“Stay hydrated” is a mantra we usually associate with summer. It makes sense, of course—as we sweat, we lose much of our body’s precious water. But staying well hydrated is just as important, if not more so, to your health during the chilly winter months ahead. Cold air contains less humidity than warm air, so our bodies lose more water. On top of that, the dry air coming from heaters doesn’t help us much either.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of staying hydrated as we approach the holidays.
Cold & Flu Recovery
Cooler temperatures are synonymous with the holiday season for so many. Unfortunately, this same time of year is prime cold and flu season. Hydration is critical for preventing and recovering from illness. Water helps avoid dehydration when you’re feverish, increases blood flow, flushes toxins from your body and even works to keep your sinuses clear.
Interestingly, studies show that we drink less water as temperatures drop. Because our blood vessels constrict when we’re cold in order to maintain body heat closer to our core, our bodies are fooled into not feeling as thirsty even when hydration is desperately needed. Additionally, we tend to reach for a hot cup of joe (or other festive beverages) over a glass of ice water. And while coffee is brewed with water, you don’t get the same level of hydration. In fact, caffeine is a diuretic and can dehydrate you further, so opt for an extra glass of water for every cup.
Staying hydrated also helps you avoid feelings of fatigue and sleepiness as well as keep headaches at bay. Keep the water flowing throughout the holidays to ensure you don’t nod off before sampling that juicy turkey or have to pass on holiday festivities to nurse a fierce headache.
For those of us who worry about gaining a few extra pounds over the holidays, water can be your best friend. Water helps promote a healthy metabolism, and drinking a full glass of water can actually help you feel fuller so you’ll be less inclined to overstuff on mom’s famous pumpkin cheesecake.
Of course, the type of water you drink to stay hydrated is just as important as how much of it you consume. Make sure you’re pouring clean, filtered water instead of that funky tap water.
This was Part 3 of our series on holiday water usage. Read Part 2 and keep coming back for tips on how to better manage your water during the holidays.