It’s Important to Our Health All Year Long

Glass of water

​Photo by P McDaniels, courtesy UTIA.

While the heat of the summer and the dry air of the fall may have passed, it is still important to drink plenty of fluids, a practice that sometimes falls by the wayside in winter. “Don’t let the cold of winter fool you,” says Chris Sneed, a specialist with University of Tennessee Extension Family and Consumer Sciences. “Fluids are important for your body year round.”

Sneed adds that when choosing fluids, nothing beats simple - yet refreshing - water. “Water is important to life – your life,” he says. “Water makes up approximately two-thirds of your body’s weight and plays an essential role in nearly every function of your body. Water is necessary to digest food, cushion joints, keep body temperature normal, and eliminate waste from the body.”

Sneed further explains that water is used continually by your body and must be replaced continually. If this water is not replaced, a person can become dehydrated. “We often think of dehydration as a problem during the hot summer days, yet, dehydration can be a problem all year long even during the winter months. Children especially infants, the elderly and individuals with chronic diseases are at a higher risk of suffering from dehydration.”    

Sneed offers these tips for choosing water more often:

Keep a covered pitcher of water in the refrigerator.  Keep the pitcher where it can easily be seen when you open the refrigerator.

Have a glass of water before and after work. Offer your children water before and after school.

Bring water along when you leave home.

Try to have at least one glass of water with each meal or snack.

Buy reusable water containers that can be refilled at work or school.

Choose water when eating out. You will save money and reduce calories.

Sneed credits much of his information on hydration to Rethink Your Drink, a publication of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

For additional information, contact your county’s UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agent at the county Extension office. You can also visit the UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences website.

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Dr. Christopher Sneed, UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences,