We all have an on-going need to replenish our bodies’ fluids. Our desire to drink is triggered by a hormone called vasopressin, which is released when a decrease in blood pressure and blood volume is detected by the hypothalamus – a small area in the brain that serves multiple biological functions, including regulation of water levels.
However, our instinct to drink isn’t always 100% reliable.
In cold weather, blood flow to the peripheries of the body is restricted in order to boost flow to the core. Fingers, toes, ears, and nose are nowhere near top priority when it comes to circulation. Blood vessels in these parts of the body contract to allow limited access to blood so that more blood is available for the vital organs.
With adequate blood volume and pressure in the core, fluid levels appear to be satisfactory, even when a body’s total fluid level is low. When all appears well in the blood pressure department, the thirst reflex isn’t triggered.
So, the reason you might not feel so thirsty in cold weather is all down to a false reading of water levels. And without the desire to drink, it’s easy to become dehydrated.
In winter, we take comfort in hot foods like porridge, stews, casseroles, and custard. These foods have something more in common than just their temperature. They also have high water content.
A bowl of porridge will provide you with 200-300ml of fluid. Some people like their porridge made with water, others prefer milk, and many people choose a mixture of the two. Milk is around 87% water, so even if you make your porridge with all milk, you’re getting 174-261ml of fluid from your breakfast.
Besides the high-water-content gravy, which forms the base for stews and casseroles, we get a lot of fluids from the root vegetables we put into these meals. Potato, carrot, parsnip, swede, and turnip all contain more than 80% water. Other winter vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, celery, and spinach comprise at least 90% water.
All fresh fruits contain a large amount of water. Apples, pears, and oranges are about 85% water; grapes are around 82%; and even bananas are 75% water! So, when you eat a 200g apple, you’re putting 170ml water into your body.
Even in wintertime, a cold dessert can be nice. Jelly made with sparkling water is a fun teatime treat, especially popular with children. Use just enough boiling water to dissolve the jelly cubes, allow to cool, and then top up with chilled sparkling water.
Approximately 80% of our fluid intake comes from what we drink.
Herbal teas (tisanes) are infusions of flowers, seeds, fruits, roots, and leaves. For thousands of years, plants have been used for their medicinal properties, and one of the most common ways of ingesting their goodness is in the form of an infusion. Hundreds of different types of infusion are available, and all you need to do is pour pure hot water over a teabag.
If you’re not already a regular drinker of tisanes, why not give them a go!
For a warming bedtime drink, you could try lavender, lemon balm, magnolia, or passionflower, which are all popular remedies for anxiety and stress. Peppermint is taken to relax and soothe the digestive system, and liquorice root is known for treating stomach ulcers. Senna tea helps to relieve constipation, cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, and ginseng tea is said to be great for the immune system.
The best thing, however, about plant infusions, is that they’re a calorie-free way to keep hydrated, and the best way to choose your tipple is to go with the ones you love the taste of.
Because we can’t always rely on feeling thirsty, wintertime hydration should perhaps include an element of discipline. For instance, keep a cup handy and refill it with a hot drink every hour, even if you’re not thirsty. Alternatively – or as well – have a water bottle with you and take a few mouthfuls regularly.
Hydration has a positive impact on productivity, and an increasing number of businesses are taking steps to ensure that all employees have access to free drinking water. Many leading brands are opting to take the sustainable option of a mains-fed water dispenser, eliminating the use of single-use plastic bottles.
With the capacity to deliver hundreds of cups of boiling, chilled, and sparkling water every hour, yet only heating what you need, Aqua illi and Aqua Alto taps provide a continuous, regulated supply of highly filtered water that’s so pure, the units stay totally free of limescale.
Contact the Aqua Libra Co team to learn more. Phone 0800 080 6696 or email email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.