You’ve had a rotten journey to work, it’s cold, it’s damp and you can’t warm up! You open the office door and step into a centrally heated room – keeping hydrated is probably the furthest from your mind as you start to thaw out! However, cold weather and central heating can increase your risk of dehydration!
During the cold winter months, we turn up the central heating, close windows and batten down the hatches! Different forms of heating, such as electric heaters, log fires, gas heating, radiators and so on, all have a different impact on the environment but mostly, these can all cause a dry, polluted and stale environment that if not managed properly that can cause many health problems.
It is not just central heating though that causes the air to dry out, the air outside is naturally drier during the winter months as there is less humidity; cold air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air. Cold weather causes us to lose heat from our bodies and so more moisture is lost too. People don’t tend to drink enough water during the colder months as they don’t sweat – sweating is a trigger to feeling thirsty! Not only can a dry environment increase the risk of bugs (as it dries the surface membranes of the lungs encouraging bugs and infections) but it also increases the risk of dehydration! It takes the moisture out of your skin and can cause chapped lips, dry gritty eyes, sinusitis and headaches (to name but a few!)
To debunk the myths around what you can and can’t drink to keep you hydrated, here’s some great warming drinks to help keep you fit and well during the winter months!
It is a myth that tea can dehydrate you! Tea contains a small amount of caffeine which can have a mild diuretic effect, but not enough to risk dehydration.
Caffeine doesn’t cause fluid loss in excess of the volume that is ingested! So drinking coffee in moderation does tally towards your total hydration quota!
Hot Chocolate (made with milk)
Research shows that milk is a good way to hydrate as it is retained in the body for longer! However, there is often a high sugar and fat content in hot chocolate, so although it is a delicious warm drink to have on a cold winter’s day, it can be very calorific!
Herbal teas are warming and soothing and don’t contain caffeine or tannins – so drink away to your heart’s content! There are many different flavoured teas to choose from but you can also make your own herbal infusions using fruit, herbs and spices.
So keep warm, but not too warm and most of all remember to keep hydrated by drinking a variety of hot and cold drinks!