Water. It’s so easy to forget it this time of year but SO important not to. 50-60% of the body is water and it’s a critical ingredient for all metabolic processes. We need about 1ml of water for every calorie we consume daily; this equates to 48-64oz for most – more if you are an athlete.
So, how do you know if you’re not getting enough? Fatigue, dry skin and headaches are a clue. More severe signs of dehydration include extreme thirst, irritability, restlessness, dry mouth, little or no urine output (or very dark colored urine).
During the colder months, we’re less likely to crave a cold beverage. However, there are other ways to get your fluids in. Try decaffeinated or herbal tea or hot water with lemon. Even coffee and regular tea offer the benefits of water intake but also may increase your need for fluid due to the diuretic effect.
A good way to ensure you’re getting enough is to shoot for 16-20oz of fluid with or between each meal. After breakfast or lunch, fill up a water bottle or travel mug and keep it with you. Having a water bottle or mug handy makes it more likely you’ll take opportunity to get fluids it. Another option during cold weather is soup. Have a 16oz bowl of soup with your lunch and you’ve just about met your fluid needs for that meal. Here are some great soup recipes from one of my favorite sources, Eating Well Magazine.