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Are You Drinking Enough Water in the Winter?

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Are You Drinking Enough Water in the Winter?

Jan 06, 2015

Over 90 percent of your body is water. It’s usually not too hard to get the amount of water you need in the summertime – but in the wintertime, it can be a little more difficult. Registered dietitian Julie Metos talks about the importance of staying hydrated in the winter and introduces ways to obtain water that you may not have thought about. She also discusses what counts and what doesn’t count towards your total daily water intake, as well as what type of water is the best.

Episode Transcript

Interviewer: In the summertime, everybody's thinking about water, but what about the winter? You need your winter water. Why? We'll examine that next on The Scope.

Man: Medical news and research from the University of Utah physicians and specialists you can use for a happier and healthier life. You're listening to The Scope.

Interviewer: Over 90 percent of your body is water, and it's not too difficult, usually, to get the amount of water you need in the summertime because you're hot and you're sweaty. In the wintertime, it could be a little bit more difficult, but water is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer.
We're with Julie Metos, Registered Dietitian at the University of Utah. Let's talk about winter water and the importance of still staying hydrated in the wintertime.

Julie Metos: Sure. Well, everybody knows you need six to eight glasses of water per day, and in the summer, you can kind of see yourself perspiring and that it gets evaporated. Sometimes, you even get that white coat on your skin around your mouth. So you kind of realize every day you need water.
But in the winter, that's happening, too, and to stay alert, keep your New Year's resolution, be a productive worker at your job, you still need all of that water.

Interviewer: So water in the wintertime, people don't drink it, but we're still perspiring in the wintertime?

Julie Metos: That's right. You're still perspiring, and you still need to feel alert. What I've learned lately is if you're even just a little bit dehydrated, your mental health or the way that you function can be impaired.

Interviewer: Really?

Julie Metos: Yeah.

Interviewer: So I can get kind of groggy, and it's not because of food. It's because of water?

Julie Metos: Yeah. Exactly. Think about that. It's 2:00 or 3:00 time in the afternoon where you're, like, "Geez, I want to go home and take a nap." Maybe if you go have a big glass of water, you might just have a little pick-me-up.

Interviewer: What about colds? Everybody always says, "You get a lot of rest. Eat a lot, and drink lots of water."

Julie Metos: Right.

Interviewer: Why is it important to drink water when you're sick?

Julie Metos: Well, for a couple of reasons. One is you might have a slight fever, which makes your need for water go up. The second is if you have a cold and you have all that mucous your head, you have a head cold, or if it's in your lungs, it helps thin out the mucous. So you can put a steamer in your room or drink more water. All of those are good for making you feel just a little bit better.

Interviewer: A steamer? Does that help, actually, to get water into your body?

Julie Metos: Well, it gets water into your nasal passages and into your lungs, so that's another way of getting it in there.

Interviewer: Understood. So it used to be at one point when you figured out how much water you should drink, you were not supposed to count fruits and vegetables. That's not true anymore?

Julie Metos: No. Really, you get quite a lot of water from your food. Sometimes, up to about a third of your water needs can be met with very water dense foods. You mentioned fruits and vegetables, but even things like coffee and tea, we count now. Any kind of beverage.
The only beverage, of course, that I'm against are soft drinks. I don't count those because they have too much of that ugly sugar in them, so you want pure water. Pure water's the best. If you need a little flavor, maybe a little squeeze of orange, lemon, or lime to get it down. But, really, something that has just pure, natural water is the very best for your health.

Interviewer: Like, a Crystal Light additive, is that not the best thing for you?

Julie Metos: Okay. Well, I'm going to give that the B grade.

Interviewer: Okay.

Julie Metos: But the A grade stays for water, okay?

Interviewer: So my question is, "Water's so important to us, but as humans, forever, we've been inventing ways to make it taste better. Why is that?"

Julie Metos: Yes, that's true. That's true. Well, the tip is that cold water always tastes better to people. But it always tastes better to have it in some type of hot beverage, too, in the winter. And so things like hot chocolate, coffee, and tea, maybe herbal tea if that's your preference, those are all fine once or twice a day.

Interviewer: Okay.

Julie Metos: But, remember, water's the very best number one beverage of choice.

Interviewer: The purest form you can get.

Julie Metos: That's the best.

Man: We're your daily dose of science, conversation, medicine. This is The Scope, the University of Utah Health Sciences Radio.