I find it really easy to drink enough water over summer - an icy cold glass of water is always a good way to cool down! In Winter I tend to reach for warming drinks such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate, but often forget to match those with water.
Sometimes I’ll find myself pouring a glass of wine at the end of the day, and realise that I’m actually just thirsty because I haven’t had nearly enough water.
How much water do I need?
The body needs more water each day than any other nutrient, and your hydration status may influence your concentration, short-term memory, blood pressure, and bowels, amongst other things. (1) It will also impact how well you are able to carry out day to day activities such as work and exercise.
Dietary sources of water come from water itself and other beverages (eg milk, juice, but do not count alcohol!), and nearly all foods contain water. An easy to remember goal for most adults is to drink 2L of water each day; you'll likely need more if you live in hot environments or you're physically active. (2)
Here’s 5 tips to up your water intake over Winter (or anytime!):
1. Find a large jug (2L is ideal) that you can fill in the morning and set on the bench with a glass (the more visible, the better). Fill your glass every time you walk past, with the goal of finishing it before the day is over.
2. If you're on the go or can't manage a jug at work, a personal water bottle is a great idea. Take note of the capacity and ensure you refill your bottle throughout the day to meet your needs.
3. Use an app to remind you. There are lots of free ones for both iPhone and Android - try some and see which works for you. I quite like ‘plant nanny’, the little animated plant grows the more you drink!
4. Although tap water is perfectly adequate, you could ‘fancy’ it up to sparkling water with a soda stream and slice of fresh or frozen lemon or lime. I keep a packet of frozen lime slices in my freezer year round for this purpose!
5. Choose a caffeine-free herbal tea or infusion - there are loads available on the market now, and many can be enjoyed hot or cold. Once again, you could make a jug or teapot of this in the morning and finish it over the day (pay attention to the capacity of your jug, you may need extra!)
Drinking enough water throughout the day really comes back to habits - find a habit that works for you and keep at it until it becomes second nature.
What’s your favourite way of keeping your water intake up?
Whitney E, Rady Rolfes S, Crowe T, Cameron-Smith D, Walsh A. Understanding Nutrition. Australian and New Zealand ed. South Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning; 2011.
Sawka MN, Cheuvront SN, Carter R III. Human Water Needs, Nutrition Reviews 63 (2005): S30-S39