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How much water should you drink in winter?
Higher temperatures and outdoor activities make it easy to remember to drink enough water in summer. But even in winter it is important to be adequately hydrated. Experts explain how much should be drunk.
If you drink too little, the fluid balance becomes unbalanced. That endangers health. It is known, for example, that fluid loss can lead to physical and mental problems such as difficulty concentrating, dry mouth, tiredness, loss of appetite or constipation. In the cold months, however, many people tend to drink too little.
In cold weather, kidneys excrete more urine
When it comes to getting enough fluids in the cold months, humidity also plays a role, explains Stavros Kavouras, director of the Hydration Science Lab at Arizona State University in Phoenix, in a message from the American Heart Association.
The central heating ensures a drier indoor climate in winter, which is why breathing can lead to increased water loss.
That is not the only challenge. In cold environments, the kidneys actually excrete more urine, said Joseph C. Watso, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Sports and Environmental Medicine in Dallas.
"It's a small change that could potentially make a difference," said the scientist. "If you don't sweat, you may forget to drink enough water."
Health complaints due to insufficient fluid intake
When the body loses more water than it absorbs, dehydration occurs. Even low dehydration - the level at which people feel thirsty - is associated with difficulty concentrating, poor memory and mood.
And studies have shown that people who chronically consume little water are at higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease, kidney stones and urinary tract infections. "High urine flow appears to be protective," said Kavouras.
Kavouras and his colleagues found that mild dehydration affected the function of the cells that line the blood vessels almost as much as smoking a cigarette. Their findings were published in the "European Journal of Nutrition".
Dehydration has also been linked to inflammation, arterial stiffness, blood pressure regulation, and other factors that can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
In addition, a study published in the specialist magazine "Diabetes Care" established a link between inadequate hydration and diabetes. "Diabetes is a lifestyle disease that is related to what we eat, what we drink and how physically active we are," said Kavouras. And, according to the expert, hydration also seems to play a role.
How much should be drunk
Exactly how much water people need can vary. "Our water needs change from day to day based on factors such as ambient temperature and activity level," said Kavouras. "If you're an Ironman athlete who trains four hours a day, your water needs are higher than for someone who sits mostly."
In general, the US Federal Institute for Medicine suggests that women consume 2.7 liters and men 3.7 liters of water a day. It should be noted that about 20 percent of the daily water intake is absorbed through food.
The orientation values in Germany are similar. This is what the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) writes about minimum requirements: “Healthy adults should consume two to three liters of liquid a day. A good guideline is 35 milliliters per kilogram of body weight, and it is even a little more for infants and children. ”
According to Joseph C. Watso, postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Sports and Environmental Medicine in Dallas, "it is underestimated that many types of fruit and vegetables consist of 90 to 95% water." Due to the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, "you will definitely stay hydrated. "Soups also count, but:" Avoid soups with a lot of sodium. "
Improve health and well-being
Watso recommends having a refillable water bottle with you and drinking a sip of it throughout the day. "Your body can only process water at a certain rate, and if you drink too much (too quickly), the excess is excreted," the scientist explained.
Experts say that liquid from tea and coffee - even from eggnog - also contributes to the hydration. Even soft drinks and juices actually contribute to the daily fluid intake, although they are not recommended due to their high sugar content. Alcoholic beverages are also not recommended.
Kavouras recommends paying attention to how often you have to go to the toilet. Adults should urinate six or seven times a day. Dark yellow or orange urine is a sign that you should drink.
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Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- American Heart Association: Are you drinking enough water during winter months ?, (accessed: December 21, 2019), American Heart Association
- European Journal of Nutrition: The effect of hypohydration on endothelial function in young healthy adults, (accessed: December 21, 2019), European Journal of Nutrition
- Diabetes Care: Low Water Intake and Risk for New-Onset Hyperglycemia, (access: December 21, 2019), Diabetes Care
- Techniker Krankenkasse (TK): How much water should you drink? And how should you do that? (Accessed: December 21, 2019), Techniker Krankenkasse (TK)