Top Tips for Staying Hydrated this Winter


The Importance of hydration

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated, but how much water do we actually need to drink? We get so many mixed messages from media sources, it's easy to get confused as to which protocol we should be following. Does that sound familiar?

I was recently in Bali, it was heavenly. I love the tropics, bountiful green coconuts, delicious papaya, exotic dragon fruits the colour of the deepest pinky purple. Being in the tropics you sweat a lot because of the high humidity, it's important to hydrate. With plentiful fresh green coconuts and incredible aloe and cucumber juices, it's easy to stay fresh and well hydrated.

Fast track forward a few weeks to the UK, as the clocks go back, temperatures drop. We turn the central heating on, we wrap up warm, hot air conditioning is on everywhere drying out our skin and hair and mucus membranes.

Do you know it is easier to dehydrate in Winter?

Because during cold weather, more heat is lost from our bodies, more moisture is lost and respiratory evaporation is increased.

We lose a pint of water everyday just from breathing and this increases during winter.

The hormone that triggers our thirst reacts differently when we are exposed to the cold. So we often forget to drink.

We often feel thirsty in response to sweating so when we don't sweat in the same way we don't don't get the same thirsty signals.

Stress and dehydration

We know that external stress causes dehydration in the body, which then causes internal stress, which causes more dehydration. It becomes a vicious circle.

How many of us aren't stressed in some way or another? Working, school runs, relationships, social media, global politics. It's enough to make you feel like becoming a bear and hibernating for the winter isn't it!?

Here's the biochemistry behind dehydration

When we are dehydrated, the colon signals dehydration alert. This is to protect your cells from losing too much water, the body does this by coating the cells in a thin layer of cholesterol to protect the cell. Don't worry this isn't the same as the bad cholesterol that doctors talk about. Cholesterol is a repair protein made in the liver for the cells to use when they need.

So now when you are drinking lots of water, the cells can't absorb it.

What can we do to support our body through times of stress and to maintain the all important hydration?

Drinking water is only one part of hydration.

I hear time and again from clients, I drink more water but I spend half my life running to the toilet!

Does this sound familiar?

An analogy I often use is that of the poor spider plant that is still alive on the shelf despite not having been watered for weeks. Yes you know that one? What happens if you water it? All the water pours out, but what happens when you sit it in water for a day? It begins to hold the water.

This is exactly the same as your cells. In order for the cells to become hydrated it can take a little bit of work and perseverance.

The reason why you are suddenly running to the toilet after drinking lots of water is because the kidneys are responsible for maintaining homoeostasis, this means the balancing of the body systems.

We've heard of giving electrolytes to athletes sweating in the hot sun.

Well we mere mortals need these electrolytes in the cells too. However when we are dehydrated, we drink more water,  the electrolytes become more diluted, the kidneys are processing this water double time to maintain homeostasis.

The other role of hydration is to support the cell membranes. They are made from fatty acids. We have to make sure we eat lots of healthy fats and essential fatty acids to make healthy cell membranes. They are the Omega 3, 6 and 9's. Specifically Omega 3 which comes from Hemp, flax, chia seeds and Fish Oils.

We can also add some sunflower or non GMO Soya Lecithin which helps to emulsify the oils and water in the liver.

Linseed Tea

An article on hydration would not be complete without talking about Linseed Tea.

My nutrition teacher called this a hug in a mug! Linseed tea is very hydrating and reassuring for both the colon and the nervous system. It helps the colon to switch off dehydration alert, it is very soothing and can encourage healthy bowel movements.


Method 1: Put 3 tbsp organic golden linseeds into a flask, fill it with boiling water and leave 8-10 hours.

Method 2: I prefer this method because you get a more gelatinous consistency which is more hydrating however this can be hard for some people to do.

Put 2 tbsp organic golden linseeds in a pan, add 1 litre of water, bring to the boil, turn off immediately. Leave 8-10 hours, bring to the boil and simmer for anything up to an hour, I usually do 15 minutes.

The longer you boil it the more gloopy it will be! You can dilute it down with hot water if you find it hard to drink.

A step by step guide to drinking water goes like this;

  • Start the day with a large glass of warm lemon water, this sends a message to the liver and kidneys to flush and detoxify from the night of sleep.

  • 1 large glass of water before lunch to help with the digestion of food

  • 1 large glass of water before dinner to help with digestion.

  • 1 glass of water early evening a 30-45 minutes after eating.

  • Water sipped throughout the day either plain or with some juicy flavourings such as the ones listed  below.

  • During times of need 1/2 - 1 pint of warmed Linseed Tea per day

A beautiful hydrating drink to sip throughout the day during Winter

Adding mint, lime, cucumber and a pinch of Celtic sea salt to your bottle of fresh filtered water is refreshing and hydrating throughout the day. Be creative with your water.

If you are that person who drinks a lot of water and then runs to the loo. You can try a pinch of Celtic sea salt in your water once or twice a day. Sea salt contains all the electrolytes and minerals our bodies need.

Happy Hydrating

If you liked this article and would like to know about this subject or would like support from a naturopath please contact me via the methods below.

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Lula is passionate about living life to her fullest potential, understanding the healing power of nature's gifts. Plants, clean water, clean air, sunshine and a daily practise. She loves to create amazing simple tasty food that looks good too, stimulating all the senses! Lula trained as a nutritionist in 2013. She specialises in, empowering people to make life changing decisions about their health and wellbeing. She has been following a clean live food diet for over 15 years. She has two daughters who have been raised on a healthy real food all their lives. She cooks for yoga retreats offering gluten free, refined sugar free, vegan and vegetarian food. Designing menus with gut health, digestion and simplicity in mind.

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