages of 9 and 13 should drink nine glasses of fluids daily, 10 for teenagers.
- Teenage females
- For adults, on average, eight glasses a day are sufficient, i.e., 1.5 – 2 liters of water.
At any age, fluid requirements should be increased during fluid loss due to sports, fever, or illness.
Thirst In The Elderly And Children
Young children are less able to control their body temperature and are less likely to realize the need to drink: for this reason, parents should give them water frequently, even if not requested.
The elderly have a reduced sense of thirst and may not drink as much water as they need. Dizziness, confusion, and other symptoms of dehydration can increase your risk of falling.
Adults and older adults taking diuretic drugs to regulate blood pressure may lose more fluid which, if not replaced, results in weight loss and dangerous dehydration, which needs to be corrected to avoid developing even severe complications. Monitoring your body weight helps balance your fluid intake.
How To Drink More In Winter
- Water is the best choice for our daily hydration.
- Avoid sugary drinks, as they contain many calories and don’t quench your thirst.
- Keep water close to you while you work or study, take a water bottle with you when you go out, sip often, and never wait to be thirsty!
- Drink water with meals and snacks, not just main meals.
- Always eat fruits and vegetables as snacks or after each meal.
- If you don’t like the taste of plain water, you can add flavors like lemon, lime, mint or other herbs, cucumber, citrus, melon, or berries.
- Drink more water when you are physically active.