As the days get colder and grayer, we start sipping cups of tea and coffee to keep warm and energized throughout the day.
But as we increase our intake of hot beverages during the winter, most of us neglect the number of glasses of water we should be drinking. So do hot drinks count towards our recommended daily water intake? And how can we avoid being dehydrated this winter?
How Much Water Should I Drink?
The NHS Eatwell Guide sets out what we should be eating for a healthy, balanced diet – water is an important part of it.
It is recommended to drink six to eight glasses of water or liquid daily. Water is the best thirst quencher and contains no calories or sugar.
It may seem obvious that you should drink enough water, but you may not realize just how many bodily functions it really supports. These include preventing wounds or ulcers and maintaining healthy skin, removing waste products and toxins via the kidneys, preventing urinary tract infections, aiding brain function and concentration, maintaining blood pressure and heart health of muscle and joint movements, the correct action of medication and the prevention of falls due to dizziness.
It helps with this all year round. And while water can also help prevent dehydration, which leads to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, even at lower temperatures, it’s important to prevent dehydration.
also dr Tim Bond of the Tea Advisory Panel recommends the Eatwell Guide, but adds: “This is a general guide that isn’t broken down specifically by season, level of physical activity, etc. We should keep in mind that while warm weather in summer can affect water balance, central heating in winter can also create potentially dehydrating conditions.”
“The more physically active we are, the more fluid we need to drink,” adds Bond. “Just a 2 percent reduction in fluid intake can impair physical and mental performance. By the time we feel thirsty we are already dehydrated, so it is important to stay hydrated throughout the day.”
Do tea and coffee contribute to my daily hydration?
The good news is that both tea and coffee count towards your daily six to eight glasses of fluids, as do low-fat milk and sugar-free drinks (as long as you’re not drinking anything too unusual).
“Basically, that’s fine. As with food, we should be careful to drink a range of different beverages because they give us benefits,” confirms Bond.
While water is the obvious “healthiest” drink, black tea, fruit tea and coffee with no added sugar can also be healthy, according to the NHS.
And some alternatives to water can even have multiple benefits. For example, Bond points out that while water is hydrating, research has shown that tea has the same hydrating properties as water, while offering other health benefits such as: B. a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
“Research we have carried out as part of the Tea Advisory Panel shows that tea accounts for 40% of the UK population’s daily hydration intake and the results of numerous studies show that tea not only provides hydration from the first sip but also other important health benefits offers benefits such as For example, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and that three to five cups of tea a day helps get you up to the six to eight glasses of fluids recommended by the NHS,” he explains.
Of course, the caffeine in tea and coffee has a stimulating effect, making you feel more alert or sluggish for a while. This is more pronounced in some people than others and also depends on how much you consume. Pregnant women should limit their intake of caffeinated beverages. They are completely unsuitable for toddlers and children.
While it’s okay to drink tea and coffee as part of a balanced diet, it’s important to remember that they can stimulate urine production in some people, which may not be advisable if you have urinary incontinence. If you drink hot drinks to stay hydrated, avoid sugar and syrup to avoid damaging your teeth and consuming unnecessary calories.
How can I stay hydrated in winter?
It’s actually quite simple: make sure you’re getting your six to eight glasses or cups of fluids a day. This also includes tea and coffee, whichever you prefer.
Just reach for low-fat milk, the healthier choice is skim milk or a milk alternative with no added sugar and make sure your hot drinks are sugar-free as recommended. Another drink that will help keep you warm is hot water with a lemon wedge for extra flavor.
If you’re wondering how much you can get within the recommended amount, Bond explains that research has shown that six to eight servings of tea hydrate you just as much as water, “but people can vary their hydration based on personal preference “.
And realistically, say, eight cups of coffee a day isn’t exactly good for you for obvious reasons. It is therefore advisable to drink normal water every day.