Proper hydration through the winter months.

Plus: Recipes to keep the momentum going this first week of the year.

Tuesday.  It’s 2024, and, believe it or not, cigarettes are still around. We’ve come a long way since doctors were recommending cigarettes to their patients. Still, some people today willingly choose to smoke. Well, maybe that will change following an alarming new study showing that smoking causes your brain to shrink and speeds up brain aging, a process that is irreversible even after quitting. So yeah, don’t smoke. 

Moving on to something less black and white than smoking—should you worry about hydration in the winter months? Let’s dive in.


Winter Time Hydration  

Ariana Grande Ski GIF by Jimmy Fallon

When winter rolls in, most of us don’t think about hydration the same way we do in the summer. But staying hydrated in cold temperatures and at high altitudes presents unique challenges crucial for our well-being.

In cold weather, our bodies react differently. Our thirst mechanism isn’t as effective, which means we might not feel as thirsty even when our body needs some H2O. On top of that, colder temperatures can increase urine production, a phenomenon known as cold-induced diuresis. This happens because cold exposure can raise blood pressure, prompting the kidneys to excrete more fluids to balance it out.

All this just means you’ll head to the bathroom more often once temperatures start to drop. More bathroom breaks mean more fluid loss. And more fluid loss means you are more likely to become dehydrated. 

Furthermore, winter activities and heavy clothing increase our metabolic rate, making us sweat more than we might think. This, combined with the fact that we lose more moisture through our breath in dry, cold air, means our hydration needs are actually quite significant in the winter.

The challenges continue when we consider high altitudes. Hydration is a delicate balance for mountain climbers, skiers, snowboarders, and high-altitude enthusiasts, especially in the first week at elevation. Initially, more water is needed to prevent dehydration. However, after this period, fluid and sodium intake may need to be restricted to avoid acute mountain sickness, a condition characterized by symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and dizziness.

The reduced oxygen levels at high altitudes also mean your body works harder, elevating your metabolic rate and increasing sweat production. This makes staying hydrated even more critical. Surprisingly, our thirst mechanism also becomes less effective at high altitudes. 

So, what’s the solution? Despite the cold, you still need to focus on staying hydrated. This seems obvious during the hot summer months, but it is equally important during these crisp winter days. 

Consuming electrolyte-rich water is vital to balance the sodium levels in your blood and prevent conditions like hyponatremia. One way to ensure you get enough electrolytes is by adding about half a teaspoon of salt to your water bottle or using an all-in-one electrolyte drink mix.

The key takeaway? Proper hydration isn’t just something you should think about during the summer months. Winter hydration matters, and it isn’t just about drinking water. It’s about balancing your fluid and electrolyte intake to ensure your blood flows nicely, your brain functions well, and your organs stay healthy. 

So, whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, or just shoveling your driveway, pay attention to your body’s hydration needs this winter. It’s a simple step that can have a significant impact on your overall health and how much you enjoy this season. 


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Tonic Shots

1. Better Than Huevos Rancheros. Waffles Rancheros.

This is an indulgent breakfast, but sometimes you just need something fun to keep things interesting. Save this one for a weekend. Eating healthy does not have to be boring.

2. A Solid Food-Prep Option

Want a decent snack option to have on hand? This oatmeal bake is a solid option. Enjoy!

3. Simple, Delicious, And Packed With Protein

Smoked salmon makes this omelet a must try for a breakfast packed with protein and healthy fats.

That’s all for today. Until next time! 🌿