HYDRATE This Winter
If you’re not a snow person (which I am not) then winter presents more challenges than just grey skies and chilly days. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I love a couple months of ice skating, sledding or a hike in a snowy wood. It’s not the cold temperatures, or even the cloudy days that can be difficult – it’s keeping hydrated that’s tough. Who really feels like guzzling gallons of water…in winter.
Fortunately, I have had to explore this over the past 14 years as a Nutritionist and obviously for my own benefit too. So I’ve compiled a list of the best ways I know how to top up your hydration during hibernation. Let’s first start with water itself:
1. Drink room temperature or slightly chilled water, not cold water. Cold just makes everything MORE cold. Not exactly what we want to feel in mid-February. Room temperature water is easier to digest and allows for a greater intake. So skip the ice.
2. TEA! Warm, aromatic, soothing… sounds better already. Explore the exciting world of teas that can be enjoyed hot, warm and even chilled (for a quick boost of hydration after exercise). Consider green varieties naturally flavoured with mint, goji, and hibiscus for an immune boost. Kids love mint, and a naturally decaffeinated spearmint, peppermint or green tea with mint is a nice way to hydrate the kids after the winter games. For those who prefer a lighter taste, consider white teas, which often come naturally flavoured with other fruits like blueberry and pomegranate. White tea is higher in antioxidants than it’s more mature-leaf sibling green tea.
3. All hail the mighty coconut! I love coconut water, and it’s ideal for quick hydration when you’re on the go and especially after exercise. It’s packed with nutrients that provide electrolytes and a far healthier option than high-fructose corn syrup, artificial dye-laden sports energy drinks. These are just poison in your body and are particularly bad for children who are most often sensitive to food colorants. (Note: Red makes little girls angry and irritable and little boys wild in my experiences with kids… just sayin’).
4. Pure juices MIXED with water. I’m not a huge proponent of bottled fruit juices and they are mostly sugar – even the natural stuff. Fructose is “ose” and anything with “ose” on the end of it means sugar. I do like a small ratio of a pure fruit juice such as pure blueberry, elderberry, cranberry, bilberry and dark cherry juices as they can be splashed into water to give it a bit of colour and flavour without adding the sugar.
5. Add fruit slices. Kids especially like this. Throw in orange, lemon and lime slices into a room temperature bottle of water. Toss in a few raspberries and sliced strawberries to make it a rainbow of fun. Get some added enzymes to help with your digestion by adding a few spears of fresh pineapple and/or mango. Cut some clementines and tangerines in half and juice them by hand and add to a bottle of fresh spring water. Lemon as most people know, is very good as an internal cleanser.
6. Sprigs of fresh herbs. Buy some fresh mint and crush the leaves gently and add to your jug. The mint is refreshing and makes drinking water less boring. Consider fresh basil, rosemary, lavender, thyme, or fresh parsley as they are all refreshing.
7. Add some C to Go! Vitamin C packs are everywhere. Grab a box from a good quality health store and add to your water. It’s much better than aspartame-laden products to “flavour” your water (all while providing toxins to your liver and brain!) Avoid those somewhat handy looking little squeeze bottles of fake flavourings and packages of crystalline “substances” that attempt to hydrate you.
8. Soups and Broths! Soup is mostly water by the time you add broth, water and the veggies. Make yourself a nice steaming pot of soup and enjoy as a meal or in addition to your regular meals. Use a base of broth, tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, garlic, fresh and dried herbs and greens of all kinds to boost your immune system during the dark, cold days of winter. I love a good BONE Broth – it’s full of protein, collagen, and adding some sea/himalayan salts and some nice herbs and spices will kick up the electrolytes and add an immune boost.
While we may migrate to feel good beverages like coffee and hot cocoa, do use in moderation, as these tend to dehydrate if anything. Make some hot chocolate for the kids using warmed chocolate almond or coconut milk, and stir in a little bit of melted dark chocolate and sprinkle of cinnamon. Add a little maple syrup, organic marshmallows or a teaspoon of honey to your teas, cocoa or coffee if you like.
Well, there’s 8 great ways to hydrate yourself all winter.