Even when it’s chilly outside, our bodies still need hydration.
A bunged up nose and sore throat are perennial problems at this time of year. But while we all know how to treat a cold, there’s a hidden health danger that few of us consider: dehydration.
In winter, sweat evaporates more quickly so we can be unaware just how much fluid we’ve lost. Our thirst response is also reduced meaning that while we’re exercising, we’re less likely to drink than in summer. Runners can be at risk as their bodies simply aren’t telling them that they are short of fluids.
Even a small loss can have a significant impact. A US study found that losing a miniscule 1.36 per cent of our bodies' liquids impairs concentration, worsens our mood and increases the number of headaches we suffer. Circulation, digestion and the transport of nutrients are all impacted.
Kidney function can become impaired too making it harder for the body to expel toxins. If you’re consistently drinking too little then the risk of painful kidney stones increases.
At this time of year we can often see our breath early in the morning – that’s water vapour being expelled at a much higher rate than when it’s warm outside and just another way we're losing liquids from our bodies.
protecting children from dehydration
Young kids are particularly at risk of dehydration as they are smaller so have a higher turnover of vital liquids and electrolytes. A bout of gastro can leave them dangerously dehydrated in hours.
The elderly have to be especially careful as we tend to feel less thirsty as we age and our kidneys become less able to conserve fluids. Seniors also tend to be on more medications, some of which may have diuretic side effects or cause profuse perspiration.
Experts recommend we all consume enough hot and cold drinks throughout winter to keep us fit and healthy. Increasing the amount you drink can also shorten the duration of a cold.
3 tips for hydration in winter
1. Keep a bottle of purified, filtered cold water in your car at all times. The BIBO water bar provides perfectly chilled water to drink on the run – even better when it's in a stylish BIBO glass water bottle!
2. Have a drink with every meal be it a cool glass of water, tea made using instant hot water from the BIBO water bar or whatever takes your fancy. Add a soup course to your meal or drink some as a snack during the day. It will help with hydration levels and if you're making soup using the BIBO water bar, it'll be ready in a matter of seconds. Easy as.
3. Eat more fruit and veg – about 20 per cent of our fluid intake comes from solid foods which all helps to boost hydration.
tea's the key to hydration
Surprisingly, a cup of black tea is even better for you than straight water as it delivers antioxidants, according to researchers at King’s College, London. They concluded that even drinks containing caffeine are great at replacing lost fluids.
“Everyone assumes that caffeine-containing beverages dehydrate,” Dr Carrie Ruxton says. “But even if you have a really, really strong cup of tea or coffee, you would still have a net gain.”
Tea also contains fluoride, which is good for teeth.
Best of all, tea itself contains no calories. Switching from a single daily soft drink to a cup of tea will reduce your sugar intake by enough to lose up to seven and a half kilos over 12 months! And that's not to mention the benefits of drinking different varieties of herbal teas.
6 teas to help stay healthy
1. Chamomile: relaxing and calming.
2. Peppermint: great for digestion.
3. Ginger: helps soothe nausea.
4. Green: packed full of antioxidants.
5. Echinacea: may boost the immune system.
6. Licorice: good for stress relief.
FREE Twinings tea chest worth $80!
The BIBO water bar is not only perfect for refreshing, chilled drinks, it’s ideal for tea and coffee as you can set the filtered water to the optimum temperature – boiling for black tea and a few degrees cooler for coffee, herbal teas or hot chocolate.
Now’s a great time to invest in one for the office or home as you’ll receive a FREE Twinings tea chest worth $80 with every order before the end of September. Each uniquely crafted wooden box is packed full of 60 tea bags and delicious infusions.
So whatever your favourite beverage, make sure you’re drinking enough – not just in summer, but all year long.