Optimal hydration often escapes the
mind after the summer months end and the cold weather rolls in. However, even
though we are not sweating amidst the summer’s heat, hydration is equally
important in the winter months to support energy, electrolyte balance,
digestion and skin health.
How much water
should a person drink per day? The answer is not straightforward. As a general
rule, aim to consume half of one’s body weight in ounces. For example, a
150-pound woman, on average, should consume 75 ounces of water per day.
Unfortunately, this simple equation does not account for one’s activity level
or caffeine intake. Active individuals may need more water per day due to
increased water loss through sweat.
In the winter, fill up a cup with
room temperature or warm water to keep warm and hydrated. To maintain proper
electrolyte and hydration status, consider adding electrolytes to one beverage
each day, especially after physical activity. When looking for an electrolyte
powder, avoid ones with high amounts of added sugar. Alternatively, electrolyte
drinks can be made at home using 16 ounces of water, juice from a half of a
lemon, a shake of mineral-rich Himalayan salt and a pinch of magnesium powder.
The addition of electrolytes to water aids in hydrating the body’s tissues and
skin. This also prevents the elimination of water in the urine shortly after
drinking. Electrolytes are especially important when using a water filter at
home that may filter out naturally occurring minerals from the water. Hot
herbal teas that do not contain caffeine will also contribute to one’s daily
These considerations will ease winter
woes from the inside out. Humans are 50 to 70 percent water and its needed for
every cell in the body. Water contributes to optimal energy in several ways. It
is an important component in many cellular reactions and helps to maintain
electrolyte balance. Water also keeps food cravings at bay. Dehydration signals
can often be confused with hunger. Sipping on water throughout the day prevents
energy crashes and cravings.
Water is also necessary for various
nutrition-related functions. Water is needed to break down protein derived from
food and aid in bowel movement regularity. Adequate hydration status is more
than just nourishing the body on the inside. Water is needed to keep skin
looking plump and firm while also preventing dry, flaky skin. This is of
increased concern during the winter months when the drier air outside and
inside the home can dry out the skin.
Here are a few tips to increase daily
• Build a morning
routine that includes drinking eight ounces of water upon
• Find a mug,
water bottle or cup that is enjoyable to drink out of. This will
make drinking water that much easier.
• Flavor plain
water with lemon, cucumber, mint or an herbal tea.
• Set gentle
reminders on smartphones to get a drink of water. This also acts as
a great standing break during the work day.
So, grab a warm cup of lemon water
and rejuvenate the body by recommitting to hydration this winter.
RDN, LDN, is an integrative and functional dietitian in Waltham. She works to
uncover root causes of imbalances in the body and takes an individualized
approach to wellness with her one-on-one clients. She is currently accepting
new patients at Johnson Compounding and Wellness and appointments can be made