Beaver County Extension

Hydration is important all year long

It is just as important to stay hydrated in the winter as it is in the summer.

Most people do not think twice about keeping themselves hydrated during the hot summer months. However, keeping your body hydrated is important all year long, even in the winter.

Janice Hermann, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist, said staying hydrated is important all year long.

“Hydration is a key factor in overall health,” Hermann said. “The body needs water for almost all its functions including digestion, circulation, excretion, absorbing and transporting nutrients, building tissues, maintaining blood volume and maintaining body temperature. The body also loses between one and a half to three quarts of water daily through perspiration, breathing, urination and bowel movements.”

To maintain your body’s water balance, you must replace the water lost each day. Dehydration occurs when the amount of water lost from the body is greater than the amount being taken in. A body can become dehydrated even in the winter.

Although thirst is frequently the first sign of dehydration, other symptoms can include dry mouth, headache, weakness, dizziness, confusion, sluggishness, fainting and muscle cramps.

The body’s water comes from three sources. First, the body generates some water. The rest of a body’s water comes from food and beverages. Beverages are a major source of water, as well as nutrients and calories. In fact, beverages account for about 20 percent of a person’s total daily caloric intake.

Calories and nutrients are important to consider when choosing beverages. Calorie-free beverages, particularly water, or beverages that provide important nutrients, such as low-fat milk and 100 percent juice, should be the main beverages consumed.

“Even then, milk and 100 percent juice should be consumed within recommended amounts and calorie limits,” she said. “Beverages with added sugars can provide a lot of extra calories without key nutrients.”

Even caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and hot cocoa provide water; however, caffeine intake should be limited to 300 milligrams or less per day.

“Although you may not feel like you need to consume as much water in the winter as you do during the summer, it’s important for your health to stay hydrated all year round,” Hermann said.

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