6 tips to increase water intake in winter

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    Did you know dehydration can lead to heart problems? Incorporate these tips to increase water intake in winter and avoid the risk.

    There are health risks associated with every season, and winter is no exception. As the temperature drops, people tend to focus more on common illnesses like cold, fevers, and allergies. However, doctors warn heart patients to take extra caution because cold weather increases the risk of heart attacks more than other seasons do. One of the causes of heart attacks in winter is dehydration caused by a lack of water intake. In addition to increasing the risk of heart attacks, dehydration can affect your immune system, digestion, bone and joint health. If you tend to avoid drinking water during winter, you should know that it can cause headaches, constipation and even a decline in cognitive function. Here’s how to increase your water intake in winter to reduce the risk of heart disease.

    Can dehydration damage our heart?

    If you are dehydrated, the amount of blood circulating through your body decreases. Your heart will try to compensate by beating faster, increasing your heart rate. This places strain on your heart as it needs to work harder than normal, says the expert.

    Also Read: Common signs of dehydration that you need to watch out for

    Not drinking enough water in winter can put your health at risk. Image courtesy: Freepik

    6 ways to increase water intake in winter

    Water is your main chemical component of your body and makes up about 50 to 70 percent of your body weight. People tend to drink less water during winter, which can lead to dehydration and trigger a lot of health problems. To ensure that you are drinking enough water in winter, certain measures can be followed as explained by the internal medicinal specialist, Dr Tushar Tayal.

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    1. Set a reminder

    There are multiple apps available nowadays on mobiles where we can set alarms that remind us to drink water. Make sure you are setting alarms and following up on them from time to time to avoid getting dehydrated.

    2. Eat fruits and vegetables

    There are so many seasonal fruits with high water content in them that you can add to your winter diet. Make sure that you are eating at least 3 servings of green vegetables and 2 fruits such as papaya, and apples regularly.

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    3. Include vegetables soups and juices in your diet

    Winters are the season of green leafy vegetables! You must have seen vegetable soups and juices being sold at every nook and corner during this season. Incorporate juices in your diet along with soups such as mushroom, broccoli, pumpkin to keep your body well hydrated.

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    4. Drink warm water

    Drinking lukewarm water is soothing for the throat during winter. Ensure that water is not too hot because it can scale the throat and cause discomfort. Stick to lukewarm water and avoid cold water during this season.

    5. Exercise more

    Do you stop exercising during the winter season? You’re not alone! Due to the cold weather, we reduce or stop exercising due to which the thirst trigger is suppressed. Ensure that you exercise for 45 minutes daily and keep a water bottle with electrolyte water or smoothies to hydrate yourself.

    6. Avoid tea and coffee

    If you tend to drink a lot of tea and coffee during winter, you might want to reduce your intake. Tea and coffee have a diuretic action and cause excess urination leading to a net water loss from the body, which will only add to the problem.

    Does drinking a lot of water help to keep heart diseases at bay?

    Your heart is constantly pumping blood throughout your body. It beats on an average of 72 times a minute, it pumps around 7,600 litres every day. Staying well hydrated helps your heart do its job and easily pump blood through the blood vessels to your muscles. Less strain is placed on the heart, and it doesn’t have to work as hard to do its job. This in turn helps your muscles work more effectively.

    Plus, staying well hydrated could reduce the risk of heart failure, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2021. It suggests that staying hydrated can prevent or at least slow down the changes within the heart such as left ventricular hypertrophy, which can lead to heart failure.

    How many litres of water should we drink in winter?

    The recommended amount of water to drink in winter can vary depending on several factors, but it’s generally less than the typical recommendation of 2-2.5 litres per day. The expert recommends women to drink 2.16 litres per day and 2.96 litres for men.

    Is it okay to drink less water in the winter?

    No, it’s not generally okay to drink less water in the winter. While your thirst sensation might diminish due to the colder temperature, your body’s need for adequate hydration remains vital throughout the year. Here are the reasons to maintain water intake in winter, explains the expert.

    • Dry air: Indoor heating and colder temperature makes the air dry, leading to increased water loss through respiration and skin evaporation.
    • Dehydration risk: Even mild dehydration can affect your mood, energy levels, and cognitive function, and even worsen winter illnesses.
    • Hidden water loss: Activities like skiing, shovelling snow, or even brisk walking can cause water loss even if you don’t feel hot or sweaty.
    • Health benefits: Adequate water intake supports digestion, circulation, skin health, and kidney function, all crucial for your overall well-being.

    While the general recommendation remains around 2 litres per day, individual needs may vary. You might need slightly less than usual in winter due to reduced sweating, but drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres per day.

    A woman drinking detox water
    There are many benefits of staying hydrated in winter. Image courtesy: Freepik

    Other tips to stay hydrated in winter

    • Carry a reusable water bottle: Make it easily accessible to remind yourself to sip throughout the day.
    • Warm beverages: Herbal teas, broths, and warm water with lemon can be satisfying and hydrating alternatives.
    • Water-rich foods: Fruits and vegetables naturally contribute to your fluid intake.
    • Monitor urine colour: Pale yellow urine indicates good hydration, while dark yellow or amber could indicate dehydration.

    In short, make sure you are well hydrated during the winter season if you want to keep heart diseases and other diseases at bay.

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