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Cool water

health-and-fitness Updated: Dec 15, 2008 16:53 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Winter is a time when we rarely think about water. But this is the season when we should drink even more water, for many reasons. First, because we tend to eat richer food at this time of year, the body needs more water to aid in its digestion. Also, the use of heaters dries out our skin, resulting in low water levels especially among kids and senior citizens. Finally, thick phlegm in the lungs and sinuses leads to congestion, which allows bacteria to proliferate in the body.

How much water a person needs varies from person to person – but there are some rules. Women need around 6 to 8 glasses of water, women who exercise regularly need 8 to 12 glasses of water, while lactating women need around 7 to 10 glasses. For men, add two additional glasses of water for the first two categories. If you find you need to push yourself to drink enough water, there are alternatives. Drink a glass of hot water after a meal, which aids digestion and promotes weight loss. Or get your daily dose when consuming an infusion of chamomile, jasmine, cinnamon or other herbal teas. Also drink clear soups with less salt. Doing this at night is great for those suffering from asthma because it usually leads to the consumption of a light dinner. This ensures the stomach is lighter, which prevents heaviness and wheezing all night long. Soup containing ginger and garlic also helps open airways of asthmatics.

Food generally contains about 20 per cent water, but many times in winter we eat concentrated food with very little water, which leads to indigestion, and for some people, piles. So include water-rich choices like carrots, lettuce, spinach, steamed broccoli, olives, apples and tomatoes in your diet this season. This not only helps the body digest heavier foods, it also provides the body much-needed vitamins.

Water can also be used as a humidifier in the room, especially for children, so that heaters do not dry out their nostrils. Similarly, a steam bath is good for the joint and other pains adults suffer from. It also opens out blocked nasal sinuses. Warm water is also excellent to relax back muscles and deal with muscle spasms. Hot fomentation can be used for any locked joints or muscles.