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Winter Hydration

Compared to the rest of the country, we may not have a full-fledged winter here in San Francisco, but the weather still gets cold enough that people pile on their sweaters and cozy up inside.

The colder temperatures also mean an increase in the amount of heat being pumped into our houses and work buildings. This may make for a more comfortable work environment, but when the heaters switch on, the air dries out very quickly.

Since dehydration can lead to a whole host of health issues, including decreased immune response to colds and flus, it’s very important to focus on increasing your water intake during the winter. However, not all water impacts your body in the same way.

When thinking about hydration in the winter, many people forget to think about the temperature of the beverages they’re drinking. Cold water may be refreshing in the summer, but it causes a sudden drop in your body’s internal temperature that can lead to a great deal of discomfort, made even worse when it’s already cold outside.

Think about it this way: If your body normally operates at 98 degrees and you fill your stomach with something closer to 40 degrees, your system will have to expend extra energy to warm everything back up. Since your body already needs more energy during the winter months to stay warm, this can lead to stomach cramping, increased fatigue, bloating, puffiness, and many other problems.

Luckily, from a Chinese Medicine perspective, the solution is very simple. Switch to warm or hot water, and you’ll not only feel better and stay healthier, but also end up with a soothing routine that keeps you well hydrated.

Proper hydration can actually lead to a more robust immune system, to help you fight off whatever bugs you’re exposed to at work or at home. If you want an extra boost, add the juice of a lemon or lime to your thermos of hot water (just be sure to drink it with a straw, so the acid from the lemon juice doesn’t affect your teeth).

Unlike oranges, which are richer in sugar than they are in vitamins, lemons and limes are powerful sources of Vitamin C, which is a key piece of a healthy immune system. Lemon and lime juice are also great for your adrenal glands, which help regulate your energy levels throughout the day. This makes lemon juice the perfect choice to combat the 2:00 pm crash that many people experience during the work day.

Instead of turning to coffee or sugary energy drinks for a quick pick-me-up, choose lemon juice instead. It will be just as effective while also supporting the health of your kidneys and adrenals. Plus, you’ll be in for a comforting and tasty treat!

Focus on staying hydrated this season and you’ll be able to truly enjoy the winter wonderland around you.


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