Prevent Colds in the Cold September 21 2016, 0 Comments
|When holiday decorations appear in stores, we know that only weeks wait until carolers hit the streets, and our families gather together for warm, wholesome feasts. Sadly, the season of holiday cheer also means heading to the stores to stock up on cough drops, cold medicine, and strong-smelling decongestants. Little did we know that the answer to our wintertime woes was right in our kitchens.
Hydration in Winter – Already a Challenge
It’s natural to welcome cold temperatures after a hot summer and finally be able to sip tasty, hot beverages without breaking a sweat. Unlike summer treats, however, our bodies don’t beg for water after indulging in these sugary – often caffeinated – delights. This is because our blood vessels, the body’s natural temperature regulators, constrict when exposed to cold temperatures. While this evolutionary phenomenon keeps icy air from freezing our fingers and toes, it also suppresses our thirst cues, which rely on blood volume. With less space for blood to flow, our body believes that it no longer needs hydration.
Diminished thirst signals pose a real problem when mixed with our fall and winter diet and clothing choices. We tend to eat saltier meat during these months, as well as starchier vegetables. Neither of these has the water content of their summer counterparts and can even have a diuretic effect. Furthermore, heavier clothing requires our bodies to exert more energy to move – yes, you can break a sweat. Thankfully, sipping regularly will keep the negative side-effects of both your aunt’s famous ham and your ugly holiday sweater in-check.
Why Water Means Wellness
Science has long confirmed that water benefits the human body. It plays a significant role in maintaining your weight, clearing your skin, and ridding your body of toxins. What’s more, during cold and flu season, it can also help you combat the sniffles or prevent you from getting them, in the first place.
Although over-the-counter cold and flu medications help lower fevers and make it easier to sleep in times of illness, water is the go-to trick for minor symptoms. For instance, warm water – and the steam that comes with it – helps to loosen mucus, aerate sinuses, and prevent coughs from stealing away your voice. Mixed with lemon or honey, it coats sore throats and gives your body an extra dose of Vitamin C, great for those who prefer to join the chorus.
Less obviously, water alone replaces fluids lost during fever via sweat, urine, and respiratory evaporation. When consumed in larger quantities, it may even stimulate the immune response to prevent or fight disease. This is in stark contrast to caffeinated beverages, such as tea, a favorite sore throat alleviant, and alcohol, a key ingredient in most cough and cold syrups. Both substances cause the body to lose water and, in the case of alcohol, weaken the immune system.
The benefits listed above increase tenfold when the water is purified and filtered instead of drawn from the tap. When filtered using a home filtration system, like Adya’s water filter, or purified with a concentrated water purification solution like Adya Clarity®, water contains significantly lower levels of lead, chlorine, bacterial contaminants, and other toxins that can make a sick person even sicker and cause illnesses far more severe than the flu. Using a filter is especially important for houses with children because child and adolescent immune systems have not yet reached the strength of those of adults.
It’s already difficult to stay hydrated during the winter. By keeping an eye on your water intake and consuming only purified liquids, you can reduce your chances of both dehydration and wintertime illness. Overall, water can make for a merrier snow-filled time, indeed.
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“Natural Prevention for Colds and Flu.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web.
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Koff, Ashley. “5 Expert Tips to Overcome Dehydration & Prevent Colds.” OrganicConnectMag. Organic Connections, n.d. Web.
O’Connor, Anahad. “The Claim: Drink Plenty of Fluids to Beat a Cold.” NYTimes. The New York Times, 10 Jan. 2011. Web.
Petersen, Grace. “Forget cold medicine, stay hydrated.” NorfolkDailyNews. Norfolk Daily News, 19 Nov. 2012. Web.